When we last saw our friend Jonah, the reluctant evangelist, he was gasping in his first breath of oxygenated air in three days on the banks of the Euphrates River. The fish either slipped back into the H2O he was acquainted with or was dragged on shore and made into a grand feast by the natives of Nineveh. We aren’t told of his situation after he gave Jonah the ride of his life, so I’m speculating here.
Knowing human nature like I do I’m pretty sure people pulled out their cell phones and took pictures of this man with white skin and hair, that’s assuming he still had hair after three days in fish stomach acid. I don’t even want to venture a guess as to what happened to his clothes.
Somebody probably called one of the local television stations. Being a slow news day they got a team of reporters out there post haste. Hopefully someone gave Jonah some clothes to cover up his essentials before the cameras started recording.
They may have thought he was an alien from outer space when the first words out of his mouth were, “take me to your leader.”
On the walk to the palace Rachel, the blonde reporter, was full of questions. “How long were you in that fishy thingy?”
Jonah shrugged. “What day is it?”
Rachel tapped her phone screen and checked her appointment list. “It’s Thursday.”
Jonah kept slogging down the street. “Three days.”
Rachel shook her head. “How did you survive in there that long?”
Jonah glanced up. “My God.”
Rachel cleared her throat. “Yes, I should have put more emphasis in that question. My god, how did you survive three days in a belly of a huge fish?”
Jonah gave her a sideways glance. “No. I mean my God used that fish to get me here so I can deliver a message to your king.”
Rachel stared into the camera, then back at Jonah. “What message is so important that someone’s god would use a fish to transport a man here? Where are you from?”
Jonah kept walking. “I am from the people of Israel. I serve the one true God who created everything we see. He controls the wind and waves. He used a great fish to transport me here to say…” he stopped and looked directly into the camera. “You wicked Assyrians have forty day and God will overturn your capital of Nineveh.” He turned and continued his trek.
Rachel faced the camera. “There you have it folks. Fishman says his god will wipe us out in just over a month. I wonder what the king will have to say about this?” She stopped, then turned and trotted after Jonah. “If you’ve been in a fish for three days you must be hungry. Can I buy you a meal? I hear the restaurants are all having a special on fish today.”
Jonah waved a backward hand at her. “I’ve sworn off fish for the rest of my life. I’ve seen what they eat. It’s disgusting.”
There you have it, the first-hand account of what really happened when Jonah went to Nineveh–as near as I can determine it from the limited details offered in the Bible.
So, what did the king do after Jonah delivered God’s message to him? He sent out a decree that NOBODY–and I mean NOBODY–was to eat or drink anything. Even their animals couldn’t eat. I guess the mice threw a major party knowing cats couldn’t eat them (you’ll find out someday why I find humor in that gesture).
Not only that but EVERYBODY–and I mean EVERYBODY–was to wear sackcloth. Yeah, even the cows, horses and camels. I can only imagine trying to get a cat to wear sackcloth. Good luck with that.
So, what did God do when He saw their reaction to His warning? He relented and let them live.
So, what did Jonah do when he saw his efforts resulted in people living longer? He went out and threw himself a party. Tune in next time to see exactly what kind of party he gave himself. I’ll give you a hint: it was held as far away from water as he could get.
So, what news do I have for those of you reading this? The God of second chances is as alive today as He was in Jonah’s day.
That’s right, no matter what you’ve done in your past God will graciously bring you into His family if you repent of your sins and accept His gift of salvation through the atoning death of His Son Jesus.
And, for those of us who’ve done just that, God is planning a major party for us when we all get to heaven. It’s called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Trust me you don’t want to miss it for the world.
Keep smiling. Wade