I had another great opportunity to see Jonah at the Sight & Sound Theatre in Strasburg the other day. The second time I’ve seen it, but the first time with my adult grandchildren. It was great! I’m usually a lower level person, but this is a show I’m glad we were seated in the balcony. The graphics are amazing making you feel like you’re underwater, then the bellowing whale comes floating out over the audience and hangs a right just as he nears the balcony.
We all know the familiar story. A story of mercy.
God tells Jonah to go and preach to Nineveh, the wicked city. The whimpering prophet disobeys God and makes a run for it. He boards a boat filled with pagan sailors going in the opposite direction to Tarshish. The Lord sends a furious storm and Jonah bails ship.
We’re not surprised he winds up in Nineveh just as God plans, but the hard way. . . .
Jonah, the meal of the day.
His salvation experience happens during the three-day trip in the intestines of a whale. The great sea creature coughs him up, a little disheveled, with a new desire to be obedient.
Jonah finally obeys God and preaches to the wicked Ninevites. When God saw that the people repented, He changed His mind and didn’t punish them.
God’s mercy makes Jonah angry . . . he wanted Nineveh destroyed.
East of the city Jonah made a shelter for himself and sat in the shade while waiting to see what would happen to his enemies. God appoints a sheltering plant to make him more comfortable. This makes Jonah glad. Like us, happy in comfort.
Then, God appoints a worm to eat the root and the plant whithers and dies. This makes Jonah mad. Like us, unhappy when God needs to send another lesson our way.
The Lord says, “Do you think it’s right for you to be angry?”
Jonah answered, “It is right for me to be angry, and I’m so angry I could die!”
Isn’t it sad Jonah had forgotten he survived a huge fish and yet was undone by a worm?
The piece of the story that strikes me is Jonah was more concerned with his comfort than he was with a lost world. Sometimes God tells us to do something we want to run from. And sometimes He sends a whale, wind, or worm to get our attention.
A lesson I’ve learned, running away from God is like trying to separate yourself from your shadow. Can’t be done.
Have you tried to run away from God?
Is He sending you in a direction where you don’t want to go?
When my life was almost gone, I remembered the Lord. I prayed to You, and You heard my prayers in Your Holy Temple. Jonah 2:7