Jonah and the Big Fish
You likely know the story of Jonah:
- He tries to run from God,
- Spends a 3-day “time out” in the belly of a large fish (the Bible doesn’t say it’s a whale),
- Is given a second chance,
- Then does what God commands, albeit with a bad attitude
He proclaims, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned” (Jonah 3:4). Talk about a lousy sermon.
Eight concise and direct words. He doesn’t use persuasive language, doesn’t implore the people to act, and doesn’t show any compassion or concern. He is blunt and to the point. Technically, he does what God tells him to do, but his heart isn’t in it.
Amazingly, the people get his message, are convicted, and repent. So God lovingly relents and calls the whole thing off—and Jonah gets pissed.
He even picks a good seat to watch the destruction take place—and then pouts when God gives Nineveh a reprieve.
Essentially, Jonah reluctantly preaches a bad sermon and then gets mad because he is successful.
Despite all that, God is able to use him anyway. How encouraging that is for us when we run away from what God calls us to do.
Learn more about all twelve of the Bible’s Minor Prophets in Peter’s new book, Dear Theophilus, Minor Prophets: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.