This photo reminds me of the Bible’s historic recounting of the Prophet Jonah and the big fish. Really you might ask? If we take ourselves back to ancient Nineveh in the frontier of Syria (Assyria) in the 8th century B.C. we find an ISIS like violent people. They were a menace to Israel. They took no prisoners and were indeed pagans. So Jonah was both indignant of God’s decision to go to try to convert this nation and probably also afraid of the risk. Jonah was coming from the Northern Kingdom of Israel, under threat from Nineveh, so he ran for it.
Jonah headed the opposite direction towards Tarshish in modern Spain because he was stubbornly reluctant to give God’s favor to an enemy. Well, as many know Jonah’s ship sailed directly into a massive storm, threatening to break it up. When the lots taken fell on Jonah it became obvious that he was the reason, the huge reason that they were all in danger. The superstitious sailors were afraid of the gods and Jonah’s admission for his disobedience being the reason for the storm. He commanded them to throw him overboard to save their lives, and they did.
We know that God provided a giant fish or “leviathan” to swallow Jonah. The image of a whale-like sea monster, reminds me of the giant bolder in this photo and the symbolic and huge problem Jonah had become. We know also that after three long days and nights in the fish belly, Jonah was coughed out on the shore. He prayed while in the whale, but was preoccupied with his predicament and not repentant. He was “spiritually wobbly” as my pastor states. He is just a great big problem child washed up on shore like a whale.
On the second command of God to go to Nineveh, Jonah begrudgingly agrees. He finds a repentant people, unlike himself. An amazing revival occurs with a nation the least likely in the world. We serve a big God who is sovereign and can bring about giant fishes, and gargantuan revivals, while changing big bungling prophets like Jonah. This is a big story of God’s great grace.
So what does the giant boulder represent? The boulder is the grace filled and awesome power of a great God. Our God can work with big problems and people to accomplish His greater purposes.