The story of Jonah stands as one of the most memorable stories in the Bible. God called Moses to go and set the people free from Egypt. God called Noah and told him to build the ark. Like many people in the Bible, God called Jonah to preach to the city of Nineveh. This calling was important because if that city continued to do evil, they would be destroyed. Now Jonah’s story starts off a little different than the stories of most men of God. Instead of being like Moses and Noah and immediately obeying the voice of God, Jonah fled to the opposite direction.
Now the city of Nineveh was not like Jonah’s home town. Many horror stories had been told of the people of Nineveh, and Jonah was not interested in being a part of any future ones. Also, Nineveh and Jonah’s town had been in past wars, so to Jonah the idea of even seeing the people of Nineveh let alone caring about them was far from his mind. Seeing movies like Indiana Jones inspires us because we want to be like him: find treasure, help others, and punch Nazi’s. For Jonah to be called to preach to the Assyrians of Nineveh would be like Indiana Jones preaching to the Nazis.
Jonah found a seemingly solid boat ride in the city of Joppa. Everything looked good on the outside. Jonah paid his fare, and he was on his way to Tarshish, or was he? As they sailed along, he was sleeping a huge storm came upon the sea. Some began crying out to their gods and praying for mercy, and others began throwing some of the cargo to lighten the ship. Still the waves kept hitting, the rain kept pouring, and the sound got louder. The sailors realize that Jonah is the cause of this. After trying to save him, they have only one choice which is to throw him overboard. He hits the water and the there is silence. The storm stopped. Then the world’s first Uber arrives and takes Jonah back to Joppa. Or in other words, Jonah gets swallowed by a great fish! After three days the fish brought him back to the same city in which he made his decision to leave. He is now in the city of Joppa. This word means, “beautiful” in the Hebrew language. Isn’t it beautiful when God gives us second chances!
We are not always given second chances in this life. When you do find yourself given a second chance, be like Jonah and make it count! Jonah got back up and preached to the city and they all repented. The city was saved. One of the reasons the city of Nineveh was saved because of Jonah was thrown into the storm. Today we are saved because a greater Jonah, Jesus Christ, was thrown into a greater storm, the cross. He took upon Himself the sin of the world and we can be set free! God called Jonah and God is calling you. He has a purpose and a destiny for your life.