|It's hard to recognize the
meaning of those small voices within us. I can still remember the uneasiness I felt when a
voice out of the water first called to me. After all, whoever calls to a whale?
When I finally realized that a special message was meant for me and that the Lord was preparing me for an unusual journey, I couldn't contain my joy. Immediately my heart started pounding wildly, and the excited movement of my tail propelled me right out of the water. Never had I jumped so high. I felt as if I were flying, I was so excited. Just think, I was the first whale in history to be called into special service by the Lord Himself! Not since creation had such an event taken place among whales.
After calming down, I awaited further instructions. The moments seemed like hours as I swam and listened for His voice. I started thinking about serving God. What would it be like? What did He want me to do? Finally, when it seemed as if I would burst with anticipation, His gentle voice parted the waters. "I am the Lord," He said, "and I have called you to fulfill my purpose in the life of Jonah, My prophet."
"What is your will for me, Lord?" I asked.
"Swim toward the city of Tarshish, where you will find a ship struggling in the storm. Wait there and do as I bid thee."
Without taking time to pack or even to say goodbye to my friends, I left immediately for the place the Lord had told me to go. I don't think I ever swam so fast or felt so good, knowing that I was serving the Lord who created heaven and Earth. Whatever He wanted me to do, I was ready to obey. Nothing would be too difficult, for I knew He would take care of me. After all, hasn't He taken care of whales since the beginning?
As I swam, I was reminded of our glorious history and existence here on Earth. Whales have always been special since the day God created them. Right out of the water He called them into existence. He just spoke the word and the water brought forth great whales. You might wonder how that could happen. Well, the Lord of creation has all power, He made the heavens and the Earth. With His infinite knowledge He created all life, including man. You may find that hard to believe, but how else could all of the complex things we find on the Earth have come into existence?
Oh, I realize that some people feel that life has evolved from non-living material, but we whales consider that nonsense.
How can one possibly explain great whales swimming the seas having originated through some evolutionary process, beginning with an invertebrate (animal without a backbone)
which somehow develops vertebrae (a backbone) to become a fish and then these fish decide to move to land, so they drop off their fins and evolve front legs
and develop a tail and hind legs and change their breathing from their gill slits to their noses to become amphibians, and these amphibians change their jelly-like eggs to shelled eggs, strengthen their jawbones, and evolve into reptiles, and these reptiles shift some of the bones of their jaws into their ears, and evolve into mammals, and some of these mammals decide to march back into the sea and so they decide to evolve off their hind legs and change the shape of their tail to a tail fin and transform their front legs into fins, change their breathing from their noses to the blowhole on top of their head, and march back into the sea to become whales.
Ridiculous, isn't it? And yet that's the only explanation, because whales are mammals and would have had to evolve from land animals, not fish. There is no evidence for this type of evolution, but men propose it because they don't want to believe in God. Men will be men, I guess, and some of them may never realize the foolishness of their thinking. They are simply worshiping their own knowledge and serving the creature rather than recognizing the power of the Creator. Why, every whale in the sea is a tribute to the power of the Creator who made us in the beginning. That was the whole purpose God had in creating us, to demonstrate His power that man might know and appreciate the heavenly Father. God made whales in the beginning, and we've been whales ever since. He has always provided for us, and I guess that's why it's so easy to follow Him and to do what He says. You see, I belong to the Lord my God; I am one of His creatures. How proud I was to be on a mission for Him.
Suddenly the water was terribly rough. I knew I was close to my final destination, for I found myself in the midst of a tremendous storm. It's hard to imagine how difficult it is to survive in a storm, even for a whale. I strained every muscle of my tail and body as I pressed upward for air. Struggling for my life I fought my way to the surface. There in front of me was the ship surrounded by mountains of water. It took all of my strength to fight my way closer to the ship as I awaited further instructions. The sea was raging. I can't remember a more dreadful storm. The waves crashed over me as if I were a small rock in a roaring river. I was tossed about in a sea of turmoil, but still I waited. On the deck I could catch glimpses of men running about in a mad attempt to control their ship. It seemed useless for them to struggle, yet they continued to brave the storm. Suddenly a new man appeared on the deck. Everyone was yelling at him. He looked dazed as if he had just awakened from a long nap. They communicated as best they could in the midst of the raging storm, and as they talked I could see the terror on their faces. Suddenly all the men jumped back from the sleepy sailor.
I didn't really understand what was happening. I tried to get closer, but a big wave hit me square in the face. Even for a whale that presents a problem. The wind continued to howl and the storm rose, almost engulfing the ship and its crew. They cowered in fear and seemed doomed to destruction. I knew that the Lord was controlling the sea, but still I wondered about the storm, the ship, and the role that a whale might play in fulfilling His purpose.
I soon learned that the man awakened from his sleep was the prophet of God named Jonah. He had served God in the past and successfully prophesied the restoration of certain territories in the land of Hamath by Jeroboam II, King of Israel. A native of Gath-hepher and the son of Amittai, Jonah was enjoying life in Israel when the Lord ordered Him to travel to Nineveh and warn the people of that city that God was going to judge their wickedness. But Jonah disobeyed God and fled in a ship going to Tarshish. Whereas Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, was north-east of Palestine, Tarshish was west. In other words, Jonah headed in the other direction. That was the reason for the big storm, for God was dealing with Jonah's disobedience. His unwillingness to obey the Lord and proceed to Nineveh brought the wrath of God upon this tiny ship and placed the lives of the entire crew in jeopardy. No wonder they were afraid of him and jumped away when he admitted his transgression. "Why have you done this?" they asked. "What must we do to be saved from total destruction?"
Jonah must have realized that the storm was because of his actions. "Cast me into the sea," he said, "and save yourselves." One would think that the men would quickly throw Jonah overboard to preserve their lives, but I could see that they were reluctant to take the life of God's prophet. Instead, every man grabbed an oar and rowed as hard as he could toward the shore. But the harder the men rowed, the more the sea rose against them. It was impossible! Exhausted, they once again approached the prophet. Fearing the wrath of God upon them, they prayed and pleaded with the Lord not to lay the death of Jonah to their charge. Reluctantly they tossed him into the raging sea, and Jonah sank beneath the water. Then the Lord spoke to me. "Fetch Jonah from the sea and take him toward Nineveh."
How cold the water must have been to a man not accustomed to the sea. I watched him struggle, but it was no use. The waters encompassed him. Jonah was doomed unless I could reach him in time. Had I failed to save him, I'm sure the Lord could have restored him to life, but that was not God's purpose. The Lord had commissioned me to rescue Jonah. As fast as I could, I swam straight to him, opened my giant mouth and swept him inside. It was an odd sensation! I had never swallowed a man before. When I surfaced, I noticed that the sea was calm, the wind quiet. Before heading toward Nineveh with my precious cargo, I took one last look at the ship. The crew, realizing that God is all powerful, controlling even the sea, had learned a valuable lesson. They offered thanks to God for sparing their ship and praised Him for their safety. I'm sure this was a lesson they would never forget. With this lesson in mind, my thoughts turned to Jonah. What had he learned? What was in store for this disobedient prophet trapped in the belly of a whale?
It's hard to imagine all that was going through Jonah's mind as he rested in my stomach. I can't imagine anyone fleeing from the will of God. What could possibly cause a man to disobey? Perhaps Jonah was worried about the opinions of the Israelites who would condemn him for going to warn the people of Nineveh, their enemy. Perhaps he was fearful of traveling in enemy territory. Whatever caused Jonah to flee, he certainly paid dearly for his disobedience. You should have seen him thrashing in the water, seaweed encircling him. He certainly wasn't built to weather an ocean storm. God dealt severely with Jonah, and Jonah was a sight to be pitied. Sorrowful, drenched, and soaked to the skin as the waves of the roaring sea tossed him about, Jonah prepared to die. You wouldn't believe the expression of terror on his face as I engulfed him with my jaws and sent him sprawling into the pit of my stomach.
Out of the depths of death, fearful awed at the power and concern of the God he had disobeyed, Jonah prayed for forgiveness. I never heard a more beautiful or meaningful prayer.
I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.
For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: as thy billows and thy waves passed over me.
Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.
The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.
I went down to the bottoms of the mountains: the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.
When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.
They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving;
I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.
Even from the belly of a whale God heard His prophet. I'm sure that the Lord knew his heart and was confident that the prophet would obey Him when He spoke the second time. You see, I had already been instructed to take Jonah toward the majestic city of Nineveh and we were well on our way.
How proud I was to be on special assignment, my special cargo resting quietly within me. I wonder if he realized that he must spend three days and nights in these cramped quarters before we would reach our destination. No matter, I'm sure that he is still rejoicing at the Lord's provision. It's strange, but not all whales could have handled this job. Some whales couldn't have swallowed a man. Take my cousin, the blue whale, for example. As a Baleen whale with a giant whalebone attached to the upper jaw, he couldn't possibly swallow a man. Even though he is the largest of all whales, the baleen or whalebone in his mouth acts as a strainer, forcing him to feed on (small sea creatures) crustaceans.
No, this was a job for the mighty sperm whale.
How happy I was to be a sperm whale with the capability of swallowing a man as the Lord directed. The Lord could have prepared a great fish such as a Rhinodon shark or some other creature; in fact, He could have created a special fish just to swallow Jonah, or the whole ship, for that matter. Men will undoubtedly talk at great length about this event, and some may insist that a great fish swallowed Jonah. They may even confuse whales with fish, not realizing that we are mammals. Obviously, anyone making such statements has never talked with a whale.
As we approached Nineveh, that exceedingly great city, I wondered if all the rumors that pass through the sea were true. They say that Nineveh is over sixty miles in circumference, with walls over 100 feet high, wide enough to allow three chariots to ride abreast. The city features more than 1500 lofty towers, with 600,000 inhabitants scattered throughout the city and in the surrounding areas outside the walls.
I continued swimming methodically toward the shore where Jonah would continue his journey to Nineveh. Oh, how I wanted to go along to hear him preach and to watch the reaction of the people. Never having been on an assignment like this before, I was curious about the results. Would Jonah be accepted in a heathen city? Would the people listen and accept God's warning of judgment, repenting of their evil and turn to worshipping the true God? People are different from animals because they don't often listen to God. They seem so puffed up at times, positive that they know more than the Creator of the heavens and the Earth. How I wondered about the events that would follow Jonah's ordeal in my belly. My curiosity was harder to contain than Jonah.
At last we reached our destination. The Lord spoke to me, "Spew Jonah out of your mouth." It wasn't easy, but I managed the task. Jonah was propelled out of my mouth and sent sprawling toward the shore. At first he seemed puzzled as head over heels he flew through the water. He regained his senses quickly upon reaching dry land. I waited for a moment to catch a final glimpse of the reluctant prophet, watching as he staggered up the beach. What a horrible sight as he stood there, drenching wet in the bright sunlight. His back, neck, and hands were bleached to a deadly whiteness, taking on the appearance of parchment. Most of his hair was gone. It's hard to imagine the ghastly affects three days in the belly of a whale could have on a man. The gastric juice of my stomach had caused Jonah to bear for the rest of his life the scars of his sin and disobedience to God. How tragic that Jonah disobeyed God and refused to go to Nineveh when the Lord had spoken to him several days before.
When Jonah reached the shore, the inhabitants of the country were horrified. Several of them had witnessed the unusual scene of a man being cast out of the mouth of what they called a giant fish. They certainly could see the results of Jonah's travels in my belly. Most of them were shocked and cowered in fear. But Jonah explained to them what had happened -- that he was a prophet of God sent to warn of Nineveh's destruction -- and the people scattered to spread the news of what they had seen. Word of the prophet spewed from the jaws of a giant sea creature spread throughout the land. I had the feeling that Nineveh would be prepared.
How ironic that God would choose such a means to warn the city of Nineveh, whose people worshipped the fish god Dagon (part man and part fish). One of the names for Dagon is Oannes, which with an "I" in front of it becomes the same as "Jonah." Certainly Nineveh would be unusually ready for God's message.
As Jonah was resting on the beach, the Lord spoke to him a second time, instructing him to arise and go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out that in forty days Nineveh would be destroyed. This time Jonah did not hesitate, but immediately left to do the Lord's bidding.
I watched until Jonah was out of sight. Sadly I turned for home, wondering what effect Jonah's ministry would have on the wicked people of Nineveh. How would the prophet fare with the people? What would God do to the city?
As I pondered these things, the voice of the Lord called to me out of the waters. "Well done," He said, "you have served me well. Because of your faithfulness I will show you things that shall be." There before my eyes the Lord revealed a panoramic view of Nineveh. I could see the towers of the majestic city, the large walls with their beautiful carvings. Just outside the city I beheld Jonah warning of judgement to come.
It was strange to observe the reactions of the people. Some of them ran to tell their friends. Others seemed to panic. A few stood and listened to the prophet, questioning him. All of the people, however, showed genuine concern for the problem, and they began to ask, What shall we do? If we repent and ask the Lord forgiveness, do you think He will hear us and spare the city? Jonah did not answer. He continued his journey through the city of Nineveh, proclaiming the judgement of God upon the wickedness of the people. Steadfastly he preached throughout the city. Nothing that the people did or said affected his message. He was not anxious to be popular or well-received; his only concern was to remain faithful to God in proclaiming his message to the people.
How different Jonah seemed from the reluctant prophet of God who fled to Tarshish. Jonah, that unmovable object of terror to the people of Nineveh, his very life in jeopardy, proclaimed to the people that their wickedness would bring the wrath of God upon the city. Inch by inch, foot by foot, mile by mile, Jonah continued to preach God's message. Uncompromisingly, he predicted the death of every inhabitant.
The new Jonah was a man tempered and molded by God into an instrument of service, but it took three days in my belly to bring Jonah to this point of usefulness. How tragic that man fails to see the need of yielding himself to the will of his Maker. What pitiful misadventures man pursues when he mistakenly judges that he knows more about God's will and purpose than God Himself. Unfortunately, even those who claim to know and worship God often fail to see the need for putting God first. Jonah learned -- but look at the cost, the wasted time, the scars he will carry for the rest of his life. Would it not have been better for Jonah to yield to God the first time? Well, at least Jonah learned his lesson. Look at him, preaching and proclaiming the Word of God to a whole city in need of God. Even I was proud of him.
Undaunted, Jonah continues to proclaim God's message of judgement. For three days he marched through the city, conversing with every person he met. At times he would come to an area and raise his voice so all the people could hear. But it was sad to watch the people of Nineveh. They seemed so frightened, yet they didn't know what to do, even though they realized that this man was from God and they believed his message. How tragic it is for men and women to know of God's judgement and not know how to escape. Can you imagine what it is like to be lost, in danger of extinction with death on the horizon, and nowhere to go? In less than forty days the city of Nineveh would be destroyed. Their very existence was in jeopardy. What could they do?
The king was alarmed. He called all of his counselors together to discuss the prophet's message, and after much deliberation he set forth a proclamation. Already he had shed his royal robe, put on sackcloth and sat in ashes. It looked strange to see a mighty king humbled in sackcloth and ashes. What a strange way to make a royal decree. But that's what he did. He declared a fast by saying, "Let this be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by decree of the king and his nobles. Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock taste anything; let them not feed, nor drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth and cry mightily unto God. Yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from His fierce anger, that we perish not?"
And all the people followed the king's decree -- not because he ordered them, but out of genuine concern and repentance. The whole city wore sackcloth and refused to eat or drink as a sign of their repentance. There was no evil in the city -- no robbery, no killing, no adultery. What could cause a whole city to repent? How could the preaching of one man have such an unusual effect upon the city?
I though for a moment. Then I remembered that Jonah was a Hebrew, and it was known by almost every nation that the Hebrews worshipped the true God. I recalled the great events of history when the Hebrews were in bondage to Egypt and God caused ten plagues to fall in order to force Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go. I also called to mind the destruction of the Egyptian army when God parted the waters of the Red Sea and the Hebrews marched across on dry land, after which Pharaoh's chariots were destroyed by the crushing water, and his army perished. There was the famous battle of Jericho, when the Hebrews marched around the city for seven days, and then on the seventh day the people shouted and blew ram's horns and watched the walls of Jericho come tumbling down. Certainly the people in foreign lands remembered these events. The terrible judgement of God had also been displayed in the area that was once Sodom and Gomorrah. It is not surprising that the people trembled, that the king and his nobles repented in sackcloth and ashes. Everyone feared the judgement of the true God, whose power had clearly been demonstrated time and time again.
The next few days were peaceful and quiet in the city of Nineveh. The Lord saw the genuine sorrow and repentance of the people of Nineveh, and it pleased Him that the people had changed, willingly turning from their wicked ways. And the Lord God, Creator of the heavens and the Earth, did not destroy the city of Nineveh. He spared the city and the 600,000 people as well as the herds and the flocks. God's kindness and mercy followed the genuine repentance of the city of Nineveh. When the people realized that God had granted them deliverance, there was rejoicing and thanks-giving and praise to the Lord for their salvation. It was a glorious day in the history of Nineveh.
Jonah was surely very pleased with the results of his preaching. Surely 600,000 people who repented from their evil ways and sought God's forgiveness gave testimony to the prophet's successful preaching and to the mighty power of God. In the midst of all the jubilation I looked for Jonah, but he was nowhere to be found. Throughout the city I searched, but it seemed futile. Suddenly my panoramic view of Nineveh revealed an angry, disgruntled figure near the outskirts of the city. As the form before me came into focus, I could scarcely believe my eyes. That angry, bitter man was Jonah. Rather than being pleased with the changed lives, he considered himself a failure, for he had prophesied a judgement that had not been fulfilled.
He prayed to God and said, "Oh Lord, was this not my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish? for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and great of kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O Lord, take I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live."
Poor old Jonah? How could anyone be so upset and resentful? The whole purpose of Jonah's visit to the city was to proclaim a warning to Nineveh so the people would repent. I dearly wished that Jonah could understand God's plan for Nineveh. Oh, how I wanted to leap on the shore and tell him to rejoice and be thankful for the will of God accomplished in the lives of the people of Nineveh. But Jonah was not thankful. He wanted to die.
Again the Lord spoke to him and said, "Doest thou well to be angry?" Upon hearing the Word of the Lord, Jonah left the city and sat on the east side. There he made a booth so he could rest in the shade to watch what would happen.
The Lord prepared a great vine to come up over Jonah and shade his head from the sun in order to deliver him from his grief, and Jonah was very happy for the vine. But the next morning God prepared a worm to smite the vine so that it withered and died. Now Jonah was exposed to the sun, which beat upon his head, and the Lord sent a vehement east wind. Jonah fainted from the heat. When he awakened, Jonah murmured, "It is better for me to die than to live."
The Lord again spoke to Jonah saying, "Is your anger really justified?" Jonah replied, "Yes, it is, even unto death." "Jonah," said the Lord, "You have pity on the vine, but you did not plant it or water it or even cause it to grow. I, the Lord, did these things. It came up in a night and perished in a night. I have control over all things. Neither did you have anything to do with the people of Nineveh; they are also my creation, as are all men on this Earth. They were evil, but they repented. Should I not spare Nineveh, that great city with 600,000 children and many cattle? Jonah, do not be concerned for the vine or the people of Nineveh, but worship Me."
Poor Jonah. It was so hard for him to understand God's will and purpose. God's creatures are to worship Him, not give Him orders. We are to serve the Lord joyfully. I wondered if Jonah would ever learn. Man always seems to feel that he knows more than his Creator.
As my picture of Jonah faded, I knew it was my time to go home. God was finished with His dealings with Jonah and the people of Nineveh. As I began the long journey back to my family, I could not help wondering about my unusual experience. What was the meaning of all that had taken place -- Jonah's three days in my belly, his preaching to Nineveh, their repentance and conversion to God? Would these events be of any significance to generations to come? Would they even remember?
Almost as if the Lord anticipated my questions. He showed me these things out of the water. There before my eyes was a picture of the beginning when He created the heavens and the Earth. I could see man being formed from the dust of the Earth -- man, the highest of God's creatures, created to have fellowship with God. But man disobeyed and fell into sin, forcing God to deal harshly with him.
Man, the highest of God's creation, was fashioned with a free will to make his own choice. Why does he choose evil instead of good? Why does he fail to follow God?
Just as my eyes had been treated to a view of the past, the future was unveiled before me. I saw the Lord of creation shed His heavenly glory and come to the Earth to be born in a manger. Think of that! The Creator of heaven and Earth, the Lord Jesus Christ, would be born in a lowly stable.
As Jesus grew in stature and knowledge, He confounded even the wisest of men with His wisdom. Men asked Him for a sign, but He replied that no sign would be given except that of Jonah the prophet.
"For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgement with this generation, and shall condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, a greater than Jonah is here."
Amazing? The story of Jonah in my belly will be given as a sign to those who live in the future? The Lord was telling of a day when it would be necessary for Him to die on the cross for the sins of man. What a horrible thought that man will crucify the Lord, will pierce His hands and feet to hang Him on a cross.
I was grieved to see the Lord of creation suffering for men who didn't seem to care.
After taking Him off the cross, they buried Him in a tomb. I could not understand what was going on, but after three days the stone rolled away to reveal that the Lord had already risen from the dead, appearing triumphantly to His followers. Suddenly I understood the significance of the trials and tribulations of Jonah. As Jonah spent three days in my belly and was encompassed by the shadow of death, the Lord spent three days in the bowels of the Earth. As Jonah was given new life when he was cast out of my stomach, so also the Lord broke the bonds of death, entering into a glorious resurrection of life. By rising from the dead, the Lord can guarantee new life to all those who believe on Him. Suffering the penalty for their sins, He died in their place, and He will grant eternal life in heaven to those who believe. I could scarcely keep from crying when I saw these things. The Lord giving up his heavenly throne and coming to Earth to save sinful man? He must love man very much to submit Himself to such a fate, bestowing all of this so that man might live forever with Him in heaven. What a glorious future for those who believe in Jesus Christ!
Will man choose to believe? Will he accept the account? Will those in the future be able to understand the meaning of Jonah and his ordeal in the belly of the whale? For that matter, will man really accept the story of Jonah being swallowed by a whale, surviving for three days before he was deposited onto dry land to proclaim his message? Will man believe, or will he consider the whole account a fairy tale?
Before I had time to consider all the answers to these questions, my eyes beheld a great ship, The Star of the East. The ship's log showed the date of February, 1891. A map revealed the area as the vicinity of the Falkland Islands. My eyes were focused upon the lookout, who had sighted a large sperm whale three miles away. Two boats were lowered, containing men armed with spears. Suddenly one of the harpooners speared the poor whale. The second boat joined in the attack but was upset by a lash of the great sperm whale's tale. The crew fell into the sea, one of the sailors drowned, but the other, James Bartley, simply disappeared without a trace. Later, when the whale was killed, the crew began to attack it with axes and spades to remove the blubber. Working all day and night, they attached some tackle to the stomach the next day and hoisted it on deck. Presently the sailors were startled by something in the stomach that gave spasmodic signs of life. Inside they found their missing sailor, doubled up and unconscious. Carefully they laid him on the deck and treated him to a bath of sea water, which soon revived him. At the end of three weeks he was entirely recovered from the shock and resumed his duties. His face, neck and hands were bleached to a deadly white, however, and his skin took on the appearance of parchment. How like Jonah he looked, carrying the scars of his ordeal for the rest of his life. James Bartley affirmed that he probably would have lived inside his house of flesh until he starved, for he lost consciousness through fright, not through lack of air.
As a whale, I found the sight most terrifying. I have never known men who combed the seas looking for whales. Although I shuddered at the mere thought, still I was aware of the importance of this great spectacle. Although men choose to reject the story of Jonah, the experience of James Bartley will serve as an example that such an event was truly possible. I find it hard to believe that man needs so much help in order to accept the miracles of God. Doesn't man realize that the God who created the Heaven and the Earth and all the animals, and the God who sustains these animals and protects them, can certainly use them to fulfill His purpose? Surely God has the power to perform what He says He did. In the light of what God has accomplished in the past, can't man realize that God controls the future? It is tragic that with all the evidence God has provided, man still refuses to believe.
My eyes focused upon one final scene. It was a picture of the last judgment, the destruction of heaven and Earth. One day the Lord of creation would judge mankind, destroying the heavens and the Earth. In those last days, when men continue to scoff at God, serving themselves, worshiping their foolish pride, and thinking only of themselves, the same warning of judgement that was given to Nineveh will hold true. Those who deny the Lord and continue to serve themselves will perish. Those who believe will be spared. My heart pounded within me. Even for a whale this was an awesome sight. I recalled the account passed down by my ancestors of the great Flood in which all the land animals and men were destroyed. The men of that day refused to believe God's warning; I wonder if it will be different in the last days. I certainly hope so. One would think that with so many examples and evidences of God's power, man would believe God and follow Him.
I trust that the warning to the people of Nineveh and their repentance and conversion to God will act as a sign to future generations in the days after the Lord of creation sheds His precious blood for the sins of mankind. If they will only accept and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, they will be saved. In that day men will have the choice. I hope they make the right one and choose to follow God.
It has been a long journey, but I have been pleased to serve my Lord. If He ever needs me again, I am ready; whatever He decrees I will obey. What a privilege to serve Him and to become aware of His remarkable purpose for man. May man learn the same.