IF YOU LIKE ANIMAL STORIES—READ THE BIBLE!
Of course, we all know the story of Noah following the Lord’s instruction to fill the ark with animals prior to the flood. But there are many other specific occasions when the Almighty “employed” animals in the process of completing His plan.
Twice a donkey is mentioned—once to speak to a hardheaded prophet; the other to carry the Savior into Jerusalem prior to the crucifixion. A lion (Daniel); pigs (invaded by demons); birds (to feed Elijah); quail (Israel in the wilderness); dogs (destroy wicked queen Jezebel); bear (to defend Elisha); fish (with tax money in mouth); cattle (Jacob); oxen (pulling cart with the Ark), along with others.
By now you have questioned the glaring omission of the oft repeated account of Jonah. That is intentional, as the story is not just about the whale—it is also about a worm.
I like to call it THE WHALE & WORM STORY !
The huge and the tiny. Both had a unique role in the life/ministry of Jonah. The compelling truth is that God may choose either the great or the small to accomplish His own purposes.
The Scripture states that the Lord “prepared” (“appointed” in MEV) both the whale and worm (Jonah 1:17 and 4:6). Interesting word— it means “to allocate or officially constitute”. By the way, the same word is used of the gourd (Jonah 4:6) and the east wind (Jonah 4:8). In other words, this entire scenario was under the personal direction and supervision of the Almighty!
The major emphasis of this note is to reiterate that the Sovereign knows exactly “where we are” in our spiritual journey at all times. Jonah tried to run-the eternal GPS was tracking him. It even had underwater capabilities! Jonah was angry (with God, no less) and the Lord turned up the heat (pun intended) with a gourd eating worm to destroy Jonah’s shade. Would you agree that God knew how to get Jonah’s attention?
The good news about this is the evident concern of a loving Heavenly Father. On occasion we all make bad decisions like the ancient prophet. Self preservation? A sense of patriotic loyalty that rises above a commitment to the redemption of the lost? A vengeful attitude? Realistically, as unique individuals, we all have carnal “blind spots” that can be brought to our attention only by divine action. Matters that are imperceptible to us or we have chosen to ignore can develop into harmful liabilities/limitations. Perhaps the words of Hebrews 12 could appropriately noted here—“lay aside every weight” that hinders our spiritual marathon.
The Lord may not (probably won’t) use an animal as the operative in contemporary situations, but He can surely put His finger on any sore/soft spot in our character without any difficulty. And, it is all because He loves us and genuinely desires for us to fulfill our spiritual potential.
An ancillary truth in the story of Jonah is the reaffirmation of God’s infinite attributes—He is Omnipresent, Omniscient, and Omnipotent! What amazing security the Father offers as we work through our struggles. In common terminology, it is simply defined as the “walk of faith”. Never doubt it! The One True God is near enough, wise enough, and powerful enough to get us from point A to point B.
Conclusion: God has an 80 foot long, 300,000 pound whale or a 6 inch, 4 ounce worm ready to deploy as needed— for discipline or direction, punishment or protection, accountability or assurance.
Perhaps these animal stories in the Bible should be studied by adults, as well as reading them to children…You think?
Just a reminder—JESUS IS COMING SOON!
H Maurice Lednicky