The story of Jonah and the whale is one that all Christian children learn, and it is certainly a tale of high drama and fantasy. How could a man possibly survive being eaten by a whale and live in the beast’s stomach for three days? Clearly, there was something supernatural going on. But the lesson we should learn from the book of Jonah is much deeper and more profound than the miracle of God intervening to stop Jonah from fleeing and then supernaturally preserving his life to send him to Ninevah.
You see, Ninevah was the capital of the brutal Assyrian Empire. The Assyrians had brutally repressed the people of Israel, and were known for their horrific treatment of cities they captured. People were tortured is savage ways and women were raped. Jonah was a patriot who had no desire to bring God’s message of forgiveness to the people of Ninevah. He wanted God do destroy the city.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. — Genesis 1:28
We hate authority, and our hatred of authority comes from our rebellion against God’s authority. This rebellion causes us to seek to upend the natural order of the universe, and place the lower over the greater. There is no more perfect example of this than the “animal rights” movement. God placed all of creation under Man, and “animal rights” extremists seek to invert that order. They place animals over man, even going so far as to police our language. (See People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ posts on Twitter and Facebook.)
Here is a dirty little secret: Every government on earth is a theocracy. Every government in human history has been a theocracy. All authority flows from Almighty God, as we learn in Romans 13. Therefore, we are to obey the civil magistrate that draws authority from God, unless that government orders us to disobey the higher law we find in Scripture. Christians should be the best citizens a righteous government can have.