The Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. Jonah 2:10
Michael was diving for lobster when a humpback whale caught him in its mouth. He pushed back in the darkness as the whale’s muscles squeezed against him. He thought he was done. But whales don’t prefer lobstermen, and thirty seconds later the whale spit Michael into the air. Amazingly, Michael had no broken bones—only extensive bruises and one whale of a story.
He wasn’t the first. Jonah was swallowed by “a huge fish” (Jonah 1:17), and he stayed in its belly for three days before being vomited onto land (1:17; 2:10). Unlike Michael, who was caught by accident, Jonah was swallowed because he hated Israel’s enemies and didn’t want them to repent. When God told Jonah to preach in Nineveh, he caught a boat going the other way. So God sent a whale-sized fish to get his attention.
I appreciate why Jonah hated the Assyrians. They’d harassed Israel in the past, and within fifty years they’d carry the northern tribes into captivity where they’d vanish forever. Jonah was understandably offended that Assyria might be forgiven.
But Jonah was more loyal to the people of God than to the God of all people. God loved Israel’s enemies and wanted to save them. He loves our enemies and wants to save them. With the wind of the Spirit at our backs, let’s sail toward them with the good news of Jesus.
Who do you know that needs to follow Jesus? How might you increase your love for them?
Jesus, please show me how to love my enemies as You love them.
For further study, read Evangelism: Reaching Out Through Relationships.
That “salvation comes from the Lord” (Jonah 2:9) is a major theme which can be traced throughout Scripture. The word translated “salvation” (or “deliverance”) comes from the root yasha’ meaning “to save,” “to deliver.” In the Old Testament, God rescued His people from dangers posed by individuals, nations, or other unfavorable circumstances that threatened their well-being or existence. Exodus 14:30 highlights God’s deliverance from Egypt: “That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians.”
The salvation theme of Jonah 2:9 is similarly stated in Psalm 3:8: “Salvation comes from the Lord.” The name “Joshua” (which means “the Lord saves”) is the Hebrew form of the Greek word that’s translated “Jesus” (see Matthew 1:21). Indeed, the testimony of all Scripture is that “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Revelation 7:10).