The last post was about Jonah, but it was only part of this great story. Today, it’s all about a whale.
Very little is known about the whale, including if it was even a whale. The Bible simply says “great fish”. So, what was it? A sea monster that no longer lives today? A large whale? It could have even been a great fish created for the express purpose of carrying Jonah to Nineveh.
Regardless of what it was, it saved Jonah’s life. As he sank lower into the waters of the Mediterranean, the creature, whatever it was, swallowed Jonah whole and saved him from death at the bottom of the sea. Even though the whale, (I’ve dicided to call it a whale), rescued Jonah from death, that was not the whale’s purpose.
The whale was not sent to save Jonah, the whale was sent to save Nineveh.
Without Jonah, there was no messenger to carry this prophesy to the Ninevites; the message was given to Jonah. Even in saving him, God’s main concern was not his life. Not that God did not love Jonah, but God’s concern was all of the ignorant people of Nineveh who would be destroyed without a chance to repent if Jonah did not go to them.
A whale, a creature that lived beneath the waves was able to serve its Creature in a way no man ever could. The created beast was faithful to its creator when man was not. This is like the story of the Israelite judge Deborah, she was chosen to judge Israel because there were no righteous men willing to step up to the task. The whale was given the responsibility of taking God’s prophet to Nineveh.
This whale showed more faithfulness than Jonah. And all the while Jonah sat in the whale’s belly and prayed to be spared this death. He prayed that God would not forsake him in this time, Jonah repented in the face of certain demise.
This ordeal with the whale was not to save Jonah’s life. There would be no reason to save Jonah’s life had the storm not come upon the ship. It was not even to bring him to Nineveh. Jonah could have travelled by land to Nineveh. The reason Jonah spent 3 days and nights in a whale was so he could realize the situation in which the Ninevites were.
The Ninevites were condemned to certain destruction. They would die without some miraculous intervention from God. Just like Jonah, when faced with the waves and then the whale’s digestive system was faced with certain death. God was proving to him that all men, no matter what they had done against Him, deserved forgiveness and mercy.
Jonah was Nineveh, he had broken God’s laws, ran from Him, tried to hide in His own ignorance of God’s omnipotence and omnipresence. But, God humbled him, revealing his sin to him and giving Jonah a chance to repent and be saved. Through the whale, Jonah saw how closely his life parelleled to tens of thousands of people in Nineveh.
The whale taught Jonah a lesson in God’s mercy and how it was extended to the undeserving man. Don’t run until God has to use a whale to show you where you need to be; just obey the first time.
As always, thanks for reading.
–the anonymous novelist