Jonah 1 – 4
At Dublin Airport there’s a flight simulator used for pilot training. The trainee pilots experience the full sensations of flying, and their skills are tested in all sorts of “dangerous” scenarios.
The book of Jonah gives details of a new type of prayer room. Do you think we could make a simulator of a huge fish’s stomach? Loads of partially digested fish sloshing around in a warm soup of digestive juices. Mind-blowing stink. 72 hours locked up inside it in perpetual swimming motion. (I’m one of those unfortunate individuals who get sea sick about 10 minutes out of harbour, even up on deck.) Add the ambience of a small enclosed fishy space … What I can’t understand is how it didn’t kill him!
But it turns out it was quite a prayer room. Jonah’s prayer in chapter 2 is poetic, dramatic, full of worship and faith. Not a complaint in sight. Some contrast to his sulky rant in chapter 4 when God relents from destroying 120,000 people who gave up their evil ways as a result of Jonah’s warning to them.
“Isn’t this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? This is what I was trying to avoid by running away. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live!”
Twice God asks him: Is it right for you to be angry? And to help him think that through, gives him an object lesson. Isn’t God brilliant?!!