Last week I had breakfast with a friend and we randomly happened to talk about recurring dreams. Until about age 35, this man had had a recurring dream, which he really had not told many about, because it seemed odd to him. In the recurring dream, he was standing right in front of the big open mouth of a whale!
We decided to consider – Why?
Well…we know from the Bible that happened to Jonah.
Why did it happen to Jonah?
God said to Jonah, “‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.’
But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.” Jonah 1:2-3
Tarshish was not only the opposite direction from Nineveh (modern-day Mosul, Iraq, where God had told him to go), but it was the farthest place in the known world. So God tells Jonah to do something important, and not only did Jonah run away from God, but also he went to the farthest place he could.
It would be understandable that Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh. The Ninevites were horrible. The city in Nahum 3:1 is described as the city of bloodshed. The people there were the ISIS of their day. But the Bible tells us in Chapter 4, the last chapter of Jonah, why Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh. Jonah did not want God to forgive them. Entitled in my NIV Bible as “Jonah’s Anger at the Lord’s Compassion”, Jonah says that is why he tried to flee to Tarshish, because, “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.”
In sailing toward Tarshish, “God sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up.” The sailors tried and tried, but inevitably had to do what Jonah said and throw him overboard to calm the storm. “Now the Lord provided a huge fish (whale) to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly…3 days and 3 nights. Jonah prayed to the Lord, his God, ending with a vow that he will make good,(do what God asks and go to Nineveh) and say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.” Jonah 1:17-2:1,9 parenthesis added.
“God commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.” Jonah 2:10 “Jonah obeyed God and went to Nineveh” telling them that in 40 days, Nineveh would be destroyed. “The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.” Jonah 3:3,5 Sackcloth was like burlap and worn for repentance. Everyone was to urgently call on God and give up their evil ways and their violence in hopes God would relent and spare them, which God did. Jonah 3:9-10
God’s love letter to you says, “You are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works that God prepared in advance for you to do.” Ephesians 2:10. But we do not have to do those good works. It is our choice.
What do you choose?
To run from God in all or some areas of your life…
Into the belly of the whale? or
To go to your “Nineveh” and tell them