August Reading: The Book of Jonah
August Memory Verse: Psalm 84:1-2
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"But you Lord, brought my life up from the pit, Oh Lord my God." Jonah 2:6[b]
One humongous thing stands out to me as I read Jonah Chapter 2.
I will give you a minute to browse over it.
Do you see what I see?
Jonah is in the belly of the fish.
He prays a sincere, desperate, heart-felt prayer.
After Jonah's prayer, this is what the next sentence says:
"And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land." Jonah 2:10
Are you seeing this?
Jonah prays. God answers.
Yes, that is the obvious.
However, the thing I also see is that Jonah says in his prayer that the Lord had brought his life up from the pit. Notice how Jonah says this as he is IN the belly of the fish.
Jonah is not yet out of trouble at this point. He is in the depths of the ocean, stuck in the belly of huge fish, yet, he is praising God.
How can this be?
Sometimes when we are faced with the most difficult situations in life, we see God the clearest. We see Him through different eyes. Suddenly, the clutter of all of the other things that have distorted our vision filters out and give us a new vision of our Savior.
Jonah was praising the Lord, thanking Him for saving him, before he was actually physically saved.
Are y'all following me here?
Jonah's perspective changed. As he spent time in the dark and lonely belly of the fish, his spirit recognized the enormity of God. His spirit recognized his utter dependence on God.
Jonah realized that God was the only One who could save him, and the only One who was capable of saving Him.
We often can become self-sufficient and put God in a small box. We forget that God is the whole purpose and reason for our existence. Until we are faced down in the pit [or in the belly of a fish, like Jonah], we often forget about God.
Jonah saw things crystal clear while in that dark and lonely place. The things that he once thought mattered, suddenly did not.
“Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them." Jonah 2:8
Whatever idols Jonah had, suddenly disappeared. God was the only one on Jonah's mind. God took His rightful place in Jonah's heart even when things seemed pretty dim for Jonah's future.
Jonah saw the big picture. He realized that nothing was more important than praising and worshiping God. Not even his life.
Jonah got right with God, but it was before he was spit out onto dry land by the fish.
Do we sometimes wait to be saved and rescued from our situations before we decide to fully give our hearts to the Lord?
Do we wait until God gives us what we want before committing our ways to His?
I wonder how long Jonah would have stayed in that fish if he had not have prayed this heart changing prayer.
I wonder how long I have delayed God's deliverance in areas of my life because I haven't fully surrendered those things to Him.
Something to ponder:
1) Are you in a dark season of life like Jonah found himself? If so, will you spill your heart out to the Lord today, just as Jonah did in his prayer? Thank Him for delivering you, even though you don't yet seem delivered. Thank Him for what He will do. Thank Him for what He is doing. Praise Him in that pit!
“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple." Jonah 2:7
2) Do you ever find yourself putting God in a box and maintaining a sense of self-sufficiency? This can lead us down dangerously wrong paths---just like Jonah. I encourage all of us today to acknowledge God's place in our lives. When we remember His place in our lives, we remember His Power, His Presence, and His Purpose in our lives.
"In my distress I called to the Lord,and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,and you listened to my cry." Jonah 2:1-2
Jonah's life is teaching me,