The last post left us with smooth sailing along with Jonah. He was on his way to Tarshish. That was the west, the wrong way. Let’s pick up the story.
When we make choices that displease God, I think His heart gets heavy. Yes, we can make the Almighty Creator feel sad. He loves us and has the best life in mind for us. So why don’t we trust Him? Now we find Jonah in a boat heading west. He paid the fee and is feeling sleepy, so he goes below deck and naps. (1:4) But then the wind kicks up. A storm starts blowing and howling. It is described as “a violent storm.”(1:5) Even the sailors were afraid, and Jonah is found sleeping! It was bad enough that the captain had to find Jonah and ask him to pray, but he didn’t know that Jonah was in no spiritual condition to pray! (1:6)
Let me just ask one question. But before you finish reading this article, take a moment to answer this question in your own mind and heart; “Is it ever worth it to run from the Lord?”
So let’s skip to verse 17 of the first chapter. I know I jumped over some important ideas in the chapter, so when you have time, it makes a great read. This is an important verse so I will include it here. “Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”
I think God got Jonah’s attention.
At the beginning of the story, God chose Jonah to go to Nineveh. Nineveh was a physical place with a spiritual purpose. I think that any place can be significant in God’s eyes. May I suggest that God has a reason for the fish even though Jonah was supposed to go to Nineveh? It comes to this: God chose Jonah and then sent a fish to get Jonah’s attention. Here are my thoughts on why God used the fish.
1. It was to save Jonah’s life. He would have drowned if God did not intervene.
2. It was to serve Jonah a lesson. The intensity of our disobedience is directly related to the intensity of God’s discipline.
3. It was to show Jonah love. He could have let Jonah drown, but he didn’t. He could have called another prophet to Nineveh, but he didn’t. He could have sent fire and brimstone to destroy the wicked city, but he didn’t. Instead, God demonstrated His love for Jonah.
So here is where the “rubber meets the road.” God has chosen you and me for His purposes. If you find yourself in the fish, turn your heart back to God. Here are the first few words of Jonah’s prayer: “From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said: “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.”
God will answer. So stop going west (away) from God and head east (toward) Him.