So the story that we remember and mostly talk about in the book of Jonah is him being swallowed by the great fish. We teach it to the children in Sunday School, and V.B.S. and make paper boats , flannel graphs, and tell the bigger than life tale of Jonah being spit up on dry ground and then obeying Jehovah. The children then have a paper boat or paper fish to take home to remind them of the lesson that God is going to make a big fish swallow you if don’t be good, or something like that.
The sad reality is that most modern day Christians don’t really believe the event happened. An ever increasing amount of theologians even regard the book of Jonah as nothing more than a parable. Yet in the gospels of Luke, chapter 11. 29, and Matthew, chapter 12.39, both quote Jesus as referring to the event as a prophetic sign. “As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster: so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” I’m standing with Jesus on this one.
Where we left off in the last blog Jehovah saved the sailors on the ship to Tarshish as they cried out to Him when they sought the God of Jonah, wondering if He might care about them. And when Jonah went to Nineveh, the gentile nation known for their wickedness, he said simply “yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The entire city from greatest to least repented. It seems just knowing that there was a day of justice coming, or a day of reckoning was near, was enough for these people to examine their behavior and turn from it. Jesus, in the gospels said that these very Ninevites would stand at the judgement and condemn His generation, for they had less of a word from Jehovah than the current people Jesus was dealing with, they having the very Son of God in their presence.
When the Word of God comes to you, it doesn’t really matter who the messenger is, Jonah or Jesus, or even the fullness of explanation, it is our responsibility to recognize it and respond. Today we have the Holy Spirit to reveal the word of God to us, in a variety of means, from radio, television, Christian periodicals, audio recordings, ministers, Bible studies, books etc. We of all generations have even less of an excuse than the generation of Jesus, for He was limited to where He could physically be at any one time. The call of God to us is first salvation, then obedience to His will in what He has specifically in mind for you.
Unlike Jonah let us not resist His call to us.