Vol.6, No. 05 – January 31, 2021
Never Trust a Fish!
Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you? . . .. Pick me up and hurl me into the sea, then the sea will quiet down. –Jonah 1:8, 12
Can you imagine volunteering to be thrown into the sea with no ability in yourself to reach land, to have any sense of rescue, and to contemplate your chance of a spared life?
Then think a little further—there are big fish out there. You are not so big that your would not make a tasty meal for one of those . . . fish. Just because you pray a prayer, it does not give you the flexibility to utter anything to the unsaved (or for the saved for that matter).
So these guys on the ship had cast lots to see who was at fault. They used the tools of the world to make their decisions. How comforting! What a strange method to use to determine truth (it will happen again in the NT). So, the outcome is that Jonah gets cast into the sea.
I have fished a lot over my life. Fish are strange, they surprise you without notice. They sail out of the water, they flop over right beside your boat, they bite the bait and spit it out, and they seem to laugh at you while your mouth stands wide open. Most fish travel together—they are called schools, but I do not think one of them goes to class regularly. They do follow one another, regularly. That should not surprise us. Even a dead fish goes with the flow.
So, Jonah meets with a fish. He gets swallowed. I wonder how that felt. I wonder how dark it got. I wonder what else was in the belly of that fish. I have thought of writing another book entitled Echoes from the Belly of a Whale. I still may do that and start working on it this year.
Your question is how are we going to get encouragement from this story. Well, we will.
Can you imagine living in the belly of a whale?
- You might lose God’s voice in your ears, but maybe not
- You might lose your sense of being spiritual
- You might lose power to pray
- You might have a loss of opportunity to witness—all you have is this fish
- You certainly might feel a loss to influence for good
- You might well begin to understand that this can be fatal
- You can probably think of other obstacles.
Jonah is restricted because of his choices. Then he comes to himself. What would have been destroyed had Jonah not come to himself?
What we find out is that God is in control at every point, not the fish. You can only trust the fish when God is in control
- Read about Jonah’s prayer time in 2:1-2
- Read the details of his experiences (we all have them) in 2:3-7
- Read about his intentions (we all have them) in 2:8-9
- Read about his rescue (we all have them) in 2:10
Note that God made a proper response. It is also well-worth noting that Jonah was SPIT UP to the “beach.” Cannot help to wonder what he looked like. Seaweed around his neck. Skin bleached white. Hair in desperate need of shampoo and CONDITIONER. Clothing askew. Not a great week; and he was delivered right where he did not want to go! He had experienced distress—great trouble.
Jonah hated the people and wanted them to perish—he is only for God saving his choice. God loved all people, and wanted them not to perish!
Who are you for—obviously God was for you!