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Today's Little Lift

    by Jim Bullington

The LORD Spoke to the Fish (Jonah 2.10)
Date Posted: March 16, 2021

Talking to things is not as uncommon as we like to make it seem. I know I sometimes talk to cars that cut me off in traffic. I also talk to cats that cross my path as well as to checkbooks that do not keep up with my spending habits. There have even been a few times when I have talked to a hammer when it maliciously smashed my thumb!

Jonah was more than a thing, but God spoke to Him. He told Jonah to go preach to the people of Nineveh, but Jonah rebelled. His rebellion soon endangered the lives of his shipmates who were innocently drawn into the story. Soon Jonah found himself in immediate danger of drowning and entirely friendless – friendless unless you count the great fish which God had prepared for the moment. After three days and nights in the belly of the fish, “…the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.” (Jonah 2.10). The New International Version puts it in stronger language, saying, “…the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. The fish was admittedly a living thing, but hardly one known for listening to voices attempting to direct its deeds!

There were other times when similar events occurred in the Scripture. When Moses was acting as God’s spokesperson between Israel and God, he was told to speak to a rock in order to bring forth water for the nation to drink. I have no doubt but had Moses done as he was commanded, water would have gushed forth in abundant supply. However, he erred in disobeying God’s command to speak, substituting his own wish to strike the rock with his staff. “Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.” (Numbers 10.11).

Years later, another event in Israel of a similar genre is noteworthy. Elisha, a successor to the great prophet Elijah, was present when some trees were being felled alongside the Jordan River. As one of the workmen swung his ax, the metal portion of the tool separated itself from the handle and landed in the river. The worker had borrowed the ax to do the job and was distressed that he had lost the working end of the borrowed ax! Elisha overheard the commotion and asked, “‘Where did it fall?’ And he showed him the place. So he cut off a stick, and threw it in there; and he made the iron float. Therefore he said, ‘Pick it up for yourself.’ So he reached out his hand and took it.” (2 Kings 6.6-7).

In another astounding event, there were no words spoken and no apparent intent on the part of any human being to bring about a miraculous event; the results are just as astonishing. Some time after Elisha’s death and burial, bands of ne’re-do-wells combed the countryside looking for victims. A funeral was taking place when a band of these men appeared, threatening those in attendance. Unwittingly the mourners hurriedly lowered the deceased’s body into the tomb containing Elisha’s bones. Read what happened: “…And when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.” (2 Kings 13.21). There was not a hint of intent for the miraculous; the mourners simply wanted to get it over with and incur no harm from the villains who were bearing down on them!

We started with the fact that God spoke to a fish and the fish obeyed. We ended with an event, the likes of which, we have never seen. God’s power was behind these and all other similar events. God is God and we ought to be thankful that He is. To use a colloquial expression, “We don’t have a dog in that race!” I like what one man said about God and His power: “If the Bible said that Jonah was swallowed by a flying-fish I would have no choice but to believe it – regardless of the size of the fish or the man!”

Questions:

1. Why would anyone who believes the rest of the Bible think that a fish really did swallow Jonah? Maybe a better question is why would he not believe it?

2. What would make us think that God has the ability to communicate with animals?

3. What power was behind water flowing from the rock? What did the striking of it have to do with the result? Would water have come out if he had spoken to it? Why did water come out?

4. Some have discredited the story of Jonah by citing the size of a fish’s gullet, how man could not survive in such an environment, and other similar arguments that go against nature. What is wrong with that line of reasoning where a direct act of God is involved?

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Biography Information:
Jim Bullington - A Christian writer whose insight into the scriptures is reflected in practical application lessons in every article. The reader will find that the Bible speaks directly to him/her through these articles. God is always exalted and His word is treated with the utmost respect in this column.
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