The Story of Jonah and the Fish
It was This Big!

God told a prophet named Jonah to go to the Assyrian city of Nineveh and announce that it would be destroyed soon. But Jonah knew God well enough to know that he wouldn’t actually do what he said he would do. Jonah didn’t think it would be right to deliver a false prophecy, so he ran away from God and hid on a ship that was going somewhere else.1

But God sent a storm, which nearly wrecked the ship. The sailors found out that Jonah had angered his God and brought a storm on their ship. So Jonah suggested they throw him overboard, to divert God’s wrath away from the ship. But the sailors didn’t want to kill him. They tried to sail back and return him to land, so he could resume his mission.

But God liked Jonah’s idea better, so he made the storm worse and prevented them from getting back to land. So the sailors reluctantly threw Jonah overboard, and the storm stopped. God sent a huge fish, which swallowed Jonah and then threw him up on land three days later.

God told Jonah again to go tell the Ninevites that God would destroy their city in 40 days due to their wickedness, and this time Jonah did so. When the Ninevites heard that, they all repented and started fasting and praying. So God decided not to destroy Nineveh at that time, since the people weren’t evil now.

When Jonah realized that God had indeed forced him to prophesy lies, just as Jonah had predicted and tried to prevent, he was very angry. Jonah made himself a shelter, so he could sit in its shade while he waited in vain for God to fulfill his prophecy. But the destruction of Ninevah would now be postponed for another century or two.

God made Jonah a leafy plant, so he could sit in its shade. But the next morning, God sent a worm to destroy the plant. He also sent an east wind to make Jonah unbearably hot despite his shelter. This made Jonah even more angry, and he wanted to die.

God explained that if it was right for Jonah to want that helpful plant to be preserved, it must also be right for God to want that wicked city to be preserved. But God failed to explain why he had required Jonah to say the city was about to be destroyed, when he and God both knew that wasn’t true. Or why he thought it was necessary to give Jonah a shelter when he already had one. Or why he felt the need to torment Jonah with scorching weather, when that added nothing to the point he was trying to make.

The end.

The moral of the story

If you’re not willing to tell lies, God will rally the forces of nature against you to make your life hell.

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