Of all the stories in the Bible, I think people probably ridicule Jonah’s story more than any other.
The name Jonah calls to mind the story of him being swallowed by a so-called whale. However, the Bible actually never says that a “whale” swallowed Jonah. Maybe one did.
Yet the term the Bible uses for the creature that swallowed Jonah is “a great fish” (Jonah 1:17 NKJV). Another translation is “sea monster.” This may have been a creature that exists today, like a whale, or it may have been a one-off creation that God made just to accommodate Jonah. Perhaps it was a sea creature that’s now extinct.
Whatever it was, I really don’t think it’s a big deal, quite honestly, because there are only three verses in the Bible about this massive fish. That is not the focus of this story, but it plays a part in the story.
The focus of the book of Jonah is not about the whale or the great fish; it’s about God. We spend too much time talking about the great fish and not enough time talking about the great God of the story.
Here’s the real message of Jonah: God gives second chances.
Sin is a downer, and whenever you’re running from God, you’re going down. First Jonah went down to Joppa, then he went down into the ship, and then he went down into the sea. And then he went down into the fish’s belly, which went down to the depths of the sea.
Sin will take you farther than you want to go, it will keep you longer than you want to stay, and it will cost you more than you want to pay.
Still, God gave Jonah a second chance. And because Jonah finally got around to obeying Him, probably the greatest spiritual awakening in human history took place.
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