Brace yourselves. This is a doozy.
The very last part of v. 9 is Jonah proclaiming with great enthusiasm that “salvation comes from the Lord!” and the very next verse – so in my mind this is like the very next moment after Jonah makes this proclamation and means it!
(Have you ever said something “in faith?” and were really just trying to fool God? I don’t really mean this but I know it is what I’m meant to say and I have no intention of changing my opinion. Everyone has – it is when we get that heart change to say “I don’t mean this now but I know that God is going to change my heart because I am willing to see my heart change and I am willing to take the necessary steps to make it happen.”)
Jonah actually means it in his heart that salvation does indeed come from the Lord and even if that salvation is dying in the fish to be saved from that current circumstance, Jonah knew God was in control and would save him from himself. However that is not God had in mind.
v. 10 says “And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land”
Now I did some mild research –I didn’t call upon a theology professor specializing in ancient Biblical cities…no but I did indeed look into the history and location of ancient Ninevah.
Ninevah is a land locked country. Quite a distance either south or west you have the Mediterrean Sea to the west and the Persian Gulf to the south but otherwise…there is NO WAY that Jonah was vomited up right into the city.
Like we mentioned before, this journey from the edge of sea and land to the city itself Jonah still had a choice – to either follow through with what God had told him or to turn and flee…again.
But Jonah was a changed man – not completely changed as we will see later, but enough that when God issued for a second time what His will is Jonah did not turn and flee. He chose to make his way to the city he despised, to preach to the people he knew God would save, and to risk his life once again in this whole ordeal for the sake of His God.
Let us all apply this to our lives. We’ve talked about how for us this is when we receive instructions from God and we do not do them. We have deemed the task not worthy of completion and have turned from it. We have decided to barrel through this sin – that we fully know is sin – and we keep going until we allow God’s hindrances to work on us.
God’s hindrances are going to be there because He loves us (1 John 4:19) so much that He won’t let us keep going in our sin without at least giving us a chance to turn back (John 3:16). But we can choose to remain cold-hearted and have a heart like stone and not allow God’s warnings to work in our lives, if we want.
However this is not what we should do nor what God wants us to do – God desires for us to accomplish the task before us and be successful at it. Joshua 1:8 tells us that when the Law of the Lord is in us and we observe it then we will be successful.
Ok so then we get to this point where we have decided to turn at God’s warning sign and come back to the Lord. We still have a choice – like Jonah did – to actually do this task presented before us, after we have been taken into a uncomfortable circumstance and then miraculously delivered from that and our initial sin of disobedience.
Is that task still before you? It isn’t always ‘give more money as an offering’ or ‘talk to this person regardless of what they look like about Me’ or ‘say this to him because he needs confirmation’, sometimes it is ‘jump in your room during prayer when no-one else is watching’ or ‘pray for this that you’ve harbored in your heart since you were initially wounded’ or ‘give me the hour before you go out everyday and see what I can do’
Whatever it is – it’s big to you right now. Ninevah was a big city with it surrounding suburbs and housing developments – it took three days of walking around, every alley, every square, every bazaar, everywhere.
It could be huge, bigger than you think God can handle. God is bigger, He will always be bigger. There is a VeggieTales song from the early episodes that says “God is bigger than the boogie man. He’s bigger than Godzilla or the monsters on TV.” It’s childish but those are the building blocks of faith that are necessary and if you need to – replace the words with what you’re facing.
“God is bigger than my shyness. He’s bigger than my fear or the pain I carry” BUILD YOUR FAITH! Every day – even if you don’t believe it right now, build your faith every day, every chance you get.
I watched a sermon the other day and at the very end, they were closing and you think there isn’t anything good left – it’s just the normal preacher telling everyone to leave – but I thought ‘let’s just see what happens.’ And the preacher said ‘Everytime you see yourself in the mirror, remind yourself that you are in love with Jesus. Not just that you love Him, but that you are in love with Him.”
If that is what you have to do, do it! I do it – sometimes I feel like a fool and other times it encourages me so much! It builds my faith! If you have to sing a song to build your faith, then sing! If you have to write a message and post it everywhere, write and post!
Romans 10:16-17 says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God – hear what God is saying to you about the mountain or the large city you are facing
“All things are possible with me. Trust in me to accomplish the Word I have put forth. I asked you to do this because I knew you could and you would. Keep moving forward, don’t look back on the way things were. Look to me, fix your eyes upon me.”
Matthew 19:26, Proverbs 3:4-6, Isaiah 55:10-11, Habakkuk 1:5, Proverbs 4:25