A Fish Story?

(S: Scripture) Jonah 1-4:11biggerboat_0
Jonah 4: 3 (NLT) “Just kill me now, LORD! I’d rather be dead than alive because nothing I predicted is going to happen.”

(O: Observations)

  1. The book of Jonah is atypical from other prophetic books, in that it tells a story of the prophet and not his prophecies.
  2. Jesus makes reference to Jonah when describing His own death and resurrection. (Matthew 12:40)
  3. This is a story of God’s limitless love, patience, mercy, and grace. God saved the evil people of Nineveh. Then when Jonah went off and pouted after he didn’t get his way, God grew plants to shade him from the sun. The next day God sent a worm to eat the plants.
  4. Before Jonah went the opposite way that God instructed, Jonah knew:
    • The power of God’s message, even though he was a weak preacher.
    • God’s message would get them to repent and spare them from God’s judgment.
    • He hated them and wanted revenge.

(A: Application)
Jaws was a blockbuster movie with one of the best adlibbed lines ever, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”. When Chief Brody saw the fish, his confidence in both the boat and its crew quickly vanished. I thought the reason why Jonah disobeyed God, was that he saw the Herculean task ahead of him and decided to go the other way. However, it was more out of revenge for the people of Nineveh which caused him to disobey God.

Perhaps a truer illustration of Jonah could be taken from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Hamlet was going to kill his murderous stepfather, but changed his plan when he saw him praying. Hamlet wanted revenge and didn’t want his stepfather to be saved and go to heaven.

When have I “pulled a Jonah”? Like Peter I’ve said, “LORD I will never desert you!” (Mark 14:29) Then God asked me to serve and pray for those who persecuted me. (Matthew 5:44) When have I joyfully served the person who lied about me? When have I prayed for the person who cut me off in traffic, and then flipped me off in the same motion? When have I prayed for those who want to cut my head off? I guess I am more like Jonah than I thought, and that’s no fish story.

(P: Prayer)
Loving and Patient Father. Help me to serve and pray for those who persecute me. Use me to bring more people to You. Change me with Your Word. Do with me whatever You want. In your name I pray. Amen.

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