1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before Me.” -Jonah 1:1-2 BSB
God wanted to send the prophet Jonah to a Gentile nation to preach a message of doom for that city unless they all would repent. The Book of Jonah shows what God wanted to do in the future for all nations when He would send out His twelve disciples after the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ (see Matthew 28:16-20).
Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh (Jonah 1:3) because he knew that if they repented, God, who abounds in mercy, would relent from sending them destruction (Jonah 4:1-2). Why didn’t Jonah want them to repent? Because the *Assyrians were very brutal with their captives and committed atrocities like cutting off the hands, feet, heads and impaling them on stakes from the nations they conquered.
While Jonah was on the ship headed away from Nineveh, the Lord sent a storm on the sea. The sailors knew that they were in trouble if the storm persisted because it could cause the ship to break apart and sink into the deep with all the men inside. After finding out that God sent the storm because of Jonah’s disobedience to the Lord, Jonah, at his request, was thrown overboard. God had already prepared a big fish to swallow Jonah. The fish, instructed by the Lord, was to vomit out Jonah on dry land. Afterward, the Lord commanded Jonah, a second time, to go to Nineveh and preach to it.
What’s interesting is that you see a man (Jonah) coming out of a fish…“10 And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.” -Jonah 2:10 BSB
In the New Testament, you will see the spiritual significance of what happened to Jonah.
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 And at once they left their nets and followed Him. -Matthew 4:18-20 BSB
Jonah, a man, coming out of the mouth of a fish was a picture of what believers in Jesus Christ were going to do, fish for people (fish representing people) by using spiritual bait, which is the gospel or good news. After a person is saved through faith in Jesus Christ, He makes them fishermen (fisher-for-men).
Are you fishing by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to bring in people to the kingdom of heaven? If not, don’t be surprised if you find yourself in a storm.