In Jonah 1, God tells Jonah that he needs to go and preach to the people of Nineveh. This is all well and good until God says that he needs to speak against it and tell the people what’s going to happen if they don’t listen to God and obey him.
Nineveh was known as an ‘exceedingly great’ city, imagine going to speak down on it. Public speaking is one of the most common phobias, but this is like going to Buckingham palace and telling the Queen all the things you don’t like about her. It would be crazy and you would be hated by the whole world never mind just England. This is the situation Jonah is imagining in his head. I know if someone gave me a list of negative things to say about the queen to the queen I would lock myself in my room and never come out. I would definitely run and probably cry.
So that’s what Jonah done. He ran away. In a state of fear and probably shock that God would want him to do this. Jonah found a boat going to Spain, so there he went with a crew on his way to Spain in a bid to try to run from the responsibility God has put on him.
How often do you run from god? I know when god puts something on my heart, the introvert that I am tries to avoid it and just not listen to it and try as best I can to run from it. Especially if it was ask this person this but that person I don’t even know or i have never even talked to them. Or even when he says youre capable of this, do it. I know most of the time we dont set out to run and hide, but sometimes it’s just simply no. No god, i cant do that or no I’m not doing that.
Sometimes we just need a good shaking and someone to tell us we can do this. Just do it. It won’t be scary. It will be okay. So that’s what God done to Jonah. A storm was rising, the men in the boat were panicked and didn’t know what to do. They woke Jonah who was sleeping down stairs to see of he knew what to do. He told them what they needed to do in his stubborness. The men were like uhnn no way we’re not throwing you into the raging sea in the midst of a storm. Are you still sleeping or are you going crazy?? After trying everything possible, the men gave in and took Jonah and threw him overboard and the sea was instantly calm and the storm was over.
Then a whale swallowed Jonah.
Let’s be real. We can run as far as we want from god. We can continue to say no. But God will catch us and keep guiding us. Even when we dont think it’s guidance or even think hes not guiding us at all. The whale was like a safe place for Jonah, a place where he could just think about what he’s done and why he’s running and redetermine what he’s doing. Jonah was in the whale for 3 days and 3 nights.
Then he said to God:
“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.
…To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit…
Jonah 2:2, 6 NIV
And that was it. The whale spat Jonah up and he was free and forgiven. (Jonah 2:10)
God saved Jonah from sinking deep in the sea. He also saved him from wandering off further. God showed Jonah so much mercy. Jonah didn’t deserve the forgiveness and compassion god gave him. But god still was merciful.
I love this story and I love the meaning behind it. I love that no matter what we do. No matter how far we run. God always gives us a safe place. He brings us back to reality and keeps encouraging us. I love that he is real and that he forgives even when we dont deserve an ounce of forgiveness. I love that our god is a forgiving god. I love that he is a merciful god.