Friday, January 2, 2015
Jonah 1:1 "Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,"
This is how the great story of Jonah begins. This is, very possibly, the most well known, most talked about, and most preached on book of minor prophecy. There are so many truths, sermons, lessons, and insights that pour out of those four short chapters! I personally love to study the life of Jonah, and teach others what I have learned. However, in this post, I want to focus on four words which may be the most overlooked words in the whole book. Which words?
"...the son of Amittai..."
Jonah was the son of Amittai. Amittai was his dad. The Hebrew name of Amittai carries much significance! It literally means "veracious"!
Before we delve into the full definition lets look at another word: VORACIOUS! This word has the Latin root, vorax, from voro, which means "to devour, to eat, to clear away, to consume, as food". We find other English words with this same root, such as "herbivore", and "carnivore". The picture given by the word VORACIOUS is to be given to EAT! To be ravenous in appetite! To be rapacious! Very hungry! Eager to devour! Driven by hunger! Ready to partake with a fierce desire!
Now just change one little letter, switch the first o for an e, and we have VERACIOUS. This word comes from another Latin root, verax, from verus, which means "true". The Latin motto Veritas vincit means "truth conquers". Other English words that come from this root are "verification", "veracity", and "verily". So to be VERACIOUS carries the idea of being given to TRUTH, to fix one's gaze on truth, to be disposed to speak truth, to be true, in VERY truth. How I love language!
To be "given to truth" is that of taking truth for one's personal life. Amittai is derived from the Hebrew ameth, which means "stability, certainty, truth, trustworthiness, establishment, faithful, right, and sure." There is the picture of firmness, reliability, and continuance. This word is used both for speaking the truth and being true.
Ameth in turn comes from the Hebrew root, aman, meaning "to render firm or faithful, stedfast, trusty, verified, to nurse and build up, to establish, to turn to the right, to support. A number of Hebrew words are derived from this root, with varied meanings, include:
"believe; faithful, sure"
"right hand (as the firm, the strong)"
"cunning workman, in the sense of training, as an expert"
"sure; truly; verily; so be it; truth"
The last of this list is the Hebrew form from which we get the blessed word that has come into common use by believers today, so much so that it is considered an English word and is spoken out in the midst of Bible preaching. "AMEN!" It is found in our English Bible 78 times, in both Old and New Testaments. We find that that one of the names of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Alpha and Omega, the faithful and true Witness, the Lord of glory, is "the Amen" (Revelation 3:14).
Almost the only background we have of Jonah is His father's name. And that name became Jonah's identity. It was an honourable name. A name that would have set him apart, and challenged him in his life and ministry.
Beloved brethren, let us consider Who our Father is. Are we not, in very truth, also "sons of Amittai"? Are we not to be known as children of Truth? Have we not, through spiritual birth, become the sons of God (John 1:12; 3:3)? How should that affect our words (Ephesians 4:25) and our walk (II John 4; III John 4)?
The natural out flowing of being sons of Amittai is to answer God's call to stand and speak His words to the lost in this world.
Jonah 1:2 "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me."
Jonah 3:2 "Arise, go unto Ninevah, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee."
ARISE, AND GO! Go where?
To the wicked! To those in danger of judgment! Even to that which Satan considers HIS turf!
In this country, in our society, we find a culture that tolerates, condones, harbors, and promotes the horror of child sacrifice! Over 3,000 babies a day are ripped apart in the name of the god of Self. This vile and violent practice is abominable to the LORD of Heaven, and yet nearly all those who are called Christians in this nation are completely silent concerning this evil and absent from the field of battle for life and souls.
"They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them" (Proverbs 28:4).
ARISE, AND SPEAK! Speak what?
Speak the truth! "Cry against it" "Preach unto it"
We are to be those who "sigh and cry" concerning the abominations of our people!
We are to be those who stand for righteousness and against wickedness!
We are to lift our voices when "truth is fallen in the street"!
We are to warn the wicked of the judgment of God!
We are to preach the word!
We are to deliver those that are drawn unto death and those that are ready to be slain!
We are to open our mouths for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction!
We are to judge righteously!
We are to plead the cause of the poor and needy!
We are to call to repentance and declare the Gospel!
We are to be sons of Amittai! Children who speak the truth. Do we not desire that our Father could say this about us? "For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour" (Isaiah 63:8).
Did you know that God has said that the upright should use their mouths to deliver from those who lie in wait for blood? "The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them" (Proverbs 12:6).
Those to whom we are sent may hate us. In fact, it should be expected. "The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul" (Proverbs 29:10). Notice that we are to seek souls.
William Booth said, "Go straight for souls, and go for the worst."
This is also the call to every Christian, to every son of Amittai.
What will YOU do with it? Will you go? Will you speak?
Or will you choose to go the other way? To run from God's call? To follow your own agenda?
To be silent and absent?
Have you been lolled to sleep in the ship of your own desires, in spiritual slumber, indifferent to the cry of the innocent and the lost and the call of your Father? Are you interceding for this land of yours? Standing in the gap between the judgment of God and the wicked (Ezekiel 22:30)? Have you grown so comfortable, so calloused, so cowardly, that it is nothing to you, that the righteous wrath of God is upon this country, and yes, even upon the lazy, luxurious, lackadaisical church, who will not wear out their designer shoes standing at the devil's doorstep, because they are caught up in enjoying the devil's entertainment, and cannot be bothered with the inconvenience of the fellowship of their Lord's sufferings?
If you are asleep, you need to hear the hard voice of reality, telling you, "What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not" (Jonah 1:6).
Let us arise, repent of our apathy, arrive to the battle field, and engage in the good fight!
Let us behave in such a manner that those who see our lives and hear the words on our lips will seek to know,
"Whose sons are you?"
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).