Uncertain Times: Jonah in the Belly of the Whale

The story of Jonah and the whale is well known. Those three days in the belly of a large fish had to be uncertain and scary. Jonah had no idea what would happen as he and the Lord probably had an ongoing heart to heart.

But, what led to Jonah being in the belly of the whale?

The Lord told Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach against the wickedness there. {Jonah 1:1-2}  Instead, he fled and went to Tarshish. Ninevah is 500 miles from Jonah’s hometown of Joppa, while Tarshish is 2500 miles away. Clearly Jonah did not want to do the Lord’s bidding. 

While Jonah is on a ship, headed to Tarshish, a storm overtakes them and Jonah is thrown overboard. {Jonah 1:3-16}

“Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” {Jonah 1:17}

Notice what Jonah does while inside the fish. He prays, calling on the Lord, extolling all the Lord’s done for him, repenting and asking for help.  {Jonah 2}

“And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.”  {Jonah 2:10}

The Lord again commands Jonah to go to Ninevah and this time he obeys.  He preaches out against there way, telling the people of the coming destruction and they repent and turn back to the Lord. {Jonah 3}

Then Jonah becomes angry at the Lord for not destroying the people. He thinks he knows best and the Lord uses a leafy plant to teach him a lesson about who is in charge. {Jonah 4}

How often are we like Jonah, resisting the Lord’s command and taking a long journey through uncertainty before we reach our destination? Even questioning what the Lord says, because we don’t approve or agree?

 Honestly, I can say I’ve taken such journey’s more times than I care to admit.

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