A True Fish Story
Nineveh was a large and important city. It was filled with people who were very wicked. They did not love or obey God. But God loved them. So He sent a preacher named Jonah to warn them. Jonah was to say: "Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown!" Jonah, however, did not want to go. Instead, he went to the seaside city of Joppa and got on a ship to sail away. Jonah thought he could run and hide from God. He was in for a big surprise!
The Bible says that God "sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up" (Jonah 1:4). Jonah knew that he was the reason God had sent the terrible storm. He did not want the people on the ship to be hurt, so he told them to throw him into the ocean. When they did, "the sea ceased from its raging" (Jonah 1:15). The storm was over, and the boat was safe.
But Jonah's troubles were not over. God "prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah" (Jonah 1:17). Jonah was in the belly of this big fish three days and three nights. Jonah realized he had made a terrible mistake by not obeying God. He was very sorry, and prayed to God to forgive him. God heard Jonah's prayer, and "spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land" (Jonah 2:10). Again, God told Jonah to go preach to the people of Nineveh.
This time, Jonah did what God said. Guess what happened? Jonah 2:5 tells us that "the people of Nineveh believed God." They were sorry for their wickedness. They wanted God to forgive them, just as Jonah had wanted God to forgive him. Jonah's trip to Nineveh had been a big success!