Somewhere along the way of life I was read the story of Jonah (probably my grandma) and all I can picture from that (childhood) memory is Jonah sitting with a little candle on a small table and him sitting at a chair inside the belly of a huge fish (Her story referred to a whale, but no one really knows for sure what kind of fish it was)… Now, I know it didn’t happen like that but the bible DOES leave a bit to the imagination for sure; as I am going through a bible study right now with Richard Bewes I sorta feel like I am right in the midst of the whole situation.
First I have to wonder why God chose Jonah out of so many people… Did he want to teach him something? of course, but what? And he had to know that Jonah would run off – Wouldn’t you think that if God had a job like telling hundreds of thousands of people to turn from their wicked ways he would choose someone he knew would actually get up and do it?. Nope, he picked Jonah who hightailed it to a boat heading the exact opposite direction, but he did tell the other boaters he was running from the Lord at some point during the boat ride -If I was on that boat I woulda got the old “deer in headlight” look with my mouth slightly opened and my eyebrows slanted down a little like I am in deep thought after hearing that.
So a great storm comes and everyone is fearful, after finding out its Jonahs fault they ask him how to make it stop – Jonah (Again, not thinking about anyone but himself) tells them to throw him over board and the seas would calm down (Yea, because he was not going to jump in himself to save the others, he would of sat there and let everyone die before he just jumped out on his own accord) He had the option to say “I will jump out of the boat and the waters will calm down, sorry for the inconvenience – but noooooo…. He stayed put. And STILL the others didn’t want to harm Jonah, how thoughtful of them – They tried to get back to land but they were getting nowhere fast, eventually they threw him overboard – The sea calmed down (Then all the men greatly feared the lord and made sacrifices/vows to him.) Looks to me like God used selfish Jonah to save those souls on that boat. I know if God had told my pastor to go to Ninevah he woulda went asap – If that woulda happened those men on the boat might of never came to believe and/or believe so strongly. You know the old adage ” two birds, one stone”? – Well, Jonah was the stone I think, he ended up getting alot of birds with that one stubborn stone as we see even more later in the story.
Now, I could sit here for several days and write about all the little details I have chewed on in just the first chapter of the book of Jonah but I wanted to see if some of you might want to chime in (If you have a little extra time) Imagine the men on the boat running into Jonah about 5 years after that incident – Whoah! God can sure use us even when we are selfish, stubborn and even running from his instructions. Awesome!