10 Then the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto the dry land (Jonah 2:10, Common English Bible).
Folks I know I have missed a few days posting. I had some family business that needed my involvement. It is my hope to finish Jonah without further interruptions.
The thought of being alive and inside the belly of any animal is a pretty disgusting thought. It is also pretty frightening. Think about it. The smell would probably be awful. How would you ever get air to breath in the belly of another animal. And, wouldn’t the belly of a fish be full of water?
I will be the first to admit, I know very little biology, whether it be zoology or botany. In humans, I do know there is some pretty strong acid in our stomachs. The only reason it usually doesn’t eat a hole through our stomachs is lining that protects the stomach itself. Without that lining, we would all suffer from stomach ulcers.
I don’t know if the same is true for other animals and since today we are talking specifically fish, I really don’t know. I do know that many fish eat fish. I had an aquarium a couple of times in my life. When one of my livebearer fish would have newborn fish came into the aquarium I would have to put something in the tank where these tiny fish could survive without being eaten by the larger and often more aggressive fish. Even mama fish was not afraid to eat her own young.
The thing is, I know dead fish stink. If you found yourself in the belly of a dead fish, well let’s just say it wouldn’t be a pleasant experience.
And yet, Scripture reminds us that such a place is exactly where Jonah found himself, in the stinky belly of a giant. Fish. What is more, Jonah was there for three days. I would hope that my brain tuned out the nasty smell.
While Jonah was in the fish belly, as we looked at in my last post, Jonah prayed. Jonah knew he was wrong for running in the opposite direction from God. He knew that is the reason he found himself in such a difficult situation.
So God talked to the fish. For those who don’t think God speaks, if God is going to talk to a fish, don’t you think it just might be possible for God to speak to you?
Anyway, I digress. I titled this post “A Fish with Indigestion.” I don’t really know if the fish had indigestion. Maybe that is what God told the fish. As far as the topic of the conversation or how the fish would vomit Jonah out, the Bible is silent. But, suffice it to say, the fish with indigestion did vomit Jonah out on the beach.
Jonah disobeyed God. For his trouble, Jonah suffered a great deal. He was on a ship that found itself in distress. He was thrown into fierce sea conditions. He was swallowed by a giant fish. He stayed in the fish belly for three days. And, he was regurgitated onto dry land.
None of it sounds very good. But, there is some good news in all of that. It is in the last two words, “dry land.” Jonah deserved punishment but when he prayed, in essence, he asked for forgiveness, for another chance.
In placing him outside the fish belly and on dry land, Jonah had another chance. There is a word for that, “GRACE.” Jonah didn’t deserve his deliverance and yet God did it anyway.
Like Jonah, we disobey God. But, if we pray, we just might find (no really, we will find) grace, a second (or third or fifth or tenth chance) chance. That is grace. We don’t deserve grace, but God blesses us with it anyway. It is a free gift, offered to us without a price.
We probably won’t end up in a fish belly. And, divine forgiveness doesn’t mean we will avoid earthly penalties. But God still loves us and will bestow grace upon us and others, even when they don’t deserve it, as Jonah will learn in the lessons to come.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved