I pray that you will see how God is speaking to you in this message.
In God, and God alone, we have a shared hope. When we choose to run away from God, we are moving away from that hope. Running away creates a false sense of security. Things may look good at first, and there are people who may even help you while you’re running away. It isn’t long before you see the truth and everything changes. It may be a short amount of time that passes, or even longer, but you can soon see the results of being outside of God’s will–you and everyone who was helping you loses.
When you are in God’s will, you have an assured hope that everything is going to work out right. If God is for us, who can be against us? God is our strength.
May the bolts of your gate be iron and bronze,
and your strength last as long as you live.
God—He clothes me with strength
and makes my way perfect.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength[a] of my heart,
my portion forever.
I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.
2 Timothy 4:17
But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the proclamation might be fully made through me and all the Gentiles might hear. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
1 Peter 4:11
If anyone speaks, it should be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, it should be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
When you come to a place of brokenness, it is an opportunity to acknowledge God’s presence in your life. Jonah began to pray while he was in the midst of the fish (Jonah 2:7-9). At what point in your personal situation do you decide to pray? Is it later rather than sooner? It is whenever you determine that you are completely helpless and without hope.
The book of Jonah is essentially about Jonah. He is expressing his own desires about how he views himself and the Ninevites. He would rather see the people be destroyed rather than repent. God was trying to teach Jonah lessons about the importance of being obedient to The Lord and His will.
God was working in Jonah’s life through his fish experience. Jonah tried to initially claim that The Lord deserted him, but it was Jonah that had tried to run from God (Where could he escape God anyway??).
When you are in a state of brokenness, don’t blame others for your circumstances. Instead, remember the glory of God and what He has allowed to happen in your life. Look to God and call out to Him. He’s doing everything He can to draw nearer to you.
Jonah reminds himself what he has in God (Jonah 2:8). People who choose to run from God forfeit His comfort and grace. Each of us needs to recognize and acknowledge all of the great things that God has done. What has God brought you through in your life? Sometimes God has to stop us in our tracks for us to see His goodness. Even with Jonah still in the belly of the fish, he is now able to praise and worship God and promises to make good as God’s appointed prophet.
…but as for me, I will sacrifice to You
with a voice of thanksgiving.
I will fulfill what I have vowed.
Salvation is from the Lord!
Deliverance comes only from The Lord. God responded to Jonah’s action of renewing himself and praising and worshiping God (Jonah 2:10).
In Chapter 3, God again commanded Jonah to go to Nineveh. This time, he responded and went there as instructed. Amazingly, we found that the Ninevites believed God (2 Kings 19:35). The king left his throne and his royalty. A person who was someone humbled himself in the presence of The Lord and declared that his people do the same.
6 When word reached the king of Nineveh, he got up from his throne, took off his royal robe, put on sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 Then he issued a decree in Nineveh:
By order of the king and his nobles: No man or beast, herd or flock, is to taste anything at all. They must not eat or drink water. 8 Furthermore, both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth, and everyone must call out earnestly to God. Each must turn from his evil ways and from the violence he is doing. 9 Who knows? God may turn and relent; He may turn from His burning anger so that we will not perish.
10 Then God saw their actions—that they had turned from their evil ways—so God relented from the disaster He had threatened to do to them. And He did not do it.
When you honor God, He will honor you. When you humble yourself, He will lift you up in due time.
Jonah was still looking at what he wanted to happen to Nineveh and was unhappy about the outcome.
4 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became furious. 2 He prayed to the Lord: “Please, Lord, isn’t this what I said while I was still in my own country? That’s why I fled toward Tarshish in the first place. I knew that You are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to become angry, rich in faithful love, and One who relents from sending disaster. 3 And now, Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
4 The Lord asked, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
You, as a person, don’t have the right to say who God blesses or not. Whenever someone is rescued with the gospel, it should be a time of rejoicing for you, even if it is God rescuing your enemies. God still shows a means of compassion and a provision for Jonah even in the midst of his anger.
Ultimately, it is God who provides but we have to derive our happiness and satisfaction in our trust of Him.
5 Jonah left the city and sat down east of it. He made himself a shelter there and sat in its shade to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the Lord God appointed a plant, and it grew up to provide shade over Jonah’s head to ease his discomfort. Jonah was greatly pleased with the plant. 7 When dawn came the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, and it withered.
8 As the sun was rising, God appointed a scorching east wind. The sun beat down so much on Jonah’s head that he almost fainted, and he wanted to die. He said, “It’s better for me to die than to live.”
9 Then God asked Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”
“Yes,” he replied. “It is right. I’m angry enough to die!”
10 So the Lord said, “You cared about the plant, which you did not labor over and did not grow. It appeared in a night and perished in a night. 11 Should I not care about the great city of Nineveh, which has more than 120,000 people who cannot distinguish between their right and their left, as well as many animals?”
Our times of joy and happiness come from seeing God work in our lives. Often we forget this, and we need to remember the things that God has done to protect us and keep us. Did Jonah get God’s message?