Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm…But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights (Jonah 1:15-17).
Was it real? Is Scripture literal here?
Well, the theotechnical answer would be…yeppers.
In Matthew 12, Jesus said, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Yeah, so, apparently Jesus believed it.
That’ll work for me.
What amazes me—apart from, you know, being in a fish for three days and living to tell the tale (tail?)—is that God provided rescue in the midst of discipline. I mean, God could have let Jonah drown—he deserved it—and then raised up someone else to preach to the Ninevites. But God’s message of judgment, repentance, and mercy was played out in Jonah’s life before he ever even got to Nineveh.
Also worth noting is that Jonah did not experience that provision—that grace—until he accepted responsibility for his sin and stepped out in faith and obedience. Perhaps the fish was there the entire time, but Jonah didn’t see it until he hit the water.
Last thought: did you notice that Jonah did not throw himself into the sea? He knew what needed to be done, and he was willing, but it seems that the idea of leaping into the raging storm was a little much for him. Spirit willing, flesh weak—that sort of thing. I’m kinda glad about that.
It makes me think that there may be hope for us yet.
Happy Wednesday, Beloved.