Jonah and the Whale
Daily Bible Reading – Jonah 1-4; 2 Timothy 2
Today’s Key Passage – Jonah 1-4
As you know by now, each day I select a relatively short key passage from our daily Bible reading and talk about a specific lesson we learn from that passage. Today, though, I am going to have to do things a bit differently. As I was reading the book of Jonah today, I realized that selecting only a short passage from this book was going to do it a complete injustice. There are simply too many valuable lessons throughout this book to focus on just one, so I decided to make the entire book our key passage for today. As we review the four short chapters of this book, we can learn a lot from Jonah’s journey. (Please avoid the temptation to read my brief synopses of each chapter below and skip reading the actual book of Jonah. If you only have time to read one or the other, read the actual story in the Bible. After all, God’s words are A LOT more important than anything I can possibly write here.)
Chapter 1 – God told Jonah to go to Ninevah to warn the people of God’s coming judgment and tell them to repent. Jonah, not wanting to risk the possibility that the evil people of Ninevah would actually repent and receive God’s mercy, decided to run from God. He boarded a ship headed to Tarshish, and fell asleep below deck. Jonah should have felt guilt and shame for his sin, but instead he was able to sleep peacefully because sometimes the absence of guilt does not necessarily mean we are obeying God as we should. During the journey, God sent a great storm that endangered the lives of everyone on board. Jonah’s sin (just like our own sin) was now affecting not just himself but other people as well. When the ship’s crew realized that Jonah’s sin was the cause of the storm, they threw him overboard and the seas immediately calmed. When the crew saw this, they stopped worshiping their pagan gods and turned to the one true God. Even though Jonah was disobeying God by running away, God still used Jonah’s disobedience to bring others to Him.
Chapter 2 – After being thrown in the water, God sent a whale to swallow Jonah. Jonah spent three days and three nights inside the whale. He could have used this time to curse God for the predicament he was now in, but instead he ran back to God and recommitted to Him. Jonah realized that while he was not in the perfect situation in the belly of the fish, he was there because God saved him from drowning in the sea. When we find ourselves in a tough situation, it might be because God has saved us from something much worse.
Chapter 3 – God commanded the whale to release Jonah on dry land, and he went to Ninevah and told the people the words of God. He warned them that in 40 days they would all be destroyed by God unless they returned to faith in Him. Upon hearing this, the entire city (over 120,000 people) repented and turned back to God. Jonah was given a second chance by God to do His will, and the people of Ninevah were given a second chance by God to stop sinning because God’s mercy and forgiveness are unceasing.
Chapter 4 – When God had compassion on the people of Ninevah and decided not to destroy them, Jonah became angry with God because he did not want to see these wicked people saved. He sat down under a tree and God caused a vine to grow to give Jonah shade and comfort. The next day, God sent a worm to destroy the vine and Jonah was miserable in the hot sun. God did this to teach Jonah a lesson. Jonah was angry about the destruction of a vine that only lived for one day, but was not upset at all about the possible destruction of over 120,000 people because the loss of the vine affected him personally and the loss of the people did not. How often do we get upset by the loss of a prized possession but fail to get upset by a friend who is not saved?
The story of Jonah and the whale teaches us a lot about God and a lot about ourselves. If I had to sum up the entire story into one lesson it would be this – God’s will is unstoppable. You can choose to run from God your entire life, but His will is still always going to be done and you are going to have to face many storms along the way because of your disobedience. Alternately, you can choose to run toward God and obey Him, accepting His will and avoiding the pitfalls of your sins. The choice is yours.
During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you? Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.
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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.
Posted on June 26, 2014, in 32 - Jonah and tagged Bible, Christian, Daily Bible, Daily Devotional, Forgiveness, God, God's Character, Jesus, Religion, Repentance, Sin. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.