God is in total control - 8 August 2018

Neville Turley

“I am the one who made the earth and created human beings to live there.  By my power I stretched out the heavens; I control the sun, the moon, and the stars. Isaiah 45:12 (GNT)

Jonah’s departure from the ship had far reaching consequences. The storm blew out and the sea calmed. The crew realised that the God Jonah worshipped was the one true God and turned to him. The angels in heaven rejoiced at their salvation even as Jonah faced a hell of his own making.

Jonah was heading to a watery grave. However, God never desires the death of a sinner “At the Lord’s command a large fish swallowed Jonah and he was inside the fish for three days and nights.” (Jonah 1:17)

This verse is the most contentious verse in the book of Jonah. Many hours have been spent trying to analyse it’s meaning and volumes have been written about it. 

The devil has also actively used this verse to sow seeds of doubt and create disbelief in the word of God. 

What fish could possibly have swallowed a whole man? Could it have been a sperm whale? The Mediterranean Sea is the largest inland sea in the world, but was it ever the habitat of sperm whales?

Part of the confusion has been the limitation of language. In every language words can be spelt and pronounced the same and yet have different meanings. The word translated as whale in Hebrew and Greek has a wider range of meanings. It can also be translated in English as a large or great fish, a sea monster or a sea beast.

In speculating what sort of creature swallowed Jonah it is easy to overlook the gist of the whole verse.

The Lord who controlled the storm and sea that so buffeted the ship Jonah was on, is in total control of his entire creation. The Lord commands. All his creation is subject to his will.

He commanded a large fish to swallow Jonah and the fish obeyed. The fish was more obedient to the Lord than Jonah was and there is much of Jonah in all of us.  We dishonour God when we fail to obey him. That is why God sent his Son to reconcile us to himself. What love our Father has for us!

Prayer: Heavenly Father forgive us our many sins. Instruct us through your Holy Spirit to lead lives to your glory for Jesus sake. Amen

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