Today’s Reading: The book of Jonah
First a word of celebration
I have waited 5 months, and 20 days for today! As we have been reading through the Bible chronologically I have been waiting for the day that we can read the prophets in their proper place in the history of Israel. Today, we read about King Jeroboam II and his restoration of the traditional borders of Israel (northern kingdom). Jonah was a contemporary of King Jeroboam. With a chronological reading plan we read the stories of these two men on the same day. Over the next three months we will get to read all the prophets in their right time in history, not later, stuck in the end of the Old Testament.
Was it a whale or not?
Every kid that ever went to Sunday school knows that Jonah was swallowed by a whale and lived in the belly of the whale for three days. Well, guess what – we don’t know that. the text does not say whale. The idea that it was a whale came about as man’s attempt to reason and explain how it happened. The Hebrew word in the original text was dag, which means fish, not whale.
Why do we do this – attempt to reason away the power of God? Earlier (The Secret Things of God II) we read about the sun standing still for a few hours so a battle could continue. There again men try to explain it as a scientific phenomenon. Why can’t we just accept that God made it so.
The key to getting to accept these types of things comes from our own understanding about who God is. Is God a god who is capable of making a fish big enough to swallow a man whole and to allow that man to survive for three days? If God is a god who is omnipotent, all powerful – then your answer has to be “Yes”. It goes to reason, if God is powerful enough to have created the whole universe, the world within, all the plants and animals and you and I, then he can do anything. It comes with being called omnipotent.
A Consistent God
Through the book of Jonah we see how personal and detailed is God’s involvement in the situation of Jonah. In the reading today, we see how God’s personal involvement shows up in a regular fashion.
1:4 – But the Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm
1:17 – Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah.
2:10 – Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.
3:10 – When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.
4:6 – And the Lord God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head, shading him from the sun.
4:7 – But God also arranged for a worm!
4:8 – God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah.
What we are reading here is about the personal involvement of a personal God in the life of one of his children. It does not read – “A storm happened to be going on” or “a rather large fish happened by at that exact moment” or “a plant suddenly, without reason appeared”. No it says God arranged for it. God was in control the whole time. God makes it happen.
Why? Because He is an omnipotent, all powerful God who wants to be personally involved in our lives. We just have see how He is personally involved by opening our eyes and looking around us.