Monday, May 25, 2015

The Great Pursuit: When God Won't Let Us Get Away, Jonah Week 2

Suburban Stereotype, Jonah, The Great Pursuit: When God Won't Let Us Get Away

Last week we discussed that God called Jonah to go preach to the Ninevites because the Ninevites' "wickedness has come up before [God]" (Jonah 1:2).

We also discussed how Jonah jumped a ship and took the FIRST ticket out of town--to the farthest point on the map from the destination God wanted him to take.

In fact, if you're just joining us, please refer to THIS POST to get caught up.

Chapter Two opens with Jonah in the middle of a gut-wrenching prayer from inside the belly of the whale. {I find that poetic.}

Look at verse 3:
"You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me, all your waves and breakers swept over me."
First of all, if we recall, it wasn't God who "hurled" Jonah into the deep. It was due to his own disobedience and the fact that he was endangering innocent people's lives that he was thrown into the ocean--at his own suggestion, I might add.

But aside from you were reading his heart-felt, pleading words to the Lord, did any of it resonate with you? Did it ring a bell? Have you ever found yourself in a mess, "drowning" as your mistakes and LIFE piled on top of you, like waves in the ocean? Have you ever gasped for breath and begged God to save you? Has life ever pulled you under like seaweed wrapped around your head (v 5)?

I have.

Whether it's of our own doing or a path we traveled down inadvertently, but later regretted, the desperation is overwhelming.

The desperation in Jonah's prayer is palpable.

And then verse 7 cuts to the chase:

"When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple."

When the going gets tough and we realize the folly of our ways, that's when we tend to cling to God. No matter how we may fight Him tooth and nail, when we find ourselves in over our heads, we know who we can turn to: The Only One who has the power to save us.

At this point of the book of Jonah, his prayer comes after being tossed about in the ocean and then swallowed by a fish. This prayer is when he realizes he's safe from the immediate threat of the ocean, but not quite free from harm. He has no idea what's happening at this point, but he has some time to catch his breath and think things through.

Do you know that place? Are you there now?

Are you on the right path, but still not quite sure how things are going to shake out?

Jonah found himself in the dark and relying completely on God's grace to rescue him. He knew God meant business. Jonah had two options: Commit to God's calling to go preach to the Ninevites or lose his life.

Verse 9 shows a new mindset within Jonah:
"But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good, Salvation comes from the Lord."
And there we have it: Jonah had vowed to the Lord and was trying to renege. Obviously, the Lord doesn't take kindly to renegging. {As an aside, feel free to check out a devotional I wrote today on Deliberate Women about being fully committed HERE.}

Also...and this is a sidenote but my mind was BLOWN by this so maybe yours will be as well:

Look at verse 9 closely. See this portion:
"Salvation comes from the Lord." 
"Salvation" in the original Greek meant this:  יְשׁוּעָה yeshuw`ah

Do you see what I see? Yeshua!

Yeshua = Jesus! (You can read an article HERE that talks about how yeshua = Joshua = Jesus.)

How amazing that 750+ years before Jesus was even born, Jonah NAMED Him as our Salvation! Praise God! His Word never ceases to amaze me!

And just as Jonah acknowledged the crux of our entire relationship with the Lord:
"And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry ground."
That's where chapter 2 leaves us. Jonah did some soul searching and came to the conclusion that God, and God alone, can save him. He realized that he should have honored his vow to the Lord all along.

So let's take a moment to ask ourselves some questions:

  1. Have you ever found yourself in the pit and prayed to the Lord from the very depths of your soul?
  2. Has God ever used extraordinary measures to reach you? If yes, did you recognize it as God at the time?
  3. Have you ever found yourself in a place where you were out of the pit, but not yet where you needed to be?

Feel free to write down any thoughts that came to mind in the "Notes" section of your FREE PDF download, which you can find HERE.

Let me know what you're learning! Feel free to comment here or on my Facebook page! Too shy to comment? Please email me HERE. I would LOVE to know how God is speaking to you through the book of  Jonah.
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