One of my favorite Bible stories is the story of Jonah. Jonah is a very short book of the Bible with only four chapters. While it isn't long compared to other books of the Bible, the impact and power of that story is incredible. It's incredible what God continuously reveals to me each time I study it.
We are currently going through the book of Jonah at my church each Sunday, and once again, God revealed some pretty cool things to me.
If you don't know the story of Jonah, here's a quick summary.
The story of Jonah and the whale begins with God calling Jonah to go to Ninevah. Jonah decides that he doesn't want to do that, so he runs away. He ends up on a ship, and a huge storm comes. The sailors don't know what to do.
Jonah suggests that he be thrown into the sea so that it will become calm, as it was his fault that the storm had come. So, they do as he says and the sea is calmed. After Jonah is thrown into the sea, the Lord sends a huge fish to swallow Jonah.
Jonah is in the fish's belly for three days and three nights. While he is in the belly, Jonah prays. He knows he has done wrong and needs God to bring him out of this pit. So, the Lord commands the fish to spit Jonah out, and God commands him a second time to go to Ninevah to preach the gospel. Luckily, Jonah learns his lesson and follows God's command this time.
Through the story of Jonah, God revealed to me that, even when I am not faithful, God still remains faithful.
Jonah's prayer in chapter two shows us that God doesn't lift us up to let us down. He lifts us up out of our pits and restores us in our brokenness. When we call for help, sometimes we don't want to cooperate. Then he has to send us on a harder route because we didn't cooperate in the first place.
Just when we think we have life figured out, God laughs and interrupts.
It's always so interesting when I think about how similar Jonah and I are when it comes to disobedience. Jonah eventually does what God commands him to do — it just takes a fish swallowing him for Jonah to realize that he should probably listen to God's command.
Even delayed obedience is still disobedience.
With this story, there are a few questions that need answering.
1. Why did God prepare the fish to swallow Jonah?
Because it is his plan, and he is sovereign over our lives.Even in our disobedience, God still works. His ways will still prevail. It poses the question, "Am I yielding to his sovereignty?"
2. Why did it take a fish swallowing Jonah for him to realize that he needed to obey God?
Because we don't turn from our sin until a crisis occurs. We only change in times of crisis — and only after we truly understand the depth of our sins. We rationalize our sin. We think we have a right or entitlement. If I hold onto my sin, it creates a barrier in my relationship with God, and I don't get to experience all that he has for me.
3. How do you respond to sin?
When the sailors realize Jonah is their problem, they take it into their own hands. But did they consider talking to God — the one who created the storm? If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans, and he'll intervene when he needs to.
If we are being real and raw, we have to become broken people instead of proud people. We have to be willing to yield so that others can experience God's blessings. Jonah had to become broken to understand God's grace.
You are where you are because of choices you've made. And God will rescue you from the depths of the pit, just like he did Jonah.
It would probably be easier if we weren't stubborn and listened to God the first time he commanded us to do something. But we're human and will make these mistakes.
Be thankful for God's grace in those times. It's something that I am slowly learning, too.
God wants to rescue you because of grace. In 40 years, you'll want to see God's transformational changes. Take some time to talk to God about the broken areas of your life. God doesn't allow his children to get far before he brings them back. He loves us far too much to let that happen.
So friend, what do you need to be rescued from today?
If you are struggling today, my hope is that you are able to pray this prayer with full confidence and faith.
Today I realize that I am much like Jonah. I know that you have rescued me and created me for a purpose. I know that you have a plan for me just like you did with Jonah.I am a broken, sinful person who is powerless that needs a gracious God.Jonah ran from the presence of you and I too am running. I don't want to run from You anymore. I am sorry for the times I haven't trusted You. I am sorry for the times I have run from what I have been called to. Father, give me wisdom and guidance to go in the way that You have called me to live.
In Jesus Name,
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