God talks to fish! At
the end of Jonah's three days of intense prayer the Scriptures
say "And Jehovah spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah
out onto the dry land". Now if God can talk to a fish
- then He can talk to you! Sometimes it seems God is some
distant metaphysical vapour, silently broodng over the Universe
and making inscrutable moves like some chess grandmaster playing
a very long game. These eleven verses from Jonah shows that
God cares about His disobedient prophet, is prepared in advance
with the fish, that God also hears prayer and responds, and
that He is able to talk to fish and prophets and all His creatures.
Some days I wonder if God sees me at my computer, if He even
remembers He has me here. If, like Jonah, I vanished overboard
and sank to the depths, would anyone notice? Or would there
just be a quiet splash and a few bubbles? These verses in
Jonah tell me that God was watching every step of His prophet
and caring for his every need and bringing Jonah out of rebellion
into obedience. God listened to the prophet's frantic prayers
and even made sure that he did not get his feet wet or have
to swim ashore; for the fish "vomited Jonah out onto
dry land". God does see me at my computer - and He sees
you and you matter to Him. (Psalm 139)
Jonah says (verse 7) "my prayer came to You, to Your
holy temple." For Jonah God is located "in His holy
temple", for Jonah God lives in a gold covered box of
acacia wood in a magnificent building in Jerusalem. But the
obvious context of the passage is that God was right there,
speaking to the fish, which was carrying Jonah. God was at
sea, and on land, and in the Temple and well...everywhere!
He would even turn up in pagan Nineveh! The "God who
controls everything and turns up everywhere" could be
a sub-title for the book of Jonah. We find God controlling
storms, fish, kings, cities, broom trees, worms and east winds.
And God is in Isreal and with prophets and sailors and at
sea and on land and in all countries of the world - even the
bad ones. God is not just in church, He is at your school,
your home, your job and even in prison (with Peter, Paul,
Daniel and many others).
The God who controls everything and turns up everywhere is
also able to talk to fish. He is in communication with His
whole Creation which obeys His will. Jesus spoke to storms
and fig-trees and demons and all obeyed Him. God is not so
busy He can't chat with a sparrow, or so vast that He cannot
speak to you and I. Elijah stood at the mouth of the cave,
and there was a great wind and an earthquake and a fire...
and finally a still small voice, and God spoke to Elijah.
(1 Kings 19: 11-14) God's voice may not be spectacular, but
it is still Him that speaks and restores and commissions.
Remember the God who is interested in fish is also interested
There are various ways God speaks to us and works in our
lives. Usually it's not the way we would think! God's ways
are higher than ours (and sometimes a lot more imaginative).
Don't be surprised if God speaks to you in unusual ways.....