The story of Jonah and the big fish (note that the Bible doesn’t specifically say it was a whale) is one of the most familiar stories in the Bible, one that is known even by people who don’t know the Bible very well. But there is more to the story of Jonah than just that one event. For the book of Jonah provides us with the message that God’s love extends beyond His chosen people to encompass anyone who chooses to repent and change their ways.
There are some mysteries about the prophet Joel and his ministry.
After Jonah’s incident with the big fish, which follows his attempt to evade God’s call for him to go and preach repentance to the Ninevites, he finds that his preaching is surprisingly successful. The much-despised people of Nineveh take his message seriously. They repent and mourn their sin, so God spares Nineveh from the judgment He had planned. Interestingly, Jonah isn’t too happy about this. In fact, he is angry that God has shown mercy to these pagan people. God’s response? He rebukes Jonah and reveals His intention to offer grace and mercy to all who will call on Him.
So, the time to repent was now.
The book of Jonah is a good reminder that being a follower of God doesn’t mean that we are in an elite club that is closed to others. No, the mercy and goodness of God extend to all who call upon Him. Ultimately, the book of Jonah is less about the actions of the reluctant prophet than the character of God, which is reflected by His grace.
Here’s a short video that highlights five key themes from the book of Jonah. May you be blessed by it.