When I hear the name Jonah I think about a prophet with a book named after him in the Old Testament of the Bible. As one reads the story of Jonah, awareness occurs that God gave Jonah a mission to travel to Ninevah to deliver news of God’s displeasure with the Ninevites. The message he was to deliver was that neighboring adversaries would destroy Ninevah because of their wicked ways.
As you read the story, you see very quickly that Jonah, God’s prophet, was not pleased with the mission God placed before him. As you read on in the Bible, Jonah went on the run – he went to the local seaside port and boarded a ship heading to Tarshish – in the opposite direction of Ninevah. While sailing along, God becomes displeased with Jonah for being disobedient. God delivers a great storm upon the vessel, and the sailors become suspicious that Jonah may somehow be the cause. Out of concern for the mariners taking him on this journey, Jonah advised them to throw him overboard so that God would spare them from the storm.
Jonah is thrown from the boat into the sea, and the Scripture records that a giant fish swallowed Jonah, and yet, no harm coming to Jonah. Jonah calls out to God while in the belly of the fish and offers a fairly extensive prayer acknowledging how low he had sunk. At the Lord’s command, the giant fish vomits Jonah out, and he returns to dry ground and heads to Ninevah to complete the mission God placed before him.
As I ponder this story, I wonder if God had placed Jonah in timeout for his disobedience. After Jonah realized the error of his ways and agreed to complete the mission God had set before him, God released Jonah from his imprisonment in the belly of a fish. I wonder if God does the same thing to His followers in this day and time. Have there been times in your life where you recognize that God placed a mission before you but placed you in a sort of “timeout” until you were willing to complete the Spirit-led task before you? I know this idea sounds fishy, pun intended, and perhaps you agree. However, it is something we ought to consider.
Many blessings to you!