Jonah’s Prayer (25-10-21)
God called Jonah to go into the heart of opposition territory and preach against its corruption. And Jonah went off in a boat in the opposite direction. God sent a storm to encourage Jonah to change his mind and, to survive the storm, the sailors threw Jonah overboard.
Bible Reading: Jonah 1:17, 2:1-2, 6-10
Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. 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.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit.
When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord,
and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.
Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God's love for them.
But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, 'Salvation comes from the Lord.'"
And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
Leaving aside the dramatic nature of the story of Jonah, I think there are situations in all of our lives where we feel we should be doing something that we really don’t want to do. We ignore it, but the niggle persists and gives us no peace until we change course and get it done. This can be true of things God is calling us to do; we may feel afraid, or inadequate for the task or, like Jonah, we don’t agree with what we are being asked to do.
It reminds me a bit of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, ‘Let this cup pas away from me, yet not my will but yours be done’. Obedience for Jonah resulted in repentance in Nineveh; obedience for Jesus resulted in the salvation of the world.
Are there things God might be asking you to do, over which you are prevaricating? Can you do a Jonah; turn round and be obedient to God’s voice within you?
There is another similarity between Jonah and Jesus. In the same way that Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days, Jesus was in the tomb for three days. Jonah descended to the depths of the sea and God delivered him; Jesus descended to the depths of death and hell and rose victorious to set us free.
There may also be times in our lives when it feels like we have descended to the depths. Even there we can call on the Lord for he will deliver us. There is freedom in Jesus; salvation comes from the Lord.
Thank you lord Jesus that you were obedient to death in order to bring me life and freedom.
Help me to walk in obedience to your word and to the inner promptings of your Holy Spirit.
This I believe (The Creed)