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What is Your Fish?

Updated: Feb 3

May 15, 2022- A man stands in a port city called Joppa looking for an escape route. Was he fleeing from criminal offense, people, or something else? Whatever the circumstances, the sailors and captains in Joppa had no idea that he was fleeing and did not know where he came from. He had a particular destination in mind, Tarshish, located approximately 141 kilometers north of Joppa. When this man known as Jonah, found a ship sailing to his desired destination, he paid his fare, and boarded the ship.

Why Jonah was Fleeing

Jonah was a prophet, and God had told him to go to Nineveh (a “great city”) and preach against them "for their wickedness is come up before me" (Jonah 1:2). But Jonah was afraid, and he fled to Joppa where he paid his fare to enter onto a ship that was headed for Tarshish. However, the Lord sent out a fierce wind against the sea causing the ship to rock as if it were going to break.

​As the ship rocked back and forth, the men aboard were frightened, and Jonah was asleep. The shipmaster approached Jonah and asked him to call upon God so that they would not perish. The men wanted to determine the cause of the evil that was upon them, so they cast lots. The lots fell upon Jonah. They confronted Jonah and asked him questions about who he was, where he came from, and what he does. Jonah responds saying, "I am a Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of Heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land" (Jonah 1:9). Jonah also told them that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord.

Jonah is Thrown Overboard and Swallowed by a Fish

Then men aboard the ship asked Jonah what they should do to make the sea calm. Jonah tells them to cast him overboard. The men instead tried to maneuver the ship but were unable to do so. Finally, they cast Jonah overboard, and the sea calmed down.

While Jonah was in the water, God "prepared a great fish" that swallowed Jonah where he remained in its belly for three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17). Jesus references this passage and uses it as a sign for the timing of His death and resurrection, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40, see also, Luke 11:29-32). When Jesus was crucified, He was resurrected after three days and three nights from the day of His death.

Jonah’s Deliverance

Inside the belly of the great fish, Jonah considered his affliction and prayed to God:

Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice. For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods surrounded me; All Your billows and Your waves passed over me. Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’ The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; The deep closed around me; Weeds were wrapped around my head. I went down to the moorings of the mountains; The earth with its bars closed behind me forever; Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord, my God.

"When my soul fainted within me,

I remembered the Lord; And my prayer went up to You, Into Your holy temple.

“Those who regard worthless idols Forsake their own Mercy. But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.”

Jonah 2:2-9

In response to Jonah’s prayer, God spoke to the fish and the fish spit him out onto dry land (verse 10). God tells Jonah again to go to Nineveh and preach against the wickedness of the people. This time, Jonah listens and begins his journey to Nineveh which takes three days to get to, but Jonah arrived there on the first day’s walk (3:4), and told the people that “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (NKJV).

In response, the people of Nineveh declared a fast and repented from their sins. The Holy Bible says that when God saw this, he "relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it” (Jonah 3:10 NKJV).

Jesus Christ is speaking to you today! Will you listen?

​The Message for You Today

My question for you is what is your great fish? What do I mean by this? What is the thing that is swallowing you whole, chewing you up and spitting you out? You cannot keep blaming yourself or others for the insecurities that are bringing you down. Stop saying things like, “I am not smart enough,” or “I am not strong enough,” or “I am not pretty/handsome enough.” You need to move past these insecurities to move on with your life. You first step to moving past such insecurities, is forgiving yourself, as Jesus Christ will forgive you. When you have forgiven yourself, your next step is to repent and sin no more.

Accepting Jesus

Do you forgive yourself? Do you want to accept Jesus in your life today? Then say this prayer:

God, I confess that Jesus came in the flesh and blood, paid the price for my sins, died on the cross, rose on the third day, ascended to the heavens, and sent the Holy Spirit to help me understand Your ways. For that, I accept Jesus Christ as my savior and Lord, and I welcome the Holy Spirit in my life. In Jesus’s name I pray, amen!

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