I was compelled to compose a song about the adventures of the often called "reluctant prophet" Jonah. I struggled for two years to find the right phrasing that would (in my opinion) present a more accurate viewpoint of his story than the popular tale of simply "a man that got swallowed by a whale."
As I usually do when I am trying to compose a song, I wrote down every detail that I thought was pertinent for me to reach my goal of telling the story. I wanted the focus to be on how God's sovereignty overruled Jonah's poor attitude and selfishness. Understandably, (from a purely human viewpoint) Jonah had good reason to dislike God's instructions. He was proud of having proved himself to be a legitimate prophet when he accurately predicted that Jeroboam II would recover the territories of Israel between Lebo-hamath and the Dead Sea. (II Kings 14:25) This was because Moses had written that only a true prophet's prediction would come true. (Deuteronomy 18:21-22) But now God was instructing him to go to Israel's enemy to proclaim God's salvation grace to them. This was not the situation for which he had hoped. He wished that God would utterly destroy the Assyrians and their capital of Nineveh.
God used the ruthlessness of the invading Assyrians to punish the wicked idolatry of the Israelites. The descriptions of their cruelty demonstrates that they were merciless and actually relished in maximizing their captives' suffering through horrific tortures.
Jonah knew the merciful character of God's essence that would be willing to forgive what he considered unforgivable. So he foolishly ran in the opposite direction. In the end, God did relent from His intention to destroy the Assyrians and Jonah explained that this was the reason for his foolish and disobedient decision. (Jonah 4:1-3) He valued the accuracy of his prophecy over the LORD's desire to save repentant sinners.
He was probably the first (and maybe the only) preacher that was ever disappointed to bve blessed with a very successful ministry.
After two years of trying to get some phrase going I had nearly given up. Then one day when I was home alone. The sentence, "Jonah was a prophet who heard from the LORD, 'Go to Nineveh, the people you abhor.'" Immediatly I began jotting down the words, but then suddenly the next line invaded my concentration. And then a third line. I realized that I needed to get over to my computer because I can type faster than write by hand. It was as if I was receiving dictation from an unheard voice. I only had to rearrange some of the syntax. Other than that, the lyrics are exactly as I received them.
I hope the song blesses you and motivates you to follow God's will in evangelizing whomever He presents before you.
Jonah "the reluctant prophet"