Jonah 2:8-9, NIV
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.
Jonah was in the belly of the fish. He lay there with seaweed wrapped round his head, having the ride of his life in an under-water roller-coaster from which there was no escape. It’s amazing how being in impossible situations changes the intensity and urgency of your prayer life. Repentance comes easily when the only obvious solution to the problem is imminent death and an earlier than expected appointment with one’s Maker!
There was no doubt that Jonah was seeing things from a new perspective – very different from the perspective he had when running away from the appointment with destiny in Nineveh, which God had planned for him. Anything which comes between a servant of God and the God he is serving is an idol.
Jonah did not want to go and preach to such a wicked people. The idol in Jonah’s heart was selfishness driven by fear. But it was a worthless idol – and as a result he was now forfeiting all the grace that would have been his, if he had obeyed God first time round and gone to Nineveh.
“Oh God – I’m sorry. I’ll make good my vow to serve you! Whatever you want, I’ll do! Even go to Nineveh, Lord. But God, it’s rather difficult just now – I’ve got a bit of a problem. There doesn’t seem any way off this roller-coaster. Is there anything you can do about it?” And with that the Lord commanded the fish to vomit Jonah up onto dry land. Jonah’s premature appointment with his Maker had been postponed.
There are so many lessons in this amazing story, but the most important one for today prompts me to ask the question, “Are you running from any of God’s plans and purposes for your life?” If so, may I encourage you to get on your knees before God, deal with any worthless idols that have stood between you and obedience, and look to God for His grace as you ask Him how to put things right between you and Him.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for this amazing lesson from your Word. Help me to examine my own heart and see if there are any ways in which I have been running from your calling upon my life. I want to put things right – please show me how. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.