Summary: Jonah is tossed overboard expecting to die but is saved by a Whale. In this verse, Jonah serves as a type of Christ in the many simalarities of these two men.
Jonah has now, at last, been tossed over. The Sea grows quiet, the sailors pray to God, He hears their pleas, pardons them and they offer up a sacrifice to Him. It took a little bit of time for these things to transpire, but when they did, God was glorified. Jonah had at last run out of places to run from his calling. There were no other options open for him.
Earlier, he told the sailors to cast him overboard and all would be fine. Evidently, he did not expect to live once he would be tossed into the Sea. I wonder if he was ready to meet God and take what was coming to him from the hand of the Devine. I wonder if Jonah was just as surprised as was everyone else when they saw the great fish (or as Jesus called it, “A whale“) swim along side the boat and swallow Jonah. I wonder if he was the one who was surprised the most. He went sailing over the side of the boat, heading for his death when he was met by some type of creature that had to be waiting on him. Meeting this creature convinced him that there was no other place to run and he could not escape the great fish by out swimming it to shore. He was helpless and when the great fish swallowed him, he knew that he was a trapped man. God had, at last, won the day and Jonah was now at the mercy of a great fish and not his fellow human beings. It was one thing to converse with men who could talk to him-it was now a different story to be lost inside of a great fish and deciding to talk to God.
It is peculiar how far man will go to get away from God’s call. Some just ignore the call and go their merry way. Others try to masquerade their feelings and pretend that all is okay. However, God will have the last word-He always does. And, when He decides to corner a person regarding one’s call to obedience-He arranges events and circumstances so that the rebellious person has to contemplate what he should do to obey God. For some, the time to obey God perishes quickly; for others, there seems to be ample opportunity to “redeem the time” and do something good for our Lord. Jonah was of that latter group.
As I study the last verse of chapter one, I see three things. I note the CREATURE itself. Then, I note the CLERGYMAN and what happened to him. I conclude the verse and my sermon, by studying some CORRELATIVES between Jonah and Jesus.
I. CREATURE: The debate over the water animal in the story of Jonah has raged for centuries. Some say it was a whale which was big enough to swallow a human being. To bolster their point, some have said that there has been found, in the belly of a whale, the remains of a whole human being which was swallowed by the whale. Others have said that a whale could not possibly have swallowed a human being due to the size of its throat being too restricted for such an event. The debate continues. Whether it was a whale or not, some type of marine life showed itself at the correct time and consumed Jonah. I do know that Jesus called it “a whale” and He believed it to be true-that is all I need.
What I do believe is that this animal was Created by God. I also am of the persuasion to think that this animal could have been divinely created at that time just for the purpose of taking care of God’s servant. I believe that God created the heavens and the earth and I also believe that He has the power to create anything He wants to create, whenever He wants to create something. For me to believe that God would no longer create anything else after He created the heavens and the Earth would be for me to place a limitation on Him in my heart and mind. I cannot do that. I believe that He can create and He could have created this “great fish/a whale” if He so chose to do so.
I also believe that this “great fish” was under the divine Control of God when it sailed up next to the ship. I note that this “great fish” did not eat Jonah, but swallowed him whole. This animal could have been hungry or full but what ever the situation was with this “great fish/whale” it never took one bite out of Jonah; it never tore him limb from limb, but swallowed him whole. This is indeed a miracle. What large animal would dare to swallow a man whole without first trying to masticate it? I believe that this “great fish/whale” was created just for the purpose of taking care of Jonah and I believe that this entity was under God’s control for not devouring Jonah.