The Bizarre True Story of Jonah
Posted: Wednesday, December 14
Verse of the day:
Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights. (Jonah 1:17)
The story of Jonah has always been one of my favorites from the Bible. It’s such a bizarre, crazy incident that 100% happened because it’s in the Bible! If you haven't read it in a while, make sure to read today’s Old Testament portion from the One Year Bible Reading Guide. I have questions that I wonder about when I read this story. What kind of fish really swallowed Jonah, and is this species still alive today? Was Jonah in the fish’s mouth for the three days, or in it’s stomach being slowly digested by stomach acid? What was Jonah thinking about for three full days while inside a fish? Did Jonah eat anything while in there?
As wacky as this story is, it’s packed with a substantial warning and encouragement. The loud and clear warning given to us from Jonah’s choices are if God tells us to do something, we better do it! Whether we agree with it or not, whether it’s scary or beneath us, when God chooses us there is no backing out. While we enjoy the privilege of free will, God is sovereign and will work things out the way He wants them to. If God tells us to do something, it’s going to work out and good will come.
On the flip side, the huge encouragement is that God is a God of second, third, fourth, and five billion chances! From the Ninevites to Jonah, God is handing out grace throughout this story. God could have very easily let Jonah drown when he jumped off the boat. He could have just struck him with lighting on the boat! But God sent a fish of grace to rescue a sinner as God’s way of bringing Jonah back to Him. The Ninevites were horrible people who deserved to be wiped off the face of the planet. But God sent a messenger via fish to appeal for their repentance, to turn to God, and experience a fresh new life. Jonah’s life harks warning and encouragement, but both point to a God who loves us and wants to do amazing things through us.