At different times when people encountered Jehovah God in a profound way, they would give Him a name that was representative of what He did. The first instance of this is when God miraculously provided a substitute sacrifice for Issac, prompting Abraham to call God Jehovah Jireh. This name means the One who foresees perfectly and knows just what to provide to meet the need. God’s provision is perfectly proportioned and perfectly timed.
God’s perfect provision is seen at least five times in the story of Jonah.
- Jehovah sent a great wind on the sea. It was a perfectly proportioned and perfectly timed storm that caused pagan sailors to fall on their knees in worship of the one true God.
- Jehovah provided a great fish to rescue Jonah. It was a perfectly proportioned and perfectly timed vehicle of rescue that caused Jonah to acknowledge salvation only comes from God.
- Jehovah provided a uniquely-prepared prophet. He became a perfectly prepared and perfectly timed messenger of God’s mercy. Prior to Jonah’s visit, Nineveh had experienced two plagues (765 and 759 BC) and a solar eclipse (763 BC), which put the people in a state of heightened expectation. When Jonah arrived in the city, he was a whale-bleached prophet[*] of Jehovah which showed up with a message of God’s impending judgment unless the people repented. The response: the Ninevites believed God.
- Jehovah provided a vine that shielded Jonah from the sun, even though Jonah was waiting for God’s judgment to fall on Nineveh.
- Jehovah provided a worm to destroy the vine and get Jonah’s attention.
I believe this story gives us three important lessons and three introspective questions—
- God is sovereignly in control of everything—storms, fish, prophets, plants, worms, astrological events, and agricultural calamities. God foresees perfectly and knows just what to provide to meet the need or to get someone’s attention.
Question: Will I let Jehovah Jireh be Jehovah Jireh for others, or will I try to tell Him what to do and when to do it?
- God is supremely merciful—God cares about everyone, as the apostle Peter reminds us.
Question: As Peter asked, “What kind of people ought you to be?” Will I allow God to extend as much mercy as is necessary to others, just as He extended it to me?
- God’s saving grace is boundless and undeserved—Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (Ephesians 2:9 NLT)
Question: I love that this book ends with an unanswered question from God Himself, because it is our question to answer today: Should I not be concerned about that great city? What will I do with the good news that Jehovah Jireh has gone the full measure to make His grace and mercy and love and forgiveness available to ALL people?
I hope you will take the time to prayerfully consider these questions.
[*] “Ambrose John Wilson in the Princeton Theological Review for 1927 mentions a case of a sailor on a whaling ship near the Falkland Islands who was swallowed by a large sperm whale. The whale was later harpooned, and when it was opened up on the deck the surprised crew found their lost shipmate unconscious inside its belly. Though bleached from the whale’s gastric juices, he recovered, though he never lost the deadly whiteness left on his face, neck, and hands.” —Walter Kaiser
If you have missed any of the other messages in our series Major Lessons From Minor Prophets, you can access the full list by clicking here.