Yonah (Jonah) 2:1,2 “Adonai prepared a huge fish to swallow Yonah; and Yonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. From the belly of the fish Yonah prayed to Adonai his God.”
The Lord had a purpose for Jonah, a high calling, but like many of us, Jonah ran. Not only did Jonah run, but he hid from God. It didn’t work. God knew exactly where Jonah was, and trouble came for him as a result. He was thrown overboard, died, and then was sucked in through the mouth of a large sea creature (we assume a whale, but no one really knows for certain). During this time, he died and went to hell (Sheol) but then was raised back up three days later before he was vomited by the large sea creature. It took all of this to finally get Jonah’s attention. God wanted him to go to Nineveh and warn them of the destruction that was coming upon them if they didn’t repent; God would give them forty days before they would be overthrown. Jonah had followed the voice of fear, doubt, and unbelief, not wanting to go to Nineveh because he was convinced his life would be taken…so it was taken anyway, temporarily, when he was thrown overboard and drowned.
Much to Jonah’s surprise, they didn’t kill him; instead, they repented, wearing sackcloth and ashes as a sign of true repentance. But was Jonah grateful that they didn’t kill him? You would think so. No; instead, Jonah was angry with God because He spared the people of Nineveh. They repented, so God forgave them and turned away His anger.
Are we like Jonah? Doubting, not believing, dwelling in fear? Too busy looking at our mountain, believing there’s no way we can climb it. Instead of just climbing it to get to the other side, we try to go around it; but no matter which way we go around, there’s always a block standing in the way. Whether it’s wild, ravenous wolves waiting to gobble you all up, or an enormous bolder preventing your passage. If it’s not God’s way, it just won’t work. And when we finally do get to the other side, what do we do? We start complaining about how bad we feel because of how worn out we are from the hike, and feeling as if it was unfair to begin with that we had to do so much work. Now that we’re past that mountain, we start staring at our next, instead of praising God for getting us over our hump.
Not only did Jonah complain because God spared the people of Nineveh, but he complained when God gave him shade from the sun. He was so angry, nothing would appease him.
Is there someone in your life you’re angry with? Someone who entices your most negative feelings, yet they seem to always get away with it? You know, the kind of person that deep, deep down inside you sometimes have thoughts of lightning bolts from heaven striking them to the ground? Yes…that’s who I’m talking about. If God sent someone to deliver a message to them that He was going to really come down and get them, would you be in the cheering section saying, “Get ‘em! Get ‘em! You go God!” Or would you be thrilled if God spared them because they repented?
Let us take from Jonah’s experience wisdom and knowledge. Number one, don’t run from God. If He tells you to do something, and you’re sure He has spoken, then do it without question. Number two, have faith. If He wants you to do something, then He will see you through; and whatever happens was in His plan. Finally, number three, don’t complain when the outcome presents itself. Praise God for the result(s) even if it wasn’t necessarily what you wanted, or what you thought would happen. Rejoice every time an unbeliever or an unrepentant believer repents. Always remember our place…we are His feet carrying His message of love, repentance, and salvation throughout the earth!