Last night Reid and I taught Jonah at one of the Life groups we attend. We enjoyed working up the lesson and giving it. The people were interested and involved in the discussion. There's a lot of mystery around who wrote the book and when and what happened to Jonah after his discussion with God outside of Nineveh. The last words of the book are from God, "Should I not be concerned about that great city?" We don't know what Jonah's response was, but ours is, "Of course."
Jonah is a book about God's mercy. If we read the prophets, and only see God as angry and threatening, then we've missed their purpose. God is merciful. The whole Bible is about God's mercy--how he tried and tried to let people obey on their own, and when he saw they couldn't, He made another way that was even better.
In Turkmenistan, the Greater Grace Protestant Church tried to be legal. But officials raided a Bible class and told the pastor his church couldn't teach its own members without government permission.
North Korean police worm their way into churches and set up phony Bible studies in order to catch North Koreans attending worship. Having a Bible in North Korea is grounds for execution. Stories like this abound around the world. Why doesn't God send a prophet like Jonah or Jeremiah to those places today? Why doesn't God send a prophet to the United States? We could use one here, too.
What if on Sunday morning some man or woman walked into our church or down our street proclaiming, "Repent or God will destroy this church/great city/people." Would we or they put on sackcloth and fast and repent? Would the police allow the man or woman to continue or would they put the person in handcuffs and transport him/her to the nearest psych unit?
Maybe He doesn't send prophets like He used to. Maybe he sends television preachers or media beings or everyday people like you and me to tell people about Him.
The answer to why God doesn't send a prophet to the United States? Maybe He has and no one's listening.