We all know the story of Jonah…but do you REALLY know the story of Jonah?
Jonah, part 1:
God’s Word came to Jonah, “Up on your feet and on your way to the big city of Nineveh! Preach to them. They’re in a bad way and I can’t ignore it any longer.” But instead of pulling a Zacchaeus, he ran…ran far, far away from God. He boarded a ship and departed….
God didn’t take too kindly to this, and frankly, who would? So God did what God does: He made sure Jonah listened to Him by having a storm rise up over the waters, creating terrible conditions for any sailboat.
The sailors were terrified and threw everything overboard to lighten the load. While all of this was going on, Jonah was SOUND asleep in the bottom of the boat.
The captain of the ship came to Jonah and said, “What’s this? Sleeping! Get up! Pray to your god! Maybe your god will see we’re in trouble and rescue us!”
I kinda always get the picture Jonah just stared at him, knowing deep down he was the one responsible for this situation….
The sailors determined something was amiss and decided to draw straws to find out who the culprit was! Of course, Jonah drew the small straw and was immediately grilled about who he was, what he was doing there, why this disaster, etc.
Jonah answered that he was a Hebrew who worshiped God, the God of heaven who made sea and land. At that, the men freaked out, like REALLY freaked out.
As the men freaked out, they asked Jonah what they were going to do with him to make the storm go away. Jonah was all, like, “Throw me over and the storm will stop.” He says it was all his fault.
Talk about OWNING the situation!
The men didn’t want to throw Jonah overboard. Instead, they tried to row to shore. However, the storm kept getting worse and worse.
At that point, some of the sailors HAD to be telling themselves…
Then, something came to them and they prayed for God to intervene in the situation. They threw Jonah overboard and immediately the sea quieted down.
The sailors, in complete awe, were impressed, no longer terrified by the sea, but in awe of God. They worshiped God, offered a sacrifice and made vows.
Then God assigned a HUGE fish to swallow Jonah.
Jonah spent three days and nights in the fish.
Being stuck inside a fish probably was the last thing on poor Jonah’s mind…
Jonah, part 2:
While stuck inside the giant fish, Jonah started to pray out to God. This was a pretty powerful prayer in which Jonah cried out to God, saying he would do what God asked of him.
Just as he finished the prayer, God spoke to the fish and it vomited up Jonah on the seashore!
I know this is a girl, but I always picture Jonah coming up like this:
Jonah, part 3:
Now that Jonah was out of the fish, God spoke to him a second time to get on his feet and go to Nineveh and preach to them. They needed help in a bad way!
This time Jonah started off STRAIGHT for Nineveh, obeying God’s orders to the letter!
Now, I’d like to think Jonah was happy to be out of this fish and all skipping to preach the Gospel…kind of like…
Jonah went into Nineveh and proclaimed that the city would be smashed in 40 days! This was a HUGE city—it took three full days to walk through it. I bet when the people heard this, they kinda freaked out.
The people listened, and trusted God. They repented and fasted citywide! Everyone did it, rich and poor, famous and obscure, leaders and followers.
This is crazy to think about! Imagine a city like Los Angeles having this happen. It would look and feel crazy.
Even the King repented when he heard what was going on! He asked everyone to cry to God and turn from evil!
God saw what had happened and how the people had turned away from their evil lives and He CHANGED his mind! He didn’t do what he said he was going to do!
Essentially, they pleased God!
Jonah, part 4:
At this point, Jonah saw what had happened and became furious with God! He talked about how he knew God was a God of forgiveness and grace, and how He wouldn’t have REALLY done anything bad.
Jonah then asked God to kill him!
God was all, like, “Why so angry, Jonah?!”
Rather than explain more, Jonah just left! He walked out of the city and sulked about. He went and made a shelter in the shade. Jonah then waited to see what happened in the city.
While Jonah was chilling out, God made a tree spring up to give Jonah the shade he needed and to get him out of his sulky attitude. Jonah was pleased. Life was looking good!
But then, God sent a worm. By the next day, the worm had bored into the shade tree and withered away. The sun came up and God sent a hot, blistering wind from the east. The sun beat down on Jonah and he began to feel faint. He just wanted to die: “I’m better off dead!”
God and Jonah argued back and forth about the shade tree. Jonah just wanted to die!
And God’s all, like…
Finally, God laid the smackdown, telling Jonah he could do what he wanted with Nineveh and that it was completely okay to change from anger to pleasure as Nineveh changed its ways.
And with that, the story of Jonah abruptly ends!