I was just now watching the Andy Griffith Show and Opie had caught himself a fine, fine trout. Andy remarked it was so large it reminded him of when Jonah caught that whale.
Opie was a bit confused and said, “I thought the whale swallowed him.”
“Well, that’s what I mean,” Andy replied, “when somebody catches a fish from the inside–now that’s fishin’!”
Of course, Opie was right. Jonah didn’t catch that great fish. It caught him.
And it caught him because Jonah refused to obey God.
He was supposed to go to Ninevah and preach against it, but Jonah was headed for Tarshish, because he thought he could run from God.
You’ll remember that a great storm came up while Jonah was on the ship, and all the sailors on the ship were praying to their false gods to save them, but the storm grew worse.
Meanwhile, Jonah was sound asleep in the hold of the ship. The Bible says he was in a “deep sleep.” Then, in Jonah 1:6, it says:
The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.”
The sailors cast lots to see which of them was responsible for this calamity, and the lot fell to Jonah.
He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the , the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” (verses 8-9)
This terrified them.
As well it should.
Jonah had told them he was running from God.
And in that moment, I wonder if Jonah didn’t realize how stupid it sounded to be running from the very God who made the heavens and the earth, and have the most epic of “D’oh!” moments ever.
In another, seemingly unrelated Bible story, King David had committed adultery with Bathsheba and he had her husband killed so that he could have Bathsheba for his own.
Nathan, a prophet and trusted adviser to King David, then tells David the story of a rich man who takes a poor man’s only ewe lamb that is like a pet to him and kills it to feed a guest, even though the rich man has many lambs of his own.
David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.” (2 Samuel 12:5 NIV)
Nathan retorts, “You are the man!”
And it was David’s turn for a “D’oh!” moment.
All of which makes me wonder when our nation will have it’s “D’oh!” moment?
Are we asleep in the bottom of the boat as the waves crash around us? Does the storm grow worse with each passing moment?
When will the captain come to us, rouse us from our slumber, and plead with us to call upon our God that he might take notice of us?
Have we committed adultery and murdered to cover it up, so that it would not be inconvenient for us and so that we can have what we want? Do we murder so we can entertain guests without diminishing our own wealth?
God promises us that our “D’oh!” moment will come.
For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. (Luke 8:17 NIV.)
And, while we congratulate ourselves that we have caught a great fish from the inside out because of our great learning and amazing skill, someday we will realize that it is the great fish that has caught us.
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, (Acts 3:19 NIV)