Let's start with a quick word association. I say, "Jonah," you say ____?
Yeah, whale, no surprise there!
The part of the story told in the first chapter of Jonah is so fantastical that it's become the story. It's just so unlike what we read in the rest of the prophets we can't help but get stuck by one verse that lights up our imagination. Think about what God asked Hosea to do and how he obeyed. Jonah needed Hosea as a mentor. He had no doubt that God had spoken to him and he responded by going in the opposite direction "to get away from the Lord." (1:3)
It's important to remember that the Jonah story doesn't end with a fish spitting him up on the beach. That's only the beginning. There is so much happening in the next three chapters. He continues to struggle with God's decisions and His sovereignty. Jonah can't help but see how God's amazing mercy will make him look (like a false prophet) and how it could strengthen an enemy of Israel.
Even though God walks Jonah through a series of object lessons, we're not sure how it ended for him. One thing is certain, the pictures of death and resurrection along with the constancy of God's unmerited grace are vivid. Jesus referenced Jonah's story as the only sign we need to believe in Him.
So, of course, for us there are hidden treasures to be mined. In this powerful story of rebirth, struggle, second chances and mercy there is a lot to meditate on. I'm looking forward to unpacking this story with you on Sunday!
See you then,