I read the book of Jonah today. I'm plowing through the Old Testament these days, reading books I've never really read before. Like Obediah and Amos. I have mixed feelings about the Old Testament. While I've learned so much about God and His people, I have to admit I don't understand much of what's going on. Like all the prophecies in Daniel, Ezekiel and Isaiah. I don't know enough about history to know how the prophecies have been fulfilled, or which ones are still to come. I do know the Romans destroyed the temple in A.D. 70, but that's the only 'fact' that seems to stick in my brain. All the stuff about Babylon and other invaders like Syria, etc., just won't stay with me.
Anyhoo, I was reading Jonah today. Like most kids who attended Sunday School, I heard the 'whale' story a lot. In a nutshell, God told Jonah to do something (go to the city of Nineveh to preach against their sin). Jonah didn't wanna do it and tried to hide from God on a boat (silly Jonah!). God found Jonah and parked him in the belly of a great fish to think about things. (This is a picture of a dead Humpback Whale in 2006, taken by the Monterey Bay Whale Watch. I think it shows that a whale could indeed swallow a man!) Jonah repented and relented and did what God told him to do in the first place, with great success.
Now, that's as far as my Sunday School teachers ever got, which makes one think everyone lived happily ever after. Right? But if you read on in Jonah, chapter four, you find something unexpected in this tale.
Jonah--for reasons I really don't understand--gets mad at God for sparing Nineveh. So he goes out, sits down, and does what we've all done when things don't go our way. He pouted!
Does God take Jonah's pouting? Nope. He basically gives Jonah a lesson on WHO is in control of things....and it ain't Jonah.
The book of Jonah ends there. What happened to ol' Jonah after this? We don't know, but my guess is he saw how foolish he was being and continued to serve the Lord. I mean, God himself called Jonah into this ministry, so he must have had a lot of redeeming qualities.
Makes me take a look at the times I've pouted when things didn't go my way. It also makes me wonder why God puts up with us and our childish ways. Thankfully He does and thankfully we can learn from Him. I know I plan to! I sure don't want to end up in the belly of stinky whale!!