That Great Thing

I was listening to a conversation several days ago between a believer and an unbeliever. The unbeliever proposed that it would be scientifically impossible for a whale to swallow a man – not to mention he survive. I chose not to get involved in the debate because both sides presented irrational axioms in order to disprove each other’s case. Unfortunately the believer, in his effort to prove his opposition wrong, appeared to have no spiritual insight of the scripture whatsoever.

Focus on ‘Great’!

Jonah 1:2
Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city…

Jonah 1:4
But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea…

Jonah 1:12
…I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.

Jonah 1:17
Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah…

The word ‘great’ is mentioned 4 times in the first chapter of Jonah.

The first ‘great’ represents an opportunity or an assignment for Jonah. “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city…”. God presented an amazing opportunity for Jonah to do something impactful that would save countless lives.

The second ‘great’ represents God’s omnipresence. The third verse states that Jonah’s goal was to flee from God’s presence, but God sent out a ‘great’ wind to teach Jonah that there is no place he can go where God does not already exist.

The third ‘great’ represents God’s grace. Jonah realized that he could not escape God’s presence and requested to be thrown off the ship so that God’s grace would extend upon everyone on that ship except for him.

The fourth ‘great’ represents God’s omniscient power. God being all-seeing and all-knowing knew that Jonah was going to flee from his assignment. The scripture says that God prepared a ‘great’ fish to swallow up Jonah. The ‘great’ fish was ‘prepared’ (synonyms: fit, framed, able). Even though Jonah had given up on himself – God never gave up on Jonah. God had prepared a ‘great’ fish – not a whale, but a ‘great fish’. Great in this text has very little to do with the size of the fish, but the unconventional nature of the fish (how it was fit, framed, and able). The fish was ‘great’ not because of it’s size, but because it was atypical and uncommon.

If an individual accomplishes a ‘great’ fete it does not mean that he or she has to be large or tall in stature, but the fete that he/she accomplished was uncommon or perhaps never seen before. This fish was specifically ‘prepared’ and ‘able’ to swallow a human being, therefore God created an uncommon fish to perform an uncommon task. That is what made the fish ‘GREAT’.

God has prepared uncommon abilities, opportunities and scenarios for many of us that constantly defy human logic and science. At times we even scratch our heads in wonderment when we witness and experience such unexplainable ‘greatness’.

Rise Forward Question:

What great thing has God prepared for you?

Rise Forward Activity:
  • Ask yourself what are those uncommon characteristics that uniquely separates you from anyone else.
  • Revisit those unexplainable incidents you experienced or witnessed that you may have labeled as luck or happenstance.
Rise Forward Quotes:

“The wisdom of the wise is an uncommon degree of common sense.”
– Dean Inge

“Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”
– Booker T. Washington