We’ve all heard the story of Jonah and the big fish, also known as Jonah and the whale. Everyone knows it, even those who aren’t born again and even those who don’t believe God exists. I’ve never read the story outside of Sunday school until recently though. There’s so much more to the story than what I can recall being taught. I never even knew Jonah was its own separate book in the Bible. I always thought it was a story in Genesis. Being more mature in the Spirit now than I was when I first heard the story as a toddler, I gladly read the story again to gain new understanding. The book only has short chapters but it certainly is a powerful story.
Jonah was told by the Lord to go to Nineveh to preach against the wickedness that was there. Instead of obeying the Lord, Jonah fled and boarded a boat. God caused the waters to rage with a storm and all of the sailors cried out to different gods while Jonah hid. They discovered he was the one responsible for making the trouble. When he said that he was Hebrew and worshipped God, the creator of all the earth, they grew fearful. They knew he was running from God already so he told them to throw him into the sea. At first they wouldn’t until the sea grew rougher. They asked the Lord not to hold them accountable for Jonah’s life and then threw him into the sea, calming it. The men made vows and sacrifices to the Lord in fear. A great fish, provided by the Lord, swallowed Jonah and he was in the fish for three days and three nights. Imagine what that was like! Inside the fish, Jonah prayed to God and after he did this, God commanded the fish to throw Jonah up onto dry land. This time, Jonah obeyed God’s command to go preach at Nineveh.
The story of Jonah is an important application for our lives. It’s a reminder that we can’t hide from God no matter where we are. We can try and flee from Him but He knows our every thought and will be waiting for you wherever you try to go. We can’t escape His judgment. If we don’t do as He commands, He will cause hardship to come our way to remind us that He is the only way to life, prosperity, and true happiness.
“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a
song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good.
Salvation comes from the Lord.”