Jonah was a prophet of God, which means God sent him to deliver news to the Israelites. Sometimes, this news was good; sometimes, it was not good and called for repentance. When God told Jonah to go to a city called Ninevah, though, Jonah was afraid, and he did not want to go. Ninevah was not even an Israelite city. So, what did Jonah do? He ran away! He was on a boat headed the other direction from where he should be, and God sent a big storm. Jonah was thrown overboard, and the storm stopped, then a great big fish came and swallowed him whole!
The FIRST thing we learn from Jonah is- You cannot run from God! God sees all and knows all. There is no running away from Him.
Jonah was inside the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. During this time, he was unsure of what was going to happen to him and knew that he was in deep need of being rescued, and God was the only one who could perform that miracle. He prayed to God, praising Him and asking for forgiveness for his disobedience. God made the fish spit Jonah out onto dry land.
The SECOND thing we learn from Jonah is- No matter how bad things may seem or how much trouble we have gotten ourselves into, all we need to do is pray, and God will rescue us. It may not be how we expect or think it should happen, but it will happen.
Once Jonah is back on dry land, God again tells him to go to Ninevah. This time, Jonah listens. He goes to Ninevah and preaches repentance. The king believes and repents and calls for all the people to as well. Because of their belief and to Jonah's dismay, God chooses not to destroy the great city. Jonah is angry. You see, the Ninevites are his people's enemy; he does not think they deserve God's mercy.
The THIRD thing we learn from Jonah is- Just because we see someone as our enemy does not mean that God does not love that person. God loves everyone that He has made and wishes all to be saved. He loves our enemies. When we think all someone else deserves is God's judgment, He shows them love and mercy, just as He shows you and me!
To read the whole story of Jonah, click here.