Thursday, January 17, 2008
What ius this passage all about?
Jonah recalls what happened, how he felt, what he did and how God saved him when he was thrown overboard from the ship.
What can I learn from it?
This prayer or poem or however it should best be described is pretty clear about how Jonah saw his predicament (eg v5) but Jonah wass also clear on who he felt was to blame, and it wasn't the sailors who threw him overboard. Jonah states (v3), "You hurled me into the deep... all your waves and breakers swept over me." It was certainly a desperate situation for a man who probably couldn't swim. I'm not surprised that it was only when Jonah felt himself about to die that he remembered his God to whom he could call out for help (v7). Jonah didn't stop praying once he was (relatively) safe inside the great fish that God has provided, either (v1). God answered Jonah's prayer for salvation and his promises of sacrifice (demonstrating repentance) and thanksgiving: "And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land." (v10) This last verse doesn't indicate a God who was only punishing Jonah as long as he was recalcitrant. Rather, God did what He had planned to do to get Jonah to obey Him. God's will is always greater than our self-will.
Jonah states three times that it was God who saved him from a watery grave: "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." (v2) and, "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." (v6) A fourth time, Jonah proclaims, "Salvation comes from the LORD." (v9) God is mighty to save, and He does protect us and strengthen us in trials which serve to build us up in Christ-likeness.
How does this apply to my own life?
When I am in trouble, whether it is a result of my own sin or for some other reason, I need to turn to God who is able to save me. God is not in the business of making frivolous wishes come true, but He is the only source of eternal salvation. Ultimately, I need to remember that my life is in His hands and He loves me and desires the best for me. God needs to mold me into the person