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  • Writer's pictureDeborah

Jonah and the Whale

Jonah 1:1-3 (NKJV)

Jonah 1:4-9 NKJV)

Jonah 1:10-16 (NKJV)

Jonah 1:17 (NKJV)

Jonah 2:1-10 (NKJV)

Jonah 3:5-9 (NKJV)

Jonah 2:10 (NKJV)

Jonah 3:2 (NKJV)

Jonah 3:5-9 (NKJV)

Jonah 3:10 (NKJV)

Today we’re looking at the direct disobedience of Jonah, and what happened to him as a result of running from God. Despite his disobedience, it’s worth noting that God did a great miracle on Jonah’s behalf.

In Jonah 1:2 we learn that God wanted to send the Prophet Jonah to Nineveh because “their wickedness has come up before Me.” But for some unknown reason, Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh so in verse 3, “Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” The key phrase in that verse tells us that Jonah went away “from the presence of the Lord.”

Not a good place to go.

As a result at the end of verse 3, Jonah took it upon himself to go away on a ship so he could flee, and run away from God. Jonah decided “to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.”

Again, not a good place to go to.

In Jonah 1:4-9, we find Jonah on the ship in the middle of a great storm that the Lord intentionally sent. Plus, apparently Jonah had bragged to the crew (verse 10) that he was a man of God. The Captain of the ship went and found him sleeping and asked him in Jonah 1:10, “Why have you done this?” To further solidify the Captain’s suspicions in verse 7, they “cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah”. Not only did Jonah admit he was a Prophet running from God, the crew specifically ‘cast lots’, which means they did something like rolling dice or flipping a coin. Casting lots was done 70 times in the Old Testament ( What is interesting about the practice of casting lots in scripture is that we see that God was even in charge of the practice of ‘casting lots’.

Anyway you look at it, Jonah was busted.

A discussion ensued between Jonah and the crew and as a result, the crew asked Jonah what could be done so they would survive the storm? Jonah knew in order for them to survive, he needed to be cast off the ship in the middle of the ocean (verse 12).

In Jonah 1:13-16 the crew turned to God in a big way. They tried to row to shore in order to save themselves and Jonah, but they finally realized the only way they would survive was to throw Jonah overboard. Sure enough, as soon as they tossed Jonah off of the ship the sea stopped raging.

In Jonah 1:17, God HAD PREPARED (ahead) a great fish to swallow up Jonah. The prophet was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.

We learn in Jonah 2:1-9 that it was then, and only then that Jonah prayed and surrendered to God.

In Jonah 2:10 we read, “So the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.”

Notice that God was even in charge of speaking to the great fish!

So, what was the miracle of Jonah?

Was it God’s plan for Jonah?

Was it that he didn’t die when he was cast into the sea?

Was it that God had prepared a great fish so Jonah could survive?

Was it that the fish listened to God?

We learn in Jonah 3:2, that God said to Jonah, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” those were basically the same words God spoke to him in Jonah 1:2. We see that God gave Jonah another chance.

As a result, we read in Jonah 3:5-9 that Jonah preached the Good News about God to Nineveh and they repented. Then in Jonah 3:10, “God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.”

WOW...more miracles? Was it that Jonah finally listened to God and did what God asked him to do? That was a great miracle!

Or was the miracle one of Nineveh’s repentance and God’s forgiveness?

It seems to me there were multiple miracles, but I lean toward the last miracle listed as being the greatest. After all, God’s forgiveness often requires great patience on God’s part while God continues to help us and speak to us. It is the miracle that has lasting eternal consequences.

Our decision to turn to God and surrender is the miracle that just keeps giving!

Today’s Spiritual Practice: God’s forgiveness for YOU

Consider/remember the first time YOU turned to God and surrendered. It WAS and IS the greatest miracle of all! Thank God today for that act of forgiveness.

In God, Deb

Deborah Ireland Douglas Jones


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