We are now drawing to a close of our weekend together, although there will still be swimming, and other activities this afternoon. I was pleased yesterday to get a fastest lap time on the gokarts of 21.150. If any of my readers were here and got a faster time, do feel free to let me know!
Terry came to speak to us again on Jonah 2 and 3. Perhaps the key verse in this passage is God’s word coming again to Jonah. God is glorious and holy but gives people a second chance repeatedly in the Bible. For example Abraham took over and tried to do what God was meant to do. He made something happen. Moses spent 40 years in the desert.
The Jonah Prayed – Wouldn’t you? In the deep in the belly of a great fish where else has he got to turn? He should have started by praying, but at least he finished by doing so. The prodigal son turns when the unpredictable struck. God sends crises to teach us to get to know him. Life can be very hard. Real prayer isn’t just worrying out loud. Those who cling to idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs (NIV) We often allow certain values to become more important than our God -eg worrying about schools.
What did Jonah Pray? He cried for help. John Wimber used to encourage us to pray “God, Help!” He knew that God had brought him to this place. He couldn’t run away from God really. Don’t resist the tug of God, you can’t guarantee that God wont banish you. Romans 1 says “God gave them up”. Hell is when God gives up on you.
He turns back to the temple, recognizing that he is in covenant with God. He said he would pay his vow. Psalm 66 says “I will pay you my vows…” We must say “I will do it Lord!” Don’t think you are disqualified.
What did God do? Jonah is at his lowest point, and then God acts. God can command anything – even a fish! God commanded the walls of jericho, the red sea, the river jordan, the lions, the flames. Jesus is in the mission with us. He is not back there wondering how we will get on. He says to Paul “I have lots of people here”.
God doesn’t send him back onto the water, but onto dry ground. He hits the ground walking. God can get you right out of your trouble. God can control our circumstances. We MUST be strong in prayer.
God forgives him absolutely and he is completely reinstated. He took things up back where he left off. We have to learn how to re-gather and pick up the broken. There are not many who never trip. We need to get people back on their feet again. Jonah then obeyed “according to the word of the Lord.” In our marriages, in our workplaces, everything must be done according to Biblical principles. Eg we still do marriage! But we do it God’s way. The son has always submitted to the Father, so our marriages reflect that. He will always be submitted to the father. That is his happy lifestyle. He is totally equal to the Father, but loves to do his will.
God was then mightily with Jonah and a revival struck. But, God’s blessing on him still did not make him the perfect man. He messed up in the last chapter. God didn’t say “stay in the fish till you are thoroughly sanctified”.