Founder CEO

From one passionate educationist about another…

I want to introduce you to Samantha. From the moment I laid eyes on her, walking in to our first day back at work, I was captivated by a beautiful, clean, smiling face. One of those faces that lit up the room and rained enthusiasm on those around them. A truly positive, engaging and welcoming human. I witnessed this same spirit at work in her classroom, as each child was carefully considered for who they were and for who they could become.

Teaching in distance education is extremely challenging and a mind that can problem solve well outside the box. The school Samantha and I were teaching at together was/is focused on highly individualised and personalised ubiquitous learning.

I had a very unique position in that I had been a supervisor of my own children who were educated through the school, and a teacher within it. The two hats gave me many insights that informed my practice. Working beside Samantha, I could see that she ‘got’ the needs of the supervisor, the family and their learning context. I heard her positively yet tenaciously present relevant learning in creative and fun ways; with a repeated mantra that her students could all reach for the stars to achieve high standards. I listened while students were taken step by step from the ‘I can’t do this’ to the ‘I just did!’ and found myself laughing quietly as Samantha would jump for joy at the achievement, almost dancing as she celebrated the achievement with each child. The celebration was continued when a lesson was complete as she would loudly ‘whoop’ with excitement from her classroom space. No student could ever tell Samantha that they were not capable. She found a way to make it so.

While I was a seasoned teacher, I learnt so much from Samantha. She reminded me of the nobility of my calling. She upheld every life that was entrusted into her hands and refused to stop until she felt her job had been done. Even when she reached this point, it was only to draw breath and set the next learning goal, throwing herself at finding a way to enable the student to reach what could have been seen as impossible.

As a professional, Samantha never stopped looking to learn, to improve and to grow. She saw every teacher as a rich resource that she could glean from. Her tenacity never ceased. I was so inspired. I will always be grateful for what she brought to my attention as an educator – that every child is unique and valuable and can achieve at a very high level.

Tikvah Education Australia – HoTLaNe Academy & School of Wanderers

Samantha Joy Patrick is the Founder CEO of Tikvah Education Australia and its services, the HoTLaNe Academy & School of Wanderers. Samantha is passionate about providing educational support to children and youth who experience significant educational disadvantage.  The HoTLaNe Academy and School of Wanderers are free services. They are funded through community and corporate donations, as well as through Tikvah Education Australia’s investment initiatives.

Remote Controlled Cars & Mechanical Literacy

By Samantha Patrick – Founder CEO

If I were to buy myself a remote controlled car, it would end up costing me a fortune. I have no expertise in mechanics and the first time I crash it and it breaks, it would cost me to have someone fix it. It would make sense that racing the car is only one aspect of this sport and mechanics is another. What an excellent opportunity for a young person to engage in this type of activity and at the same time be developing a very useful skill that could even turn into a career choice later on in life.

We are beginning to see a lot of young people wanting to become professional gamers or famous YouTubers. It makes sense. That is what they know and have been exposed to for a long time. They have become very good at what they do and will spend hours practicing the skill.

I have observed that what someone is exposed to in their early years of life is often the career choice they will desire to pursue when they leave school. Kids growing up on farms will generally become a farmer. Kids enrolled in cadets will generally pursue a career in the armed forces. Kids who help their parents run their restaurant will often stay in that industry beyond high school. They are entering these industries after high school with valuable skills because they have already spent years developing them. They are employable!

With today’s technology, if the settings are right on your phone, you will begin to have content popping up on your social media and internet feeds related to your topics of conversation. In my talk about remote controlled cars and the mechanics industry, I came across a very interesting video for how combustion engines work. What an excellent opportunity for young people to participate in a sport in which they can learn about science in action if they are encouraged to move beyond the race and into the pit stop alongside a knowledgeable mechanic who knows the science.

‘Car engine chemistry – with Andrew Szydlo’

The interesting video I saw on the chemistry behind engines.

As young people begin using subject-specific language, they may experience what I have experienced, where new content is presented before them. They may then realise that they have a new topic of conversation amongst their peers. If they were previously talking only about gaming, now they have expanded their repertoire of topics. Literacy is not just about devising ideas for communicating in written form, it is also very much about devising ideas for speaking. This is a very important skill if we want to actively participate in an intellectual conversation. Young people who first pursue this sport may not be able to participate in a conversation about mechanics, but with time, active participation in the sport and education, they will begin using language that only those in the sport or the industry of mechanics will understand. They will have become mechanically literate.

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It is very common for young people to reach the end of high school and not know what career they want to pursue. Why not expose young people to a variety of careers before they reach that stage in their life? Exposure makes a difference. Skill development should begin before they graduate from high school so that, by the time they finish school, they already have the skills they need to be successful in the career they choose. How can a young person know what career they want to pursue when they haven’t had much variety of experiences early on in life? They are reaching the end of high school having to start developing a skill from scratch. Why not begin that process sooner?

Remote control car racing is a fun and dynamic sport for young people to pursue. Who knows, maybe they’ll enjoy mechanics and choose that career later in life. We all need a mechanic.

Photos: Toowoomba Show Grounds, May 2023

Biblical Foundations for Building Positive Relationships

Image: Jewish family walking through Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem. Israel. January, 2023. 

By Samantha Patrick – Founder CEO

In my reading of Genesis 1 recently, the Lord had me focusing on a specific part of the text. It states that we are made in His image. God then follows this by stating that we will rule. Rule over what? “The fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the animals, and over all the earth, and over every crawling creature that crawls on the earth.”
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, in the likeness of ourselves; and let them rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the animals, and over all the earth, and over every crawling creature that crawls on the earth.” So God created humankind in his own image; in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. God blessed them: God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the air and every living creature that crawls on the earth.” Gen 1:26‭-‬28 CJB
Is the image of God in us therefore our ‘rulership’ over these things? It would make sense, as God is the supreme ruler, so our resemblance of Him is to rule with Him, but in a subordinate role. Did Adam and Eve walk in the image of God by walking out that rulership? No. The serpent would have known Adam and Eve’s position as rulers over him, so he came through deception.
“Remember, I [Jesus] have given you authority; so you can trample down snakes and scorpions, indeed, all the Enemy’s forces; and you will remain completely unharmed. Nevertheless, don’t be glad that the spirits submit to you; be glad that your names have been recorded in heaven.” Luke 10:19‭-‬20 CJB
Could it be that God’s positioning of Adam as having rulership over Eve is actually a demonstration of God’s provision and favour toward us to succeed? Unless God steps in, we have no hope. Eve had not exerted her authority over the serpent and therefore fell into sin. Has Adam’s rulership actually been repositioned, as more highly ranked above Eve, to ensure that Eve does not fall into sin, and also that he does not fall into sin, for Eve gave him the fruit? Does the man’s role as ruler above the wife actually look like that of a ‘spiritual guide’, someone who feeds, teaches and exhorts? Does not God himself, as ruler over all, feed, teach and exhort us to walk in His ordinances? Our rulership would therefore reflect His. In the case of Eve and the serpent, her rulership over the serpent did not implement God’s ordinances and therefore was not a reflection of God.
Is this role, as a ruler, actually God’s image reflected through Adam? Does this transform our perception of the consequence and of the word ‘rule’, that it is actually in God’s mercy after the fall that not only are we ruled by God and must follow His ordinances, but we are also given another governing body in a subordinate rulership position who is in human form and is positioned as head over the household to ensure the family remains in order. God’s order. That is a huge responsibility. That is also such an incredible demonstration of God’s love, that after the fall in the Garden of Eden, God set up a new structure to guard the family unit.
The woman’s role as ‘helper’ (Genesis 2:18) plays a huge part in ensuring that the man fulfils his role well. Resisting him and fighting against him only makes his role harder. Resisting and fighting is the opposite of helping. But also, in union with the image of God, the man must love his wife as Christ loves the Church, to lay down his life for her to walk in righteousness. The way the man communicates, matters. It should be a reflection of how Christ communicated when he walked among us, even in the case when people came against his authority. We want to submit to God’s authority when we have experienced His love personally. If we know God as an angry dictator who forces us into submission, then we are unlikely going to follow Him. All who have given their life to Christ have done so upon their own free will. With the millions of people who follow Christ, there must be something in Him worth following.
Husbands, if your wife is not following you, maybe this is an opportunity to reflect on how you are communicating with her. Is your communication consistent with how Jesus would communicate with her, even if she is yelling at you? Even Jesus loved those who were against Him. His love leads to their repentance. Is this love ‘rulership in action’ and exactly what God positioned you to do? Your love could lead to her repentance. Your love could lead her to trust you and follow you and therefore be walking in her God-ordained role of helper.
Both men and women must know that no-one is perfect other than God, and God’s image must be reflected through the act of mercy. For through the forgiveness of God demonstrated in Christ’s death and resurrection, and our receiving of this forgiveness, we become reunited in relationship with Him. Therefore, when we forgive one another, and truly receive that forgiveness without holding a grudge, we are reunited with one another and beautiful relationships are formed. God desires for us to experience a united marriage relationship and He set up a way for that to happen.
In all communications with one another in the marriage relationship, “Wives should submit to their husbands as they do to the Lord; because the husband is head of the wife, just as the Messiah, as head of the Messianic Community, is himself the one who keeps the body safe. Just as the Messianic Community submits to the Messiah, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:22‭-‬24 CJB
“As for husbands, love your wives, just as the Messiah loved the Messianic Community, indeed, gave himself up on its behalf, in order to set it apart for God, making it clean through immersion in the mikveh [Jewish ritual bath], so to speak, in order to present the Messianic Community to himself as a bride to be proud of, without a spot, wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and without defect. This is how husbands ought to love their wives — like their own bodies; for the man who loves his wife is loving himself. Why, no one ever hated his own flesh! On the contrary, he feeds it well and takes care of it, just as the Messiah does the Messianic Community, because we are parts of his Body. Ephesians 5:25-‬30 CJB
Children are significantly affected when marriage relationships are broken. Fighting and separation can take a toll on a child’s emotional wellbeing which can have a direct impact on their behaviour. How we feel can determine how we act, whether the behaviour is conscious or subconscious. A person’s behaviour is a form of communication that, if given the time to listen and decipher, can reveal much about a person’s life experiences. It impacts educational outcomes. Even as adults, we know how difficult it can be to focus on a task when we are sad. This sadness can lead to such behaviours as reclusiveness and outbursts of anger. For those children who struggle with anger due to these emotional difficulties, subsequent behaviours can lead to eventual suspension, and for some, expulsion. There are many, varying reasons for children’s behaviour, with the impact of parental fighting being one of them.
But there is hope. No-one is perfect and I have seen the incredible power of forgiveness in rebuilding relationships between parents and their children. When there is forgiveness, children’s physical aggression can turn into a desire to be close to their parents. It comes through the act of saying sorry. Not only the child, but the parents too. When parents say sorry to their children for their yelling at one another and their yelling at or hitting (spanking) the child, this becomes a beautiful model of humility that the child is then able to reflect themselves. With an apology comes a promise to the child. It is a promise to make a change. This is repentance. Where the child is hitting, there should be a ‘no tolerance’ approach to hitting. If you are allowed to hit (spank) your child but your child is not allowed to hit you, then I personally believe that this is abusing your power over the child. Again, this goes for yelling. No-one deserves to be hit or yelled at, regardless of age. I’ve never read an account in the Bible of Jesus using an implement or his hand, or yelling at someone to lead them to repentance. It is God’s kindness that leads us to turn from our sins (Romans 2:4).  What I have read though is how He was treated and how He forgave when it was within His power to punish.
Just like God created us in His image to reflect His image, children reflect the image of parents. If you hit, they will hit. If you yell, they will yell. Children are great imitators. Children also respond out of hurt. If they witness their parents hurting one another, whether it be physically or verbally, it can affect their relationship toward their parents, and this can be seen in their behaviour toward them. It is important to address parental fighting not just for the sake of the marital relationship, but for the sake of the children.
There is incredible value and blessing in establishing positive relationships in the home built upon biblical principles so that all can thrive. Where children are struggling with unfruitful behaviours, consider looking in. The Bible teaches to, “First, take the log out of your own eye; then you will see clearly, so that you can remove the splinter from your brother’s eye!” Matthew 7:5CJB. It is much easier to make changes in your own life than it is to try to change someone else. You may realise that a change in how you speak and act toward your spouse and children may indirectly lead to a change in how your spouse or child interacts with you.
God has given a model for positive marital relationships. It is worth pursuing. I have personally observed how walking according to God’s ways brings blessing to family relationships. God speaks this promise to Israel in the book of Deuteronomy, “The Lord your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the Lord will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deut 30:9-10 NKJV

Artificial Intelligence & Literacy

By Samantha Patrick – Founder CEO

I regularly observe students having difficulty with developing ideas for writing. It seems to be a skill that is becoming lost amongst our rapidly changing culture. We don’t need to think about how to spell, because we have autocorrect and we don’t need to think about how to structure our sentences because we have text prediction features. More and more, technology is thinking for us.

In the early hours of the night, I was eagerly searching the internet for information about artificial intelligence and its use in creating literature. We can now type a command into the application and paragraphs of text will come from behind the pixels of the computer screen, as if it were human itself. This means we don’t have to write or illustrate books ourselves anymore. Artificial intelligence can do it for us. It thinks for us.

Developing ideas is a skill that you can find in the National Literacy Learning Progressions (ACARA). Throughout their years of primary and secondary education, students become increasingly skilled at developing more complex and elaborate ideas that even impact human emotion. As they learn about different topics, they consider how they can communicate that topic through a range of different texts.

Consider the topic of Uluru, an iconic landmark of Australia that simply has WOW factor. This landmark, its history and cultural significance form a main idea that can be communicated through informative, persuasive and imaginative texts. These days, we take a photo and post a comment on social media. Some might write a blog. Some may write a travel brochure because they want you to visit the place. Others may create children’s literature on The Dreaming.

Literacy is the ability to communicate effectively to an audience. Ideas are all around us. They are in our experiences and observations. They are in our conversations. It is essential that students develop the skill of developing ideas so that they can become effective communicators, not just in their local world, but globally. We need young people to be engaging in intellectual conversations and publishing intellectual content. This requires them to be inspired by ideas on a range of topics, even those beyond their own culture and world experience.

What I observe is that young people are increasingly focused on technology. This is also the case for adults. I personally have to make a conscious effort to reduce my time on social media. Young people are creating, developing and solving problems for hours upon hours in a digital world through gaming and are highly exposed to social media. They are limited in their world experience. Their communication remains centered on the main idea of gaming or technology and it becomes all they know and talk about. We need young people venturing out. Maybe as they venture out, the ideas they share in conversation will just begin to flow naturally.

An idea is simply something to talk about. It makes me wonder about young people’s ability to engage in a conversation. Can they contribute an idea that is related? Are they being allowed to engage with adults in their conversations? Are adults modelling intellectual conversations about a variety of topics?

Although it may seem like a great idea, I hesitate about introducing artificial intelligence to my repertoire of teaching tools. According to the National Literacy Learning Progressions (ACARA), my role is to guide young people toward developing ideas that emotionally and intellectually engage the audience. I want them to be critically analysing ideas, such as the one I am challenging right now. I want them to think for themselves.

I might be considered to be behind the times, as artificial intelligence is likely here to stay, but my concerns are real and my observations reveal to me that literacy skills are declining. Are we preparing young people to think for themselves? What problems will we face if they don’t?

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HoTLaNe Australia

HoTLaNe Australia is providing free tuition to educationally disadvantaged children and youth. I am travelling around the nation to make connections with schools and find those students in need of this service. Your financial contribution to this program is making a significant difference for young people.

To donate, visit:

Image: WOMBO Dream – AI Art Generator


Jonah & Ninevah

Image: United Arab Emirates flight over Tel Aviv-Yafo (Joppa) and the Mediterranean Sea, Israel, January 2023.

By Samantha Patrick – Founder CEO

There is great value in understanding historical geography when reading scripture. My search for understanding of the place called Ninevah has led me to gain greater insight into the person of Jonah and the character of God.

According to ACARA’s National Literacy Learning Progressions, the book of Jonah can be categorised as a ‘sophisticated text’, as it contains vocabulary that is geographically, culturally and historically specific, and addresses complex themes, such as politics and religion. To gain a deeper understanding of this text, I must engage in historical, geographic inquiry specific to the Middle East.

This is a study of the book of Jonah, a pre-exile prophet. Jonah is 4 chapters in length and a very interesting read. My thoughts on this book of the Bible have been presented in the form of ‘notable points’ that arose as I read the scriptures, asked questions and travelled down many paths of research to discover concepts I had neither realised nor had I put much thought into. Scriptures cited here have been taken from the Complete Jewish Bible and the New King James Version.

My first point of reference was to identify Ninevah’s place in the world and it significance. I discovered that, “Ninevah was the capital of the powerful ancient Assyrian Empire located in modern day northern Iraq.” (The British Museum, 2023,

I searched for Assyrian kings who were referenced in the Bible and found, Tiglath Pileser lll, Sennacherib, & Shalmaneser V. This information helps me delve deeper into Ninevah’s connections to different Biblical events. My knowledge of Ninevah, its place in the world and the people, helps me take a different perspective when I read the Biblical narratives. I am more able to remove myself from my own frame of understanding that is influenced by my life experiences and the culture I live in, to understand the text with the lense that it was intended to be viewed through.

Point 1 – monotheistic vs polytheistic world view

To break these words down, ‘mono’ means one and ‘poly’ means more than one. Theistic means to have a belief in a god, whether that be one or many. Someone who has a monotheistic world view believes that there is only one god. This world view is in contrast to someone who has a polytheistic world view, meaning they believe there is more than one god.

The people of Ninevah weren’t Jonah’s own people. They were worshipping a collective of other gods, which is significant because Jonah (the Hebrews) have a monotheistic world view. This means that they believe there is only one God, whose name is Yahweh. This causes me to think more deeply about Jonah’s anger. The God he serves is giving the people of Ninevah the opportunity to repent and be forgiven of their idolatry. For Jonah, someone who knows the laws of God and despises the worship of other gods, this must seem ludicrous.

Point 2: the fear of the Lord

Ninevah was a major political and administrative centre and was known as the largest city in the world for about 50 yrs. It housed one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world – The Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Regardless of the extravagance of this city, God instructs Jonah to warn them that if they don’t repent, He will overthrow them! Their response of fear toward the God of the Hebrews gives greater insight into people’s perception toward the God of the Hebrews at the time. They must have had the fear of God in them. They must have known His power. To act in such a way causes me to believe that they must have known that He could overthrow the city and destroy them in an instant. This causes me to wonder about the fear of the Lord in the present day. Has it been lost among the Gentiles? What would it take for it to return and for it to lead people into repentance?

“They [The Hanging Gardens of Babylon] may not have been located in Babylon. The gardens, famous as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, were, according to Stephanie Dalley, an Oxford University Assyriologist, located some 340 miles north of ancient Babylon in Nineveh, on the Tigris River by Mosul in modern Iraq.” (National Geographic, 2023,

Point 3: the fear of the Lord from another perspective

Interesting also that even though the people of Ninevah appeared to know how powerful the God of the Hebrews is, they still had previously continued worshipping a collective of other gods. It seems that the real fear of God didn’t enter until God got personal with them – “In 40 days, Ninevah will be overthrown!” Jonah 3:4 CJB. The text doesn’t even say that Jonah instructed them to repent. Jonah proclaimed only that Ninevah would be overthrown in 40 days. This may be a reflection of Jonah’s feelings toward the matter, but regardless of the limited information, the people of Ninevah knew what they needed to do. They repented. They must have known who Jonah was – a Hebrew. That’s some serious authority on God’s part.

Point 4: Grace & Judgement

What is also encompassed in this historical narrative is an image of God’s character, which is in contrast to the character that Jonah is portraying.

Despite knowledge of the sin of the people, God shows mercy, grace and love. His act of love, demonstrated through his stern warning, saturates the whole old testament. Over and over, people are given the opportunity to repent. Whether they choose to or not is up to them, but the consequences demonstrate God’s sovereignty. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and can overthrow even a pantheon of gods contained in the biggest, most extravagant city in the known world. Even the fear of that causes some to repent, but for others, maybe God’s act of judgement itself is an act of love that would cause some to realise who He is.

I recall my time in Israel when we saw the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Our time there traversing the remains of what appeared to be ash mountains caused a reverent fear of God in me to go to another level. An event that happened over 2000 years ago still lays the landscape bare to this day. The brimstone (sulphur) that fell from the sky millenniums ago could be held in my hands and the smoke of its smoldering after we lit it on fire could make me cough and gag here in the 21st century.





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Video and photographs: Sodom & Gomorrah and the Dead Sea, Israel, January 2023. Featuring Chaim Singerman, Samantha Patrick and Jenny Pursehouse.

Even amidst this event, God’s love and mercy is revealed through a man named Lot, who was saved. If we are willing to follow God and not look back to the old way of living, we too will receive the life that is offered to us. It may appear that God is harsh, but the reality is that he is holy and full of glory, and He made a way for us to be in His presence. He cannot be in the presence of sin. That’s why we need Jesus. He stands between us and God the Father so that through Jesus, the perfect, holy and blameless one, we are also seen as perfect, holy and blameless. It is undeserved, yes. But that is Grace. Jesus is the only way for us to enter the Kingdom of God. “Yeshua said, “I AM the Way — and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6CJB. If we don’t choose to walk away from our sinful ways, such as the idolatry that we read about here in the book of Jonah, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God. His Kingdom is available to us here through His Holy Spirit and for eternity when He brings forth the new heaven and the new earth, and the New Jerusalem comes down out of Heaven.

“Also I saw the holy city, New Yerushalayim [Jerusalem], coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” Revelation 21:2

In contrast to a God of forgiveness and mercy, Jonah’s depiction is indeed the opposite. Unforgiveness. Jonah just couldn’t grasp how God could forgive these people. It shows the depth of God’s love. It is beyond what we can comprehend. The city deserved destruction for their idolatry, but God was stepping in to save them. What He has in return is abundant life, for both the Jew (Jonah) and the Gentile (Ninevah).

“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from him. I will be like the dew to Israel; He shall grow like the lily, and lengthen his roots like Lebanon. His branches shall spread; His beauty shall be like an olive tree, and his fragrance like Lebanon. Those who dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall be revived like grain, and grow like a vine. Their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon. “Ephraim [the northern kingdom of Israel] shall say, ‘What have I to do anymore with idols?’ I have heard and observed him. I am like a green cypress tree; your fruit is found in Me.” Hosea 14:4-8 NKJV

Point 5: a picture of what is to come

Image: Jonah went aboard a ship from Joppa. Tel Aviv-Yafo (Joppa), Israel, January 2023.


Jonah didn’t want the people of Ninevah saved – to the point where he ran from God. The journey towards the eventual salvation of Ninevah even took Jonah via the belly of a whale for 3 days and nights, but in this, God was giving me a bigger picture. I thought, ‘Though you are in danger of being swallowed up by death, life is given.’ For Jonah, this was his reality inside the whale, and so too was this the reality for Ninevah when they repented and destruction didn’t come.

While inside the whale, Jonah said, “For you threw me into the deep, into the heart of the seas; and the flood enveloped me; all your surging waves passed over me. I thought, ‘I have been banished from your sight.’ But I will again look at your holy temple. The water surrounded me, threatened my life; the deep closed over me, seaweed twined around my head. I was going down to the bottoms of the mountains, to a land whose bars would close me in forever; but you brought me up alive from the pit, Adonai, my God!” Jonah 2:3-6CJB. We too are saved from the horrible pit called hell, or hades as it is also known as, when we choose to follow Jesus. In the case of the book of Jonah, God was warning them. Their pantheon of gods were destined for hell and if the people of Ninevah continued to have allegiance to these gods, they would end up going with them. God, in all his love and mercy, gave them a way out. They chose life! Praise God!

Jonah’s journey via a whale is a picture of what would come. Something bigger. Something eternal. While Jonah’s life was physically preserved in the belly of the whale, having not physically died, Jesus demonstrated that even life after our physical bodies die is preserved for us. Though Jesus was in the depths of the earth for 3 days and 3 nights, He rose again to life. His disciples watched Him rise into the clouds to be seated at the right hand of the Father in the Heavens, and He promised that He will prepare a place for us so that we too can be where He is. Life beyond our known world. Eternal life.

“For just as Yonah [Jonah] was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea-monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the depths of the earth.” Matthew 12:40 CJB

Point 6: Yahweh’s power witnessed

When Jonah was on the boat set for Tarshish, we again see an example of non-Hebrew people afraid because they find out that Jonah is a Hebrew and he is running from God. They even feared perishing if they had blood on their hands and threw this man of God overboard, so they asked that God preserve their lives. After they threw Jonah overboard, the sea calmed. Man, what a sight to behold! It gives greater insight into the significance of them offering sacrifices and making vows to the God of the Hebrews after the storm calmed. They previously knew about this God, and now, they had just witnessed His power right before their very eyes. No longer was it just a second-hand story they heard from someone. They had now experienced the power of Yahweh first-hand. First-hand experience of the immeasurable power of God sure would cause someone to repent, believe in and vow to follow this incredible God who has control over the wind and sea.

Point 7: a new perspective on the exile of the Jews

My newfound understanding of the book of Jonah has now had me thinking more deeply about other biblical narratives. I now find it very interesting that it was the Assyrian Empire who later conquered Israel, and the Jews were exiled from their land. Ninevah was the capital of the Assyrian Empire.

Then the king of Assyria carried Israel away captive to Assyria, and put them in Halah and by the Habor, the River of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, 12 because they did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, but transgressed His covenant and all that Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded; and they would neither hear nor do them.” 2 Kings 18:11 NKJV

2 Kings 18:17-37 gives the account of the king of Assyria’s pride amidst this event. Yes, God had given power into his hands to take the northern kingdom, Israel, into captivity and remove them from their land, but when it came to Jerusalem, the capital of the southern kingdom, Judah, God demonstrated His authority. God has ultimate power and control over what happens. The Jews heeded the instructions of the prophet, Hezekiah, and therefore were victorious. Hezekiah’s tunnel, built during this time, can be walked through to this day. During my travels in Israel in January, 2023, I chose to immerse myself in the ‘wet tunnel’ where you wade knee deep in water for about 20 minutes under torch light.

2 Kings 18:17-37 –

2 Chronicles 32:1-23 –

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Images: walking through Hezekiah’s tunnel and standing on the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem where Hezekiah’s tunnel was built. Israel, 2023.

In Summary

I am thankful for the time I have spent engaging in historical, geographic enquiry and for all that the Lord has revealed to me through His word. It has deepened my understanding of the interactions between God and people. A God who is unseen is very present in the lives of people recorded in the Bible and continues to be today. The prophets who lived during biblical times, just like Hezekiah, foretold things that would happen well into the future, even after the present day. Just like the people on the boat to Tarshish and the people of Ninevah, we too can recognise that Yahweh holds true to His word and holds supreme power. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to demonstrate his love for all mankind.  Our receiving of this undeserved forgiveness is up to us. Will you repent like we have seen through the people in this historical account, or will you continue in your ways? Ask the Lord to reveal Himself to you so that you may personally encounter Him.

“Therefore, repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be erased; so that times of refreshing may come from the Lord’s presence; and he may send the Messiah [second coming] appointed in advance for you, that is, Yeshua [Jesus]. He has to remain in heaven until the time comes for restoring everything, as God said long ago, when he spoke through the holy prophets.” Acts 3:19‭-‬21 CJB

“The soldiers too ridiculed him [Jesus]; they came up, offered him vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!” And there was a notice over him which read, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEW. One of the criminals hanging there hurled insults at him. “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other one spoke up and rebuked the first, saying, “Have you no fear of God? You’re getting the same punishment as he is. Ours is only fair; we’re getting what we deserve for what we did. But this man did nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Yeshua [Jesus], remember me when you come as King.” Yeshua said to him, “Yes! I promise that you will be with me today in Gan-`Eden.” Luke 23:36-43 CJB

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Image: standing in the Mediterranean Sea with Tel Aviv and Joppa behind me. Tel Aviv-Yafo (Joppa), Israel, January 2023.