I teach a class called Growing Deeper in God’s Word. It is a fun little class with an amazing group of people who are hungry for growing in God’s Word! I leave each week thanking God for this class.
Recently, the question was asked…. “What are we to think of Jonah?” It’s an appropriate question! What are we to think about the rebel prophet who is called to be a spokesman for God and does not want to speak for God? You know the story – he runs from God’s call, finds himself being thrown overboard, eaten by a fish, to then spewed out of the fish days later. Yep, that story. What are we to think of all that??
Let’s take a detour a moment. Consider with me the universe God has created.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. “No one would sleep that night, of course…. we would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead the stars come out every night and we watch television.”
200 years ago it was believed that there were some 6,000 stars in the universe.
Today astronomers believe there are more stars in the universe (that we know of) than there are grains of sand on all the beaches and desert on the earth.
Astronomers today believe there are between 100 and 200 BILLION galaxies in the universe and each galaxy contains 100’s of billions of stars!! Did you get that? Re-read the above sentence….
The below illustration is thanks to
Voyager 1 was launched in 1977. Its purpose was to take pictures of planets.
This is Pale Blue Dot
On Feb, 14, 1990 Voyager 1 traveling at 40,000 miles per second snapped the picture above.
At the time of the pic Voyager 1 was at the edge of our solar system. That is when scientists aimed its cameras toward the earth and clicked some pics.
- 60 sequential photos.
- 3.7 billion miles away from earth!
- Each photo contained a picture of 640,000 pixels
- Get this…. Ready……. Each pixel took 5 1/2 hours to send back to earth! 60 Photos! of 640,000 pixels – 1 pixel takes 5 1/2 hours to get back to earth!!!
So what is that dot? That is us — earth! 4 billion miles away. Uhhhhh……… We are kinda small!
That’s earth – Russia, Germany, France, Italy, North America, your country, your state, your city, your county, your neighborhood, your street, your house, your bedroom, YOU! SMILE for the picture!
The point? God’s creation is awesome!
No wonder the Psalmist says when reflecting the majesty of God: “What is man that he (God) is mindful of Him?” Psalms 8
But…. it gets even better!
You have seen it – it is that photo moment shot during an election year. A President is found shaking hands with everyday — nobodies. He walks into a cafe with a slew of secret service men — the cafe has been thoroughly examined – he orders – sits down and chats with everyday people. And people go: “whoa – the President is in my cafe!”
Get this: The God who created the universe….. came down to Pale blue dot!!
He came and took on human flesh. That is not the glory that one would expect ! He came humbly and in weakness. The God who made the stars — came down to Pale blue dot and went to a hill called Calvary and he hung on a cross for your sins!
No wonder that the Psalmist would say: Our God is great and greatly to be praised.
Now….. Back to Jonah:
I believe the Jonah story is….. fact and not fiction. Look, I could be wrong – BUT, I am NOT wrong just because the story of Jonah is too far fetched to believe! Seriously, consider what we are saying here.
Here is what we are saying: God can create 100’s of billions of stars in each 100+ billion galaxies and as Christians we wonder. Hmmmmm, do you think that whole Jonah thing is for real? I mean how could that happen?
To answer the Jonah question with, it must be fiction is to once again be drawn in to the secularism / doubt of our age – even among Christians who have faith in God. And when we land on secularism…. prayer becomes small because our God is small.
Friend, I leave you with this: Look at the stars and behold your God!