As we continued our study in Jonah, we saw last Sunday that God had prepared a "great fish" that was in the right place at the right time to swallow the prodigal prophet. We will see this Sunday what it was like for Jonah to spend 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of this great fish. But is there a fish big enough to swallow a man whole and to have a stomach big enough that the man he swallowed could live inside of it for 3 days? Here are a few facts:
The whale shark (top picture) is the largest fish on the planet. The largest one measures about 66 feet long and weighs 74,957 pounds (that is the same weight as 375 men put together who each weighed 200 pounds). The whale shark got its name because the shark's mouth is shaped like the type of whales that eat the same diet. The whale shark is known as the "gentle giant"for its non-predatory behaviour. Stories exist of whale shark's swallowing a horse, a reindeer minus its antlers, and a sea cow the size of an ox.
The blue whale (bottom picture) is the largest animal on the planet. The largest one measured about 110 feet and weighed 400,000 pounds (that is the same weight as 2,000 men put together who each weighed 200 pounds.). It's mouth measured 12ft wide and its nasal sinus measured up to 7ft high, 7ft wide and 14ft long. The Blue Whale has 4-6 stomach compartments which could easily fit several men. A 15 foot long shark was once actually found in the stomach of a blue whale.
Both of these creatures eat much in the same way. They don't chew. They feed by opening their mouths, submerging their lower jaw, and rushing speedily through the water. After straining out the water, they swallow whatever is left.
Either of these creatures, or several others, could have done the job with Jonah. There are stories you can Google and read about in which men since Jonah have supposedly been swallowed by a great fish, like those described above, and survived. Are they true? I'll leave that to "Myth-busters" to decide. But I know the Jonah of story is true! Why? Because I believe that the Bible is God's Word. And the more I learn about God from the Bible the more I can easily believe that He could speak to a great fish and have it in the right place at the right time to swallow Jonah, preserve Jonah, and then deposit Jonah on dry land 3 days later.
But what was it like for Jonah to be in the belly of the fish? Let's play an imagination game. Pretend you are Jonah in the belly of the whale. Ready? Answer these questions as if you were inside the belly of the fish:
What do you see?
What can you smell?
What can you taste?
What can you hear?
What can you touch?
This Sunday from Jonah 2 we will see what it was like for Jonah over those 3 days and how being in the belly of the fish impact him.