Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah
Have ever felt like there was a distance between you and God? A distance that made you uncomfortable? Or maybe it’s just that you have this overwhelming sense that something is missing from your life and that there has to be something more. There is something in the bible that might help. And it’s a whopper of a fish story. Interested?
There are sixty-six books in the bible and perhaps the most polarizing is the Book of Jonah. You might remember the story. Jonah is a prophet of God who has served faithfully in the past, but he balks at his next assignment. Rather than do what God has asked, evangelize the hated city of Nineveh, Jonah jumps on a ship heading in the opposite direction. His clear and unambiguous intention is to get as far away as possible from the place God was sending him. But God has a very unique way of bringing Jonah back to the task at hand. This is where the Book of Jonah gets its reputation as just a big fish story. This is where the story becomes polarizing among believers. For some folks, the Book of Jonah is an historical account of a wayward prophet. For others, Jonah is a metaphor or a parable some ancient rabbi used to teach a timeless truth. That polarization comes from whether or not the mode of transportation God used to place a prophet back on the path was really a big fish, the inside of which served as Jonah’s home for three days. This debate has been a distraction that has minimized the lessons Jonah has to teach. How unfortunate! You see, the Book of Jonah is so much more than a whopper of a fish story. It has a lot to say about the subject of obedience. But even that’s not the main point of the story. The main point of the story is that God will go to extremes to draw people back to Himself – all people! From pagan Ninevites to a disobedient prophet named Jonah and even 21st century Americans.
That’s right! God is still going to extremes to bring people back to Himself. That’s what Easter is all about. You could even say that Jonah is a precursor to the Easter story. Jonah went reluctantly; Jesus went willingly. So, if you’ve ever felt distant from God, especially if you’re feeling that way right now, we have an invitation for you: Sunday, March 10th marks the beginning of a sermon series designed to help people find their way back to God, past, present or future. We hope you can join us.
Either way, blessings to you and yours in this upcoming Easter season,