I AM A REFUGEE. WHO IS MY REFUGE? JONAH’S STORY
I left India on January 10, 1984, in search of my Refuge, in my quest to reach the Final Destination of my Life. I need Protection. I need Shelter. I need the Sanctuary. I need the Grace, Mercy, and Compassion of the Power which can grant me Asylum. I am a Refugee without Refuge.
Prophet Jonah was caught up in the belly of a giant fish or the Whale just for three days. He prayed to God and God relented to release Jonah at the destination God has chosen.
Just like Jonah, I am caught up in the belly of a giant fish or the Whale with no Freedom and no Free Will. I live but I survive as a Prisoner, a mere Slave, a Servant, and a Serf who lives without any choice of his own.
Just like Jonah, I declare, “In God We Trust,” the National Motto of a Superpower, a Giant among the Free Nations of the World. Salvation comes from the LORD. If I must preach God’s message to my Enemy, I ask God to release me on the shores of my Enemy’s Territory. I am just a Slave in a Free Country and I have no Freedom to move on my own accord.
SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE
Jonah and the Whale: Larger-Than-Life Lessons
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The story of Jonah and the Whale, one of the oddest accounts in the Bible, opens with God speaking to Jonah, son of Amittai, commanding him to preach repentance to the city of Nineveh.
Jonah found God’s order unbearable. Not only was Nineveh known for its wickedness, but it was also the capital of the Assyrian empire, one of Israel’s fiercest enemies. Jonah, a stubborn fellow, did just the opposite of what he was told. He went down to the seaport of Joppa and booked passage on a ship to Tarshish, heading directly away from Nineveh. The Bible tells us Jonah “ran away from the Lord.”
In response, God sent a violent storm, which threatened to break the ship to pieces. The terrified crew cast lots, determining that Jonah was responsible for the storm. Jonah told them to throw him overboard. First, they tried rowing to shore, but the waves got even higher. Afraid of God, the sailors finally tossed Jonah into the sea, and the water immediately grew calm. The crew made a sacrifice to God, swearing vows to him.
Instead of drowning, Jonah was swallowed by a great fish, which God provided. In the belly of the whale, Jonah repented and cried out to God in prayer. He praised God, ending with the eerily prophetic statement, “Salvation comes from the Lord.” (Jonah 2:9, NIV)
Jonah was in the giant fish for three days. God commanded the whale, and it vomited the reluctant prophet onto dry land. This time Jonah obeyed God. He walked through Nineveh proclaiming that in forty days the city would be destroyed. Surprisingly, the Ninevites believed Jonah’s message and repented, wearing sackcloth and covering themselves in ashes. God had compassion on them and did not destroy them.
Again Jonah questioned God because Jonah was angry that Israel’s enemies had been spared. When Jonah stopped outside the city to rest, God provided a vine to shelter him from the hot sun. Jonah was happy with the vine, but the next day God provided a worm that ate the vine, making it wither. Growing faint in the sun, Jonah complained again.
God scolded Jonah for being concerned about a vine, but not about Nineveh, which had 120,000 lost people. The story ends with God expressing concern even about the wicked.
2 Kings 14:25, The Book of Jonah, Matthew 12:38-41, 16:4; Luke 11:29-32.
Points of Interest
- God commands everything in his Creation, from the weather to a whale, to carry out his plan. God is in control.
- Jonah spent the same amount of time—three days—inside the whale as Jesus Christ did in the tomb. Christ also preached salvation to the lost.
- It’s not important whether it was a great fish or a whale that swallowed Jonah. The point of the story is that God can provide a supernatural means of rescue when his people are in trouble.
- Some scholars believe the Ninevites paid attention to Jonah because of his bizarre appearance. They speculate that the whale’s stomach acid bleached Jonah’s hair, skin, and clothing a ghostly white.
- Jesus did not consider the book of Jonah to be a fable or myth. While modern skeptics may find it impossible that a man could survive inside a great fish for three days, Jesus compared himself to Jonah, showing that this prophet existed and that the story was historically accurate.
Question for Reflection
Jonah thought he knew better than God. But in the end, he learned a valuable lesson about the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness, which extends beyond Jonah and Israel to all people who repent and believe. Is there some area of your life in which you are defying God, and rationalizing it? Remember that God wants you to be open and honest with him. It’s always wise to obey the One who loves you most.