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The tale of Jonah and the Worm


By Stephen A. Curry

This month, I’m looking at some Bible stories as they might have been told by the great Paul Harvey. Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story segment ran six days a week for almost 30 years. They started with something most people knew and finished with something most people did not. Today, I look at the story of Jonah. You have heard of Jonah and the Whale, what about Jonah and the Worm.

Poor Jonah. He was preaching God’s word to the people of Israel. Then God tells him to go to Nineveh, the largest city in the world, the capital of the Assyrian empire. Jonah would have none of it. He boarded a boat headed to Spain.

But God saw what was going on. He sent a fierce storm against the little boat. Even the experienced sailors were terrified. They decided to cast lots to find out who it was that was bringing such wrath upon them. The lot fell on Jonah. Jonah admitted he was running away from God. The only thing the sailors could do was to throw him overboard. Then the storm would stop. The sailors prayed that God would not hold them guilty and reluctantly threw Jonah into the sea. Immediately the storm stopped, the wind stilled, the waves calmed. But God sent a big fish that swallowed Jonah. Jonah prayed. “You win, God. I will do what you say.” After three days, the fish vomited Jonah out onto dry land.

And now, the rest of the story.

So God calls to Jonah once again. Go to Nineveh and preach the word I give to you. So Jonah went and began preaching. And the Ninevites believed him. Even the king believed him. The king issued a proclamation the whole city was to fast and put aside their evil ways. God saw they had changed their ways and forgave them.

Jonah was furious. He found a place east of the city, built himself a hut then sat down and waited for God to carry out His wrath. God watched Jonah throw his little tantrum and caused a plant to grow next to Jonah’s little hut. This gave Jonah shade. Then God sent a tiny worm. And this tiny worm started eating the plant and the plant withered. Now the sun beat down on Jonah and a hot, dry wind blew in his face. Jonah was miserable.

“Oh, just let me die,” Jonah said to God.

God replied, “Oh, Jonah, you had nothing to do with this plant. It grew and you were happy. It died and you are upset. There are thousands of my children in Nineveh that are saved. And you do not rejoice. I love all my children. You brought My word to them and these, my precious children now live together the way I want all My children to live together. You wanted destruction upon your neighbors. It is my nature to love.”

And now you know the rest of the story.

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