Jonah – The Saga Continues!
Last week we left off with Jonah calling it quits. He would rather go into the sea and drown than to go to where the LORD, the creator of the sea and the dry land, has sent him. God says one thing, and we do another. I liken Jonah at this point to an upset kid who’s been grounded and continues to dig the hole deeper. He just doesn’t know when to quit and to listen and to say, “Sorry.” Instead, he picks up the metaphorical shovel, throws his entire weight behind it, and flings himself into the sea to sink into the pit he has created for himself.
And I can relate. Listening to God can be trying, and hard, and exasperating. It’s almost like searching the unknown for direction. It can seem easier to choose the path that we know in spite of it being a broken one than to listen to a God who calls us to our own intimidating and internal Ninevehs. And yet, that’s where God calls us. To Nineveh.
And so Jonah would rather die than live. He is guilty of being disobedient to God in the same way that Adam and Eve were at the Fall, and you and I are every time we place our own will before God’s. And maybe this drowning is what we deserve. This thing that Jonah has done for himself, maybe that’s what we deserve too.
And yet God desires life for us. When Jonah is sinking into his own stuff and literally drowning in it, God “provides a large fish to swallow Jonah up.”
I love that scripture here reads, “Provides.” I think that it really captures the sense of what is going down here and, yes, that pun was intended. We are drowning and God will not let go of us. The LORD, the God of heaven, who created the sea and the dry land, in all of that majesty and grandeur cares about you and me, even as we are broken and rebellious. And so God sends life to us.
God in this story has seen the fallen-ness of “that great city” of Nineveh and had sent Jonah to cry out against it so it might be redeemed. When Jonah runs away and was just as rebellious – and probably like Nineveh deserves death – God sends a fish to give Jonah redemption. God sends life to us.
There is a theme here, I think.
Even as we run from God, or put ourselves before God, or would rather drown in our own stuff than live into God, – God comes to us in redemption and life. And it could be as a disgruntled prophet, or as a large fish, or in Christ Jesus, – but God provides always and God never lets go of us.