Jonah and the Animals

One last post regarding the Book of Jonah.   The book is loaded with animal images, beside the whale.  First, Jonah’s name means “dove,” and how he likes to fly.  After the great fish comes the animals of Nineveh: the cattle, pigs, goats, chickens and dogs all dressed in ashes and sackcloth (3:8).   That sight alone would be worth the price of admission.  Then in the final chapter, a bush grow quickly in a day and then shrivels when eaten by a worm.  In each case (except the “dove” named Jonah) the creature follows the commands of the Creator.

Jay and Molly dwarfed by the Grand Tetons

The book of Jonah proclaims the tremendous power of God as creator, managing the natural order of land, sea and sky.  In this summer travel season many of families are rediscovering what a marvelous and awesome world we live in.  I loved this recent photograph of Jay Hickey and his daughter Molly.   First I have always loved the fierce beauty of the Grand Teton Mountains.  But this picture also captures how small we humans are in the vast order of God’s creation.  In a gentle, ironic way the book of Jonah calls us to be faithful, loving creatures of God, serving our place in God’s creation.  Even Jonah, the wayward dove, discovers his place in God’s plan.

In the book of Jonah, God is the LORD of creation, but he has given humanity tremendous freedom.  Will we use this freedom to bless God’s world or to curse it?  To discover God or to ignore the Spirit?

Lord Jesus, create within me a sense of wonder and awe at your marvelous handiwork.

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