(Bible reading: Jonah 1 & 2)
Jonah was commanded by God to declare His Word to Nineveh, but instead of obeying His voice, he boarded a ship to escape to Tarshish and away from the presence of the Lord. There is a price to pay in disobeying God.
…every violation and disobedience received its just punishment. (Heb. 2:2, NIV)
And Jonah received just that. The Lord sent “a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up”. Because of one man’s disobedience, the lives of the other passengers and crew were endangered. In our own lives today, one act of disobedience may affect other family members. A sickness may suddenly come to an innocent child, or a huge problem comes knocking at the door, or other misfortunes we never really expected.
We could pick up some very important lessons from the first 2 chapters of Jonah:
- Just as the crew searched for the cause of their big trouble, let us SEARCH our hearts where we might have disobeyed the Lord, when troubles come our way. Let us search diligently, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- Just as Jonah acknowledged his transgression by confessing to the crew and telling them to throw him to the sea to calm the tempest, let us CONFESS and ACKNOWLEDGE our sins and shortcomings before God for –
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them SHALL HAVE MERCY. (Prov. 28:13)
I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou FORGAVEST the iniquity of my sin. (Psalm 32:5)
When we acknowledge and confess our sin before God, we are humbling down ourselves before Him, an act that pleases the Lord.
…God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (James4:6)
- Jonah repented of his disobedience (“I cried out to the Lord…”; “I will pay what I have vowed.”). He cried out to God in his affliction. After we have acknowledged our transgression, let us earnestly REPENT for it.
…a broken and a contrite heart [feeling or showing sorrow and remorse for a sin or shortcoming – Merriam-Webster], O God, THOU WILT NOT DESPISE. (Psalm 51:17)
…I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah 57:15)
…but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. (Isaiah 66:2)
- Jonah was in the depths of the sea. His situation was desperate, but amazingly, he did not lose hope and he believed in God’s deliverance, for he said to the Lord assuredly, “Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple”; “And my prayer went up to You, into Your holy temple.” Even in our most desperate situation, WE MUST NOT LET GO OF HOPE. God is our hope and He alone can deliver us from our afflictions and troubles.
This I recall to my mind, therefore HAVE I HOPE. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because HIS COMPASSIONS FAIL NOT. (Lam. 3:21,22)
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may ABOUND IN HOPE, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Rom. 15:13)
- At the end of Jonah’s prayer, he offered thanksgiving for the answer to his prayer that he believed, and was confident, was forthcoming. When we pray, the Lord Himself teaches us to believe that we shall receive the answer to our fervent prayers. So we thank God for it in advance.
What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, BELIEVE THAT YE RECEIVE THEM, and YE SHALL HAVE THEM. (Mark 11:24)
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, WITH THANKSGIVING, let your requests be made known to God. (Phil. 4:6)
The Lord heard Jonah’s prayer and delivered him from his “calamity”. And he arose to carry out the commandment of God. After we have repented of our disobedience, we have to get up and do what the Lord has commanded us to do.
Linking to We are That Family