How many times have you read this story? What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you see the name Jonah? I’d bet it’s the fish. But you know what? Jonah is not about the whale. It’s not about what’s going on inside the fish. It’s about what’s going on inside of Jonah. Surprised at that? I was. We want it to be about the whale because we don’t want to face our own fickleness which is so much like Jonah’s.
Am I saying we’re fickle Believer’s? Yes, I am. When life is going as planned (by us) and we’ve achieved a measure of success (Jonah was a known prophet.) we can start believing we can control our own lives and destiny. We can’t! That’s part of what this story is about. Jonah had to learn (the hard way) that once he committed to being God’s servant it was no longer about him. It’s all about God’s mercy! ALL! Even for someone as fickle as Jonah. Someone who thought he had it all together. Someone who knew God intimately, heard His voice, helped others understand Him.
What Jonah didn’t recognize in himself was his sinful nature. He thought everyone else was sinful. (i.e., the Ninevites) He certainly didn’t want to be in contact with that kind of sin. So he ran away. He didn’t get that you can’t run away from God. But he certainly tried.
We all know that God is the God of many chances. When He sets His sights on one of us He never gives up. That’s how I see the story of Jonah. God would not give up! From the pit (in the hold of the boat) to the prison (in the belly of the whale) to the palace (maybe the home of Shalmaneser lll) God pursued him.
I’ve studied the book of Jonah several times, with different authors, and let me say this is the first time I saw myself in this Old Testament parable. I’ve never grown tired of this story and I hope I never will. God will continue His pursuit of you and me. My fervent prayer is we will hear Him and respond so we don’t end up in a giant fish.
Powerful words in Running from Mercy by Anthony J. Carter:
…He is not going to stop until He gets you. Goodness and mercy shall pursue you all the days of your life (Ps. 23:6). pp. 48
God keeps his appointments and has every intention of making sure we do too. pp. 57
If you have people in your life who love you enough to talk to you about your sin, don’t cut them off. Don’t shut them down. Don’t blame them. They are the grace of God to you. pp. 87
In every church gathered in this world today, people are either changing the gospel, or the gospel is changing them… We must not seek to change God’s Word but seek to be changed by it. pp.106
I highly recommend this book. It’s a life changer!
Blessings to you and yours!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Broadman Holman/Lifeway Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”