In the book of Jonah, we read about one of God’s prophets who runs away from God after being commanded to prophesy to the people of Nineveh. God planned to destroy their city because of wickedness. According to chapter four, Jonah ran away from God because he knew there was a chance that the Ninevites might turn from their wickedness and be saved according to God’s mercy. Apparently Jonah hated the people of Nineveh! God was displeased with Jonah’s disobedience and caused a violent sea storm to strike his ship. The ship’s mariners threw Jonah into the sea so that the storm would subside. Then God sent a whale to swallow up Jonah where he spent three days and three nights. During his time inside the whale, Jonah repented and cried out to God for help. God caused the whale to spit Jonah out onto dry land. Afterwards Jonah obeyed God’s command to prophesy to the city of Nineveh, after which the people repented. Because of their repentance, God relented of the destruction he planned to bring upon the city. The story ends with Jonah becoming angry with God because Jonah knew that God was “slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.”
That’s why the whale from the historical account of Jonah so accurately represents the Christian’s walk with God…our lack of love for those who are lost, our proneness to wander and rebel against God’s commands, our desperate cries for help when God disciplines his children for their good, and His patient grace to bring us back to Himself when we go astray. Jonah’s time in the whale is a fitting analogy of the Christian’s need for constant sanctification and exhortation by the firm yet gentle hand of God. Many times the Christian experiences these Jonah-like periods where God teaches us through difficult tests and trials. This blog’s aim is to encourage and exhort the Christian through these “inside the whale” moments and all other stages of his walk with God. We hope you are encouraged and exhorted by the material on this blog!