Jonah was a prophet that was greatly used by God to deliver a message of repentance, grace, mercy, and love to the city of Nineveh. Jonah adored Israel. However, the Ninevites belonged to the Assyrians and they despised Israel—God’s chosen people. This made Jonah despise what they were doing even more.
Many times, out of our stubbornness and fear—we tend not to do what God tells us to and run in the opposite direction. Jonah’s disobedience led him straight into the belly of a big fish—which was a “holding place” or a “time out” for him to seek repentance for running away from God. God did this, so Jonah would obey what the Lord had asked him to do. In essence, God got his attention, so he can get on the right course and bring Nineveh to a place of repentance and obedience for the sin in their land. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” (Matthew 28)
Disobedience can lead to lamenting prayers that eventually leads to deliverance as did in Jonah’s case.
The Lord always desires to prepare a way for our eventual freedom from disobedience. Unfortunately, many do not follow His lead and it lands us into big trouble—as it did with Jonah. “Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Then Jonah prayed to the LORD because of my affliction. And He answered me. “Out of the belly of Sheol I cried And You heard my voice. For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods surrounded me; All Your billows and Your waves passed over me. Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’ (Jonah 2:1-10)
Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the fish which, I can only imagine—was a horrible stench we would not want to smell even for a minute and he needed to endure it for three days and nights, but by doing so—he was in a place he could not escape and forced to take a very hard look at the real reason why he found himself in the situation he was in. Very often God gets us in a place that we have nowhere to go, so we fall to our knees and plead with Him to get us out of our mess. God wants us to be sincere in our saying sorry and hopes us to make a complete turn-around.
Sin and disobedience eventually, leads to deliverance if the one trapped in sin is truly repentant and sincere about surrendering their will to God’s purpose & plan.
Jonah’s story is a great lesson for us in teaching that disobedience leads to consequences—obedience leads to deliverance & God’s everlasting love provides much needed forgiveness.