“Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”
Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah.
We come now to the first thing that God “prepared” in the book of Jonah. The idea of “prepared” is appoint, order. God does not relinquish His sovereignty over His creatures. So He appointed a fish for His purpose and providence. Sometimes God uses ordinary means for His purposes and sometimes He uses extraordinary means. He could have sent a ship going back to Joppa but He chose a fish.
Da 1:5, “And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king.”This fish was not a whale but a “great fish.”
The fish may have been a specially created fish for the occasion. It was God’s grace to seek out His disobedient prophet and not allow him to remain in rebellion.
And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights
The fish retained Jonah for “three days and three nights.” This is a type of Christ. Christ Himself used it in this way. Christ is the antitype of Jonah in the belly of the fish for three days and nights. The fish brought Jonah back to the coast of Israel and emitted him on the shore.
We need to recognize and respond to God’s sovereign providences in our lives.
If a dog bites a man, that is not news; but when a man bites a dog, that is news. When a man catches a fish, that is not news; but when a fish catches a man, that is news! Most of us take fish stories with a grain of salt because fishermen tend to exaggerate their exploits. There is a tendency to discount their stories. However, the One who tells this story is God Himself. That automatically excludes exaggeration, for God cannot lie. Moreover, Jesus Himself vouches for the truth of this story in Matthew 12. The story of Jonah illustrates the death and resurrection of Christ. We encroach on the credibility of Christ if we say that Jonah is a myth.
God prepared a particular fish for Jonah at a specific time – He maneuvered the right fish at the right time into position: “Calling fish number 1,509,889; come to longitude 37 degrees, latitude 34 degrees and pick up a renegade prophet.” The fish obeyed! He was at the right latitude and longitude at the right time! This is one of the great fish stories of all time. The fish swallowed him whole, brought him back, and emitted him on the shore of Israel. This fish obeyed better than Jonah. I don’t know if Jonah gave the fish indigestion or not! The digestive juices must have been awful for Jonah.
May God grip our hearts in obeying the Great Commission.