Last year I preached on this book, but it is only now that the Lord is opening my understanding to a key detail about what happened after Jonah disobeyed Him and decided to do his own things, to go West when God wanted Him to go East. My brother, my sister, this is a great teaching that we should all remember. Allow me to give different versions of the Bible for us to understand that it was not ‘a fish’ that swallowed Jonah:
– Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights (NIV)
– And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights (ESV)
– Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights (KJV)
My friend, do you now know what swallowed our rebellious, stubborn, disobedient brother Jonah? It was a fish provided/appointed/prepared by the Lord. My friend, the Bible tells us that when Jonah decided not to obey the Lord, he went to the port to board a ship going the opposite direction God wanted him to go (Jonah 1:3). Oh yes, God is good ! He even allowed Jonah to get to the port, to have enough money to get the ticket to get on board… and even when the wind stated on the boat, God touched the hearts of pagans to be merciful with Jonah… but when the time of the Lord came, Jonah had to make the decision: surrender to the Lord or lose his life. Indeed he was tossed out of the boat exactly where the Lord was waiting for him, since the fish that was going to swallow Jonah had been brought there by God for that purpose.
My friend, no matter what we do, when we disobey God, there is a fish waiting for the Lord’s command to swallow us. Many people end up losing their life because they refuse to surrender to the Almighty. I love the story of Jonah because it was the story the Lord used when I was called to serve Him… today I realise that, had I not surrendered immediately at that time, a fish prepared by God may have been waiting for me somewhere. My friend, obeying God is a matter of personal choice, but know that God is Sovereign and He punishes every rebellion or disobedience for our own good. I want to address those believers who continue to flirt with the world, who knowingly disobey the principles of God (you know what the Word tells you to do but you decide to take the opposite direction): beware… a fish has already been prepared on any direction you take that is opposite God’s direction, so don’t wait for the time of the Lord to surprise you, for it could then be too late. Just like Jonah, things look as if they are working the way you want right now, but know that soon or later, the Lord will show you He is the Almighty. Not to punish you, but for you not to continue in the direction that is leading you to eternal death. Let’s learn to obey the Lord and abide in Christ so that He may abide in us. Stay blessed in Jesus’ name.