“The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.’ But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.” – Jonah 1:1-3 (NIV)
I do believe the story of Jonah and the whale is a real story. There are some deep truths and spiritual principles that I believe God wants us to get from this book of the Bible. I don’t think that the whale is the primary picture that God wants us to see in the telling of this story. Some would say that the book of Jonah is all about a great city. It’s a snapshot of the largest city in that day; the most influential city. Did you know that this really great city, Nineveh, is only mentioned nine times in the book of Jonah? But the whale is mentioned even less, only four times as “the great fish”. Others would say that this book is really a picture of Jonah, a disobedient prophet. He is mentioned 19 times in the book and was most definitely disobedient. But in reality, I believe the book of Jonah is a beautiful picture of a loving God who is mentioned 38 times in this one book.
It shows us the God of second chances; the God who commands us to obey Him; not to make our lives miserable, but because He loves us and He wants us to learn to follow Him. He knows what’s best for us and wants us to live our best more than we want our own best. It’s my prayer for you that you’ll get a clear picture of who God is, how much He loves you and what He wants to do in your life. He IS the God of the second chance. And that’s the beautiful picture the book of Jonah gives us so clearly.
Lord, today we want to obey you in every area of our lives. We know that we can trust you because you love us so very much!