Jonah and the Big Fish/Whale
Heads for the Sea
This is one of the strangest accounts in the bible. It begins with God commanding Jonah to preach repentance to the people of the city of Nineveh. Jonah did not want to go near this city as it was filled with wickedness, evil and many enemies of the Israel people. Jonah was a stubborn man who took it upon himself to decide to catch a ship to Tarhish which was in the complete opposite direction of Nineveh. With this act it was looked upon as Jonah running away from God.
God Sends Raging Storm
The crew on the ship were all terrified that their ship was going to be crushed into little pieces by the raging storm. Jonah realized this was God showing his anger at him for disobeying his command. Jonah turned to the crew of the ship telling them to throw him overboard as it was him that God wanted. The crew didn't want to do this they tried to row to shore but then the waves got even higher; this was when they threw Jonah overboard. No sooner had they done this when the sea became calm. The sailors had made a sacrifice to God - that being Jonah; all thought Jonah had drowned. They swore their vows to God.
Swallowed by Great Fish
Jonah didn't drown but instead he was swallowed by a great fish or whale that God had provided. Jonah spent 3 days in the belly of the great fish until God ordered it to spit him out on dry ground. During these 3 days in the belly of the great fish Jonah repented to God asking his forgiveness and saying "Salvation comes from the Lord". God had shown compassion towards Jonah by saving his life and deciding to give him a second chance to right his wrongs. He was ready to go forth and do the Lord's bidding.
Jonah the Prophet
Jonah now headed to the city of NIneveh where upon his arrival he started to proclaim to the people that the city would be destroyed in 40 days. The people believed Jonah and they started to repent covering themselves with ashes and wearing sackcloths. When God seen their actions of repent he decided to let them live.
Jonah Questions God Again
When Jonah stops to rest outside of the city he can't understand why God showed mercy to these people that were known enemies of Israels. He felt a bit of anger towards God for feeling compassion for these enemies. It is said that God provided a vine to Jonah to shelter him from the sun and heat. The next day a worm of God's ate the vine making it wither. As Jonah became faint in the heat he complained to God again. God rebuked Jonah on being more concerned about a vine rather than showing concern for the 120,000 lost people of Nineveh. This story comes to an end with God showing compassion and concern for even the wicked people of our world.
I think having more compassion is something we must all try and have a little more of. As in this story Jonah seems to quickly forget how God showed compassion towards him in saving him from drowning. Instead he is displeased that God is showing compassion for those who he considered enemies of his people. But this is not the way of the Lord. The Lord can see the good where others cannot. I guess we should all try and practice being less critical of those who may be different from ourselves such as in choice of Religion. We should treat others how we want to be treated or better yet "treat others as God treats us".
Acknowledgement: NicoleMarina on her suggestion of using "treat others as God treats us".