Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jonah - Week Three

No other world religion of any kind has a pursuing God like ours. The major difference is that we have the ability of having a personal relationship with our God. Not because of anything we have done but only because of His grace. We can earn nothing from Him, He freely gives. Now that is an amazing God. Listen to this wonderful song to prepare your heart for worship. For this week.

We ended last week with Jonah tossed in the water instantly calming the ferocious storm. God is a ferocious lover. He will go great and unthinkable lengths for us. Do you believe this? If yes it will really change your life. I just love this next part of the study.

And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Jonah 1:17
(Picture is from
This verse is an amazing part of this book. God loved Jonah so much that not only did He pursue him in the storm but also God appointed a great fish to swallow and transport Jonah. Three days and three nights he was on this first class slime ride. This part of the story is one example that many atheists try to use to discount believing God. Things like this are just too hard for them to believe. But if you know God and believe He made all things and He controls all things then it is not too far fetched to believe God could use an animal to transport a person. God does what He pleases and it is not the only time He used His creation in His works.

I mentioned earlier that Jonah was mentioned in the New Testament also. I want you to get this. Jesus Himself referenced Jonah. Jesus proves that this is real history. It is an actual event that actually happened in the history of the world. Sadly even some proclaimed Christians doubt this happening. It is fact though. Listen to Jesus.

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, "Teacher,we wish to see a sign from you." But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 
Matthew 12:38-41
Prior to the scribes and Pharisees talking to Jesus, they are accusing Him being a demon because He has just healed a demonic man. They are so hard hearted they just could not get it. It is so very sad. Many moralists or legalists walk around today thinking they know Him but actually they do not. This is a place to check your heart. Does it long for the Savior alone? Or recognition of power, honor, what the Savior will give you, or a following of man? Don't fall into the trap of needing the approval of man by right living. You cannot earn God's love by right living either, you must have a relationship with the Savior.
Jesus speaks of Jonah here. I love this part! In all we have learned about Jonah and all the wrong things he has done, as God's prophet he not only points us toward Christ with words but also with action. Jonah's time in the belly of the fish is in direct relation to pointing us toward Christ Himself in the tomb! Can you believe that? The reluctant Jonah was used to point to the greatest time in the worlds history, the death and resurrection of Christ. Now my heart just wants to shout hallelujah. God uses the most ordinary, stubborn servants for His extraordinary purposes. I am always in awe of this when I see it. I wrote an entire study on this when I wrote, Abundant Grace: Lessons from the Family Line of Christ. It is at the Kindle store and Sunday Scholar for sale, but if you are interested I will send you a free copy. Just let me know.

I am in awe. We can be very hard on Jonah running from God. Yet, God used this moment as a very sign that pointed to Christ and our salvation. Now, do not think that I am saying disobedience or delayed obedience is okay, it is not. However, God uses it all. He knows we are dust. He knows what we are going to do and uses it anyway for His greater purposes. This is one of Jonah's most embarrassing moments as a prophet yet the miracle of it, the appointed fish, the "new life" Jonah receives from repenting and getting back on course is used in a huge way. Does this make you want to just stop and worship? You can do nothing absolutely nothing to thwart God's plan. Period. 

Like Christ, Jonah was used to satisfy God's wrath in the horrible storm. But unlike Christ, Jonah deserved the storm, Jonah ran from God. Jesus satisfied the wrath of God taking all of our sin on Himself. Jesus did not deserve this. He was the only one who lived fully sinless. He was fully God but he was also fully man. He satisfied the wrath of God when He did nothing to deserve it.

Above also states that the men of Ninevah repent. This is not a surprise to you if you have read this book of the Bible. We will look at this in the weeks to come. Just as Jesus was in the earth for 3 days and 3 nights, Jonah was in this fish. What happened in there to Jonah? How did he get out? That is what we will look at next time. This is enough for this week. 

Our assignment?
  • Ponder the cross.(Hebrews 12:1-3)
  • Ponder God's great and deep love for us. So much love that before the world was formed He planned Jesus coming and dying for you. (Ephesians 1:4)
  • Ponder Jesus giving up all His riches and glory of Heaven restricting Himself to skin and bones limiting himself to humble means for us. Dying and being separated for the first and only time from the Father taking our sins so we don't have to carry them.(Philippians 2:8)
  • Ponder Him beating sin and death once and for all so we can be free.(Hebrews 10:10)
  • Ponder Him doing this so we can be friends and children of God with all the rights a family is entitled. (1 John 3:1)
  • Ponder the Holy Spirit being sent to live in us and seal us guaranteeing our inheritance in Heaven. (Ephesians 1:13)
  • Ponder Christ. Ponder His deep love for you. (Zephaniah 3:17, John 3:16, Isaiah 62:5)

Write a praise or prayer to God thanking Him for this. What is most striking or meaningful to you?

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