Jonah stands alone among the prophets of the Old Testament. Certainly he was the only one (that we know of) to spend three days in the digestive tract of a fish. In the bigger picture, though, he was the only one (that we know of) to flatly refuse an assignment from God.
God always listens to prayers, That does not mean, however, that He is always going to answer them or necessarily be pleased that the person is praying. In Jeremiah 14, God had already made up His mind that He was going to punish Israel for their sins. He told Jeremiah not even to bother praying for the people. Furthermore, He told Jeremiah that He wasn’t going to listen to the cries of the people.
If everything good in your life were suddenly taken away, what would you do? That question lies at the heart of Job’s story in the Old Testament book bearing his name.
Job was a righteous man-someone so above reproach that God held him up to Satan as a model servant. Satan was unimpressed. “Of course Job is faithful to you,” he countered. “He has wealth, family, and excellent health. Take away those things and let’s see how faithful he is.”
The Bible is a historical book as well as a spiritual one. As such, it contains many important historical leaders and describes their impact on the nation of Israel. These people are not often used as symbols in the Bibles, but their influence on the history of God’s people carries symbolic importance because of the particular interactions they had. The Jews look back on these leaders as people who operated under the sovereign will of God either to help them as an instrument of mercy or to test and punish them as an executor of his just wrath.
Grapevines are a plant well suited to the climate of Palestine. Grapes were cultivated as far back as Noah’s day (Gen 9:20) and were eaten fresh, dried, or crushed to make juice, vinegar, or wine. In an area where water was often in short supply, the juice from grapes became crucial for life. Clusters of grapes as large as five kilograms (twelve pounds) have been reported in Palestine, giving validity to the spies’ account of the grapes in Canaan in