What Happens to Jonah if the Whale Dies?

JonahandtheWhaleJonah 1:1-4, Jonah 1:14-17; Jonah 2:1-10; Jonah 3:4-5, 10

What would happen to the account of Jonah if his whale had died? Here are some possible answers to this question:

  • Nothing since the Old Testament says it was a “GREAT FISH.”
  • Jonah becomes wealthy from the sale of whale oil and retires.
  • While blubbering in grief, Jonah joined Green Peace to help “save the whales.”
  • After the whale’s dead carcass washed up on shore, Jonah uses its bones as the framework for his new beachfront condo.
  • Jonah used the whale as the inspiration for a book he wrote about a ship captain named Ahab, and his demented hatred of a whale named “Moby Dick.”

The whale was the vehicle God chose to bring Jonah to his destination.

Nineveh was not the place to which a “good Jew” would venture. Jonah did not consider those who lived in Nineveh to be people, but beasts. God’s destination will not always take a child of God to the most pleasurable locations on the map, but His destinations will always be memorable! What must be remembered is that God is not interested in our comfort; He’s interested in His will being done in and through His people. That type of dedication requires them to be standing where God’s will is found.

The whale was the vehicle that God chose to bring Jonah to his life’s purpose.

Jonah ran from God’s will when he first learned of it. God supernaturally spoke to him, but that did not steer Jonah toward God’s will. God’s purpose was greatly hindered because it was not Jonah’s purpose. This is true for any who would turn from what they know to be God’s will. God chose the whale to bring Jonah to that to which he was called. The whale is no different than the trial, the test, the situation that causes one to stop going away from God. The whale is that which encapsulates one’s life causing them to lose freedom, mobility, and breath. This is done so they will turn toward God’s purpose and away from their own. In other words, the whale was sent because of God’s grace and mercy. This is seen first in how the whale turned Jonah away from his rebellion and back to God, and second in how that turning made a way for God’s message of repentance to reach the people of Ninevah, which in itself is again an act of God’s grace and mercy.

The whale was the vehicle God chose to bring Jonah to his person.

The reason men wander is due to them not being able to find their own selves. They may see the man in their mirror, but they do not know why he’s there. The dreams of that person seem so far from the person of their dreams. The whale brought Jonah to a place where he had to view the real Jonah. This then allowed Jonah to step away from the whale and become the Jonah God made him to be.

Romans 12:1-2 ESV
(1)  I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
(2)  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

James 1:2-4 ESV
(2)  Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
(3)  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
(4)  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

The test is designed for one purpose – to KILL you!

Face it; God wants you dead. Not the non-breathing six-foot-under kind of dead, but one in which you are dead to yourself. Remember, in Christ, we don’t die to die, we die to live. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24 ESV). The earth is that from which we were made. We must die to our origin, our nature, our past, our heritage, our very earthly existence, and when we do, we are raised, not as the Old Man, but as the New Man. Jesus promised that this new man would never be alone (See Hebrews 13:5 ESV). He said that His Spirit (the Holy Ghost) would always being in those who are made new through His New Covenant (See John 14:16 ESV).

So, the whales that men and women face today are not there to destroy them, but to bring them to the will and purpose God has for their lives. Jesus was in the earth three days and nights. That is the same time period that Jonah spent in the belly of the whale. Jesus aligned His time in the grave to Jonah’s time in the whale (See Matthew 12:39-40 ESV). And, like Jonah, when Jesus arose, He preached about God’s coming wrath, and He brought a message of salvation to those sincere enough to listen. Jonah would have been a failure if not for his whale. Jesus would have also been a failure if not for His burial and resurrection. And like them both, the children of God would be nothing without dying to themselves so they could be raised to the type of life found only in God. So, the correct answer to the question of what happens to Jonah if the whale dies is that, without his whale, Jonah would have never of fulfilled God’s will and he would never of experienced real life.

Copyright © 2008 TK Burk. All rights reserved

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