Jonah: A Whale of A Tale
By Carolyn Dale Newell
A Mountain of Faith is one year old! We have a series on Jonah, a man with whale-size faith. Usually, when I pull from the archives, I do a rewrite, but these only lacked word count. Therefore, two are posted today, and two new ones will post Thursday. May God richly bless you as you study Jonah this week.
“…for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger
And abundant in lovingkindness…”
Jon. 4:2 (NKJV)
Jonah, the disobedient missionary was on a ship headed for Tarshish. He was fleeing from the presence of God because his prejudice was so strong that he refused to preach to the people of Nineveh. God pursued Jonah as He will pursue any believer who is living out of His will.
So God sent a severe storm upon the ship. When the sailors realized that Jonah was the cause of the storm, they showed concern for Jonah. The sailors tried everything before they fulfilled Jonah’s request to be thrown overboard. Every Christian who is living outside the will of God needs to throw their sin overboard. Their storm will calm just as this one did.
Yet, Jonah did not repent. He sank into the ocean depths, but he did not drown, nor did Jonah suffer shark attack. Instead, God prepared a great fish to swallow him whole.
Jonah survived three days and nights in the belly of this fish. How did he breathe? What did the gastric juices do to him? Was he nauseated by the change in pressure as the fish swam throughout the sea? Finally, Jonah repented, and the fish vomited him upon the land.
God had preserved Jonah on the ship, in the sea, and in the belly of the fish. God is full of mercy and compassion. We forget that when our lives become stormy. Whether we are outside God’s will or being tested for another purpose, He will bring us through. God’s mercy is unfathomable!
”When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD;
And my prayer went up to You…”
Jon. 2:7a (NKJV)
Afflictions send us down on our knees in prayer. How sad that we do not spend more time praying during the good times. In the belly of the fish, Jonah called on God when he could run from Him no further. He hears our prayers no matter where we are.
Jonah became submissive to the will of God. God had him in a place where he could run no more. Sometimes, we make the mistake and think that we can manage our lives better than God. God knows best. Jonah knew that God was working on him, and he repented. God is forgiving and merciful.
When our trials become so dire, we will do as Jonah did and focus on God rather than our problems. Our focus should always be on God because He is larger than any trial that we can encounter.
Jonah, who was unfaithful in his service to God, still had faith IN God. His prayer reflects faith and hope. He trusted God to save him from his watery grave. We must also have that same faith and hope in God when we are suffering. Nothing is impossible for God (Luke 1:37).
Finally, Jonah was thankful for what God had brought him through. Jonah was also thankful for what God was going to do.
“Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (Ps. 50:14-15).
Thank You for keeping us through all sorts of troubles. You are more than faithful. Help us continually focus on You. Thank You for what You are going to do in our lives. Amen.
Read the book of Jonah.
HIKING THE TRAIL
How can you focus on God rather than your present storm? Spend time giving thanks to God today.
Copyright 2013 Carolyn Dale Newell