Friday, January 17, 2014

Jonah 2:1-9

v. 1-9 "From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God.  He said:"

"In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
From the depths of the grave I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.
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.
I said, 'I have been banished
from your sight;
yet I will look again
toward your holy temple.'
The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you brought my life up from the pit,
O Lord my God. 

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 
forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
But I, with a song of thanksgiving,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
Salvation comes from the Lord."

When we are in the darkest places we tend to bow down to God.  It is never too late to turn towards God, but a life lived only turning to God in our misery means we will be missing out on so many things in this life.   Jonah said that he called to God and God answered him.  Yet Jonah did not answer correctly when God called Him to a task that he hated to the very core of his being.  Even in what looks like the end for Jonah he says that God is compassionate, He does not turn from us when we call.  The problem is that we turn away from Him when the call comes to us and we do not like what we hear.  Jonah is in deep, he speaks so passionately that he was to the roots of the mountains.  This my friend is what many of us feel like and we do not have to venture down to the depths of the sea to know how Jonah feels.  We could be surrounded by sunshine, but what we see is no light in sight.  It's as if our vision is so clouded over with sorrow that all we can see is darkness.

Jonah was giving a prayer of thanksgiving.  Our words are powerful for good or evil.  I hear many things that people say as if the words spoken did not matter and it makes me think to watch what I say.  Think of speeches throughout history that have inspired us to do better or those propelled by hatred to start a war. They wield the same weapon, just used to get different results. Jonah thanked God for who He was and what He has done.  Many times in the bible people in deep despair will speak of God's goodness and how low they sank.  It is important to take responsibility for our actions and acknowledge them before God.  When we realized how far we have come, only then can we put into perspective the depths we sank to and the heights that God cares for us in.  It is interesting that Jonah spoke about people who cling to worthless idols, at first this seems to be odd that he was saying this in the belly of a great fish.  It was as if he were speaking to a large crowd, instead of himself in the darkness.  I think he was speaking about how pride is an idol if we let it take the place of God and think that we are better than other people.  Jonah had an issue with pride that had to be dealt with in a severe way.

Jonah could have avoided this situation if only he would have listened to God in the first place.  Would we rather be used by God to help shine His light in this world or be passed over because we ran like Jonah? God does not have to use any of us, He wants to use cracked pots so that His light can shine through the cracks so the world can see that it is not us, but Him.

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