“And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.’” (Jonah 2:10–3:2, NIV84)
“Whew! Dry ground! Finally! Where am I? How did I get here? I went from the depths of a raging sea to the belly of a great fish to the dry ground of this beach. How did all this happen?” These are the kinds of things I would be thinking and saying if I were Jonah as I lay on the beach. And there they are! Those simple words: “And the Lord commanded the fish…” How amazing it is to be at the end of one of life’s roller-coaster experiences only to find out that the Lord was there and getting us through the whole time. Why are we so quick to say that occurrences in life are simply fate or coincidence? If it is simply fate and coincidence, then why don’t we call out to them when all hell breaks loose? When this life has us so twisted that we can’t breathe, why is it God that we call on? Because deep down inside we know He is there. We know because we were created in His image. A part of His touch is part of our very makeup. Jonah called out to God, and God got him through the experience. God actually taught Jonah through the experience. Then, finally, God commanded the fish to vomit Jonah out onto the beach.
Why? Jonah is saved and the teaching is done for the moment. But there is still work to be done. There is still Nineveh. God wanted His message preached to the people of Nineveh, and Jonah was still His favored spokesman. So, “the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.” Ever have one of your parents say to you, “Don’t make me say it twice?” Well, God was gracious to Jonah, and He spoke His command a second time. God told Jonah to go to Nineveh. Isn’t it great that our Heavenly Father gives second chances? He allows do-overs. All this has me thinking. Is God telling us anything for the second (or 20th) time? Is there somewhere He wants us to go? Is there someone He wants us to reach out to? Is there something God is calling us to do that we can avoid no longer? Then let’s not force Him to tell us again. Let’s step out and do what it is He wants us to do. In the words of the famous Nike commercial, “Just do it!”