Jonah Swallows the Whale

okieinexile

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Jonah Swallows the Whale
Jonah 3:1-5, 10
3:1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time, saying,
3:2 "Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you."
3:3 So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days' walk across.
3:4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's walk. And he cried out, "Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!"
3:5 And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.
3:10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.
/***/
There is a story that a young girl had told her teacher the story about Jonah and the whale. The teacher had said it was nonsense because a whale couldn’t possibly swallow a human.
The girl replied, “When I get to heaven, I will ask Jonah.”
“What if he didn’t go to heaven?” the teacher asked.
“Then you can ask him,” she said.
I have fond memories of the story of Jonah. It is one of the stories that my Grampa used to tell when I was a boy. He never referred to it as the story of when The Whale Swallowed Jonah but always as when Jonah Swallowed the Whale. But you have to know that Grampa didn’t say, “swallowed,” he said, “swallered”.
He knew better, of course, but when you hear the story, it is not much more ridiculous for Jonah to Swallow the whale than for the whale to swallow Jonah. Turning this around is fitting because so much about the story of Jonah itself is backwards. Jonah is the opposite of the ideal prophet. The ideal prophet is supposed to say, “Here I am,” when the Lord calls him. Jonah turns and runs the opposite way. He heads for Tarshish, which is at the opposite end of the known world.
God finally convinces him to go preach to Nineveh but has to put him through the digestive system of a whale to do it. Nineveh is the opposite place that you would expect any prophet to preach. The Ninevites are the hated oppressors. Jonah has no sympathy with them. He wants God to destroy them. You might imagine how enthusiastic he is when he goes out to tell them to repent. At the end of all this, he goes out on a hill above Nineveh and waits for God to destroy it. I’ve never seen an entire city destroyed before, but one might imagine that it would be quite a show. Maybe even better than the Super Bowl.
I can see Jonah sitting there underneath his gourd vine waiting for God to destroy the city. Maybe he had him some Doritos or maybe some Ruffles with French onion dip. He lay back underneath the gourd vine, sipping on his diet Pepsi, and waited for the show to start, but nothing happened. God did not destroy Nineveh because the people repented.
That is the miracle here. This is more amazing than a whale swallowing Jonah or Jonah swallowing a whale. For a person to decide to make a change and stick with it is something that only be done with God’s help.
There are lots of Jonahs in the world. I am a Jonah. God tells me things to do and I run the other way. I would just as soon see the evildoers destroyed than to go out and try to save them. I prize my own comfort and convenience above my fellow man’s soul.
Some of you might be Jonah’s too. That is ok. God has shown over and over again that He can work through a Jonah. He can take the least likely of any material and use it, and like the original Jonah, you don’t always have much of a choice as to whether God will use you. There is a whale out there with your name on it.
The good news is that we aren’t likely to be called to preach to Nineveh. That job has already been done, but there are other jobs that need to be done around here. There are more people that need to be introduced to Jesus. There are more people who need to be told about his wonderful life, and how he died to save us from our sins.
 
Thanks for that okie - much appreciated. :)

Hope you found it easier to use - perhaps - than the other forum software I was using. :)
 
I like that. Are you a writer? Or a preacher? It makes for interesting reading. My particular problem is that I hear the voice but not the words. I have also become confused of what Christ is or was or may yet to be. How faithfully does doctrine reflect Jesus when He rebelled against doctrine in his own time? Should we be less concerned about the nature and manner of Jesus and the Bible itself? How much can we accept and how much can we question when to dispute some passage or other as cultural inheritance means to dispute it all. That is my problem. Maybe I try to listen too hard.
 
Dave the Web said:
I like that. Are you a writer? Or a preacher? It makes for interesting reading. My particular problem is that I hear the voice but not the words. I have also become confused of what Christ is or was or may yet to be. How faithfully does doctrine reflect Jesus when He rebelled against doctrine in his own time? Should we be less concerned about the nature and manner of Jesus and the Bible itself? How much can we accept and how much can we question when to dispute some passage or other as cultural inheritance means to dispute it all. That is my problem. Maybe I try to listen too hard.

I am either a writer who preaches or a preacher who writes. I preach one Sunday a month and write a weekly column in my local newspaper.

You have more questions than I have answers. Maybe as we talk we can both learn something. :)
 
I used to hang out at an explicitly Christian message board before I got tired of the way one poster depicted the Episcopal Church, and I used to think of this story when I was told that some people were too sinful for a Christian to associate with. Some of the pagans I know, notably WHKeith and his wife, have treated me in a far more Christian manner than those Christians.

CJ
 
I always have questions. The past week was not good for me. Faith can be a brittle thing. Everything is a journey though and sometimes we step in poop.
 
Namaste okie,

thank you for the post.

you say this:

"For a person to decide to make a change and stick with it is something that only be done with God’s help."

to which i respond:

:confused:

i heartily and wholeheartedly disagree!

this would imply that all those that don't believe in the Christian God cannot change a habit and if they do, they cannot stick to the change!

this is patently false. in point of fact, i have engaged in this very thing and have succedded in many aspects all without the assistance of the Christian God. there are many, many examples of this behavior to be found in all religions and amongst all manner of people, whether religious or not.

it may be true that for a Christian, the only way for them to make a change and to stick with it is through God's direct help, but this does not apply for all beings.

i'm really quite put out by the seeming predjudice in such an assessment. hopefully, that was not your intent and i'm simply up too late this morning.. if that's the case, please accept my apology.
 
Trolling old threads..

Namaste Okie, wonderful story...

I'm thinking we've all been told to go to Ninevah (or Mosul) or someplace equally challenging...

And when we've refused we been swallered, swallered up by events, turmoil in our lives, and wondered why we had to spend time in the belly of the whale, wondered why G-d was forgetting about us...

Then eventually we remember that thing, that we were guided to do (Ninevah).

Then when we do it our ego steps upto the plate and we start to insist on our outcome...

All part of the process of life...the only questions to me are how Jonah got off so lightly...usually takes most of us much more than three days in darkness before we realize that the light is our choice...that and how many times do we need to get swallered?
 
First time I've seen you out and about Okie...very glad to see that. Thanks for the input. ;)

v/r

Q
 
Vaj,

In Christianity we ask Christ to help us overcome something, so we don't have to do it alone.

Once a sick track runner had to take 5th place (and his team members had to take 1st and 3rd), in order to win the Regional meet. The Coach knew the runner was sick, but had no one else to take his place. The coach said do the best you can. The runner did not have it in him, but would give the effort, but he prayed to the Lord "I can't do this alone."

The gun sounded and the race was on. The sick runner was in dead last up to the last 50 meters of the race. He thought, "Lord it is now or never", and the rain stopped and a wind reared up from behind him and literally pushed him forward, while other runners began pulling muscles and stumbling.

He who would be last crossed the line first, followed by the top runner and the second runner. The team took 1st, 2nd and 3rd, and won the meet and the regional championship. When asked how he did it, he said the wind at the end helped. They all looked at him strangely and asked how a head wind could help any runner...he said "what head wind, it was pushing me from behind".

Mine is the one on the right...

v/r

Q
 

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I know this is fairly old... But I was really curious to why would god help someone win a race? What benefit is there?
Well the runner was full of self doubt at the time of the race. And his team had doubts about him as well. So he took a chance with what his mother had told him, and that was to call on God when all is in doubt.

Winning the race did three things. It made the team rethink their position on the runner rethink his own position, and it made the runner start to think about God in a more serious and personal way.

One could say the end of the race was the beginning of the journey through life that the runner would take with God.;)

v/r

Joshua
 
I still don't get it.... Like what did god have a bet on the race? I can see where you're coming from but I can't see why god could be bothered.... He'll help some guy win a race... Yet, he'll also allow people to starve, be murdered, raped, mugged, threatened... and so on.. Good call god.. I would say... He took his ass out of his hands and dug his toes in and worked... But, if we go by god made him win the race... That is cheating, and unfair, he was clearly not as good as the others, the person who came second deserved the gold.... Not the person at the back. Now the person who should have won will be filled with doubt and sadness instead, he hasn't eliminated that factor. Are we not meant to be seen as equals? This was without doubt a show of favourtisim...
 
That is the miracle here. This is more amazing than a whale swallowing Jonah or Jonah swallowing a whale. For a person to decide to make a change and stick with it is something that only be done with God’s help.
There are lots of Jonahs in the world. I am a Jonah. God tells me things to do and I run the other way. I would just as soon see the evildoers destroyed than to go out and try to save them. I prize my own comfort and convenience above my fellow man’s soul.
Some of you might be Jonah’s too. That is ok. God has shown over and over again that He can work through a Jonah. He can take the least likely of any material and use it, and like the original Jonah, you don’t always have much of a choice as to whether God will use you. There is a whale out there with your name on it.
The good news is that we aren’t likely to be called to preach to Nineveh. That job has already been done, but there are other jobs that need to be done around here. There are more people that need to be introduced to Jesus. There are more people who need to be told about his wonderful life, and how he died to save us from our sins.


Hi
The story of the little girl is very interesting. In fact the whole OP is fascinating and I really enjoyed it in full, except the last sentence with which I do not agree, please excuse me. My views are:
I first quote from:
A Hebrew - English Bible
According to the Masoretic Text, and the JPS 1917 Edition
Jonah Chapter 3
1 And the LORD prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
2 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly.
8 When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; and my prayer came in unto Thee, into Thy holy temple.
9 They that regard lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
10 But I will sacrifice unto Thee with the voice of thanksgiving; that which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is of the LORD.
11 And the LORD spoke unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
Jonah Chapter 3
1 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying:
2 'Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and make unto it the proclamation that I bid thee.'
3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city, of three days' journey.
Unquote
As our Christian friends believe and as per the NTBible of Christians, JesusYeshuaIssa opted to show a great sign to the Jews of that time. He himself chose to make it parallel with the Sign of Jonah; he was not under any compulsion from the Jews to specifically show a repetition of the Sign of Jonah, he could have described it without this binding. Even the Christians believe that Jesus was a Jew, yet he preferred to describe it like Jonah, in this way in my opinion, he wanted to show his greatest sign for the Jews of that period as also to bind his followers to OTBible firmly, lest his followers go astray or get mislead and get deviated to others concepts as Paul did exactly, for which there was a forewarning from Jesus.
Paul founded a new religion, in my opinion, and attributed it to Christ to disguise himself. Paul misused Book of Jonah and used it only to cover up his own ideas as he did with many other verses of OTBible. Paul made following tenets of his religion.
1. Heredity of sins, sacrificing son cruelly, atonement of sins, savior-ship of Jesus.
2. Rising from the physical dead.
3. Jesus is physical Son of God.
4. Jesus is physical GodYHWH.
5. Physical ascension of Jesus to skies, sitting on right hand of God, taking charge from God, and becoming God himself, and trinity, all foreign to Judaism.
If we stick to the Book of Jonah, all these tenets get lost.
One of my friends has truly, in my opinion, summed up lessons from Jonah:
1) G-d loves all human beings.
2) All human beings sin.
3) G-d desires repentance for that sin.
4) Sometimes G-d changes His mind; because His children change their behavior (God changes the punishment because the people reformed themselves which is the purpose).
I suggested an extension of the point number three above. It appears that Jonah made a mistake or some would say he sinned. Then he offered no sacrifice but only made a genuine repentance which was accepted by GodAllahYHWH and he was forgiven and saved, without needing any other savior.
Our Jewish friends our Christian friends, in my opinion ,have confirm that Jonah was alive in the belly of the fish, though he was weak and full recovery took many days we don’t know how many days it took. When Jonah got recovered so that he could make a journey to his people towards whom he was assigned as Messenger of God, then he went to them to preach them.
My submission is that Jesus could have simply said that he would rise from the dead on Cross and then he would ascend to skies and become God, which he could never say as he was a Jew and believed as Judaism believes.
He therefore bound it with Jonah and hence we get following results.
1. Jonah being a Jew believed in ONENESS of GodAllahYHWH, so believed JesusYeshua, without any doubt and ifs and buts.
2. Jonah was alive before he went into the belly of the fish. So was Jesus alive before Crucifixion, when he was put on Cross Jesus was alive. When he was delivered from Cross he was alive; he was alive when he was laid in the tomb. Please note that we are still considering the position when Jonah had not been devoured by the fish. The parallel made by Jesus going into the belly of earth or tomb has not started yet. Jonah was alive so was Jesus alive.
3. Jonah was alive all the time he was in the belly of the fish. If there was any parallel or similarity Jesus must be alive any number of days he remains in the tomb. Jonah must have struggled between unconsciousness and consciousness sometimes fainting sometimes recovering in the belly of the fish during the period of three days and three nights , we suppose, so must be Jesus struggling from unconsciousness to gain consciousness (say opened his eyes) from near-dead to life to fulfill the period of three days and three nights.
4. There is no stipulation in the Book of Jonah for full recovery of Jonah, as to how many days he took. Similarly, Jesus was free for recovery of his wounds and injuries inflicted upon him on Cross by Romans, which may take a week or a fortnight or a month, no binding in the original passage of Jonah. Jesus could take as many days as he thought he was able to embark upon his journey to Galilee. All along Jesus was alive and this exposes Paul’s faulty conclusions/concepts as mentioned above.
5. Jonah went to his people after the incident of fish to fulfill his assignment from GodAllahYHWH, so must Jesus go to the lost tribes of Israel, out of Jerusalem to fulfill his assignment from GodAllahYHWH.
This is just a deep NTBible study in the light of the OTBible. Do my friends agree with this?
Thanks
I am an Ahmadi – a peaceful faith in Islam
 
I still don't get it.... Like what did god have a bet on the race? I can see where you're coming from but I can't see why god could be bothered.... He'll help some guy win a race... Yet, he'll also allow people to starve, be murdered, raped, mugged, threatened... and so on.. Good call god.. I would say... He took his ass out of his hands and dug his toes in and worked... But, if we go by god made him win the race... That is cheating, and unfair, he was clearly not as good as the others, the person who came second deserved the gold.... Not the person at the back. Now the person who should have won will be filled with doubt and sadness instead, he hasn't eliminated that factor. Are we not meant to be seen as equals? This was without doubt a show of favourtisim...

...and the winner of the race, with new found confidence goes on to join the military (but not just any branch), the life saving branch, and then goes on to make it a carreer, and in doing so, personally saves hundreds of lives, but collectively helps to save thousands upon thousands of lives, rebuild schools and town halls, churches, assist new democracies with their fledging life saving services (something they never conceived of before), stop hundreds of thousands of kilos of drugs from getting to Europe or the US, raised kids who grew up winners and contributors to society and volunteers for the needy...

...all because God granted one race to one doubting runner, and whispered "I can help you anywhere, anytime, just look to me, and give me credit."

Been running winning races and giving credit where credit is due ever since...:D

v/r

Joshua
 
You're the one responsible for my delayed delivery on Saturday eh!? Lemmy at him1$!£$

Heh, anyhow.. You can understand surley where my doubt comes into that right?
And if those like me weren't there...how much more "dope" would be in the streets? I make no apologies for stopping drugs (or attempting to). I'd man the new machine guns in US Coast Guard helicopters (which have never been for the past 50 years), in order to stop this crap.

Wait until you see the new Berthol class Cutter (comissioned), with it's two over the horizon fast boats, with 50 cal machine guns...capacity for two armed Coast Guard helicopters...105 MM cannon 20 mm guns, and MK 49 launchers...

Uncle Sam is playing for keeps here. We used to be life savers. Now we are Coast Guardsmen...sad state of affairs.
 
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