I just finished reading Jonah. One of the themes that we observe in this prophetic book is that God sovereignly superintends creation. We see His rule over a stormy wind, a great fish, a plant, a worm, an east wind, and finally Jonah.
But the LORD hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest upon the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up (Jonah 1:4)
A Great Fish
God commanded the fish to swallow Jonah and then later vomit him out.
And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17)
And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land (Jonah 2:10)
Now the LORD God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort (Jonah 4:6)
But when the dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered (Jonah 4:7)
An East Wind
When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind,and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, ‘It is better for me to die that to live’ (Jonah 4:8)
Four observations on this theme of God’s sovereignty over creation:
- God used nature to preserve the life of Jonah so that he would perform the thing God called him to do (“a great fish swallowed Jonah”). Undoubtedly, he would have died out on the stormy sea.
- God used nature mercifully for the benefit of his servant, albeit an ungrateful one (the plant was “a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort”).
- Underlying all this is the reality that humans are the only creatures who willingly disobeys his Creator. The wind, the great fish, the plant, the worm, and the east wind all obeyed the command of their Creator. Not so in Jonah’s case. When God told him to go to Nineveh he disobeyed, “But Jonah rose to flee” (Jonah 1:3).
- Eventually, God accomplished His purposes through Jonah. Finally, Jonah got to a point of obedience, “So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD” (Jonah 3:3). Jonah’s experience was unusual to be sure, but there are a number of things that God uses in our lives to bring us to a point of obedience: illness, finances, unemployment, etc. It would have saved Jonah a lot of difficulty and heartache if he would have simply been obedient.
Creation’s obedience to its Creator is what brings Him glory. Let us glorify our Creator by obeying His word.
I’ll say ‘yes,’ Lord, ‘yes,’
to your will and to your way
I’ll say ‘yes,’ Lord, ‘yes,’
I will trust you and obey
When your Spirit speaks to me
With my whole heart I’ll agree
And my answer will be ‘yes,’ Lord, ‘yes,’
You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him (emphasis added, Deuteronomy 13:4)
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments (emphasis added, 1 John 5:2)