Many cattle as well!
Scripture reading for September 18th: Jonah 1-4
I spent the early years of my life farming and raising cattle. I milked cows in my youth and got very personal with them. Our family enjoyed their milk, cream and butter as well as beef. My cows would come when I called them. Later, I had a herd of nearly a hundred beef cows and could lead them around from field to field with my tractor and feed wagon. I enjoyed cows and loved raising them.
You might be wondering what this discussion has to do with the Bible and the prophet Jonah. Jonah was a prophet of God who was sent to a land that was full of people who were ignorant of God. This land also had a lot of cattle in it. God cared for the people and gave Jonah a message of coming judgment in hopes of turning these people to repentance. God also noted that he cared for their cattle as well! What a compassionate God we are dealing with! I can love a God like that!
God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. This is the modern day city of Mosul, Iraq. The Assyrians were known as wicked people who were extremely brutal. Jonah thought that they should be judged but he did not want any part of the job God had asked him to do. He fled on a ship to Tarshish. His disobedience brought a violent storm and the sailors feared for their lives. They cast lots and found Jonah the responsible party for the storm for Jonah told them he was running from the Lord. (Jonah 1:10) They finally threw Jonah overboard and he was swallowed by a great fish sent by the Lord! (Jonah 1:17) The sea became calm immediately and the seamen were touched by God!
From the belly of the fish, Jonah came to his senses and agreed to go. God had the fish deposit him on Nineveh’s shore and he began to preach. “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned”. (Jonah 3:4) The Ninevites believed God and repented! Even the beasts were clothed with sackcloth! God had compassion and relented!
Jonah became angry! He wanted these wicked people destroyed! But God had compassion on the city and even it’s cattle! (Jonah 4:10-11) What a lesson in God’s compassion and the power of repentance!