Friday, April 3, 2015

Jonah's Praise

Monday, April 6, 2015
Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish.  He said, “I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and he answered me.  I called to you from the land of the dead, and Lord, you heard me!  You threw me into the ocean depths, and I sank down to the heart of the sea.  The mighty waters engulfed me; I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves.  Then I said, ‘O Lord, you have driven me from your presence.  Yet I will look once more toward your holy Temple.’  “I sank beneath the waves, and the waters closed over me.  Seaweed wrapped itself around my head.  I sank down to the very roots of the mountains.  I was imprisoned in the earth, whose gates lock shut forever.
But you, O Lord my God, snatched me from the jaws of death!  As my life was slipping away, I remembered the Lord.  And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple.  Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God’s mercies.  But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows.  For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.”
Jonah 2:1-9 (NLT)
There was a big problem with Nineveh and God sent Jonah to preach a message of destruction and woe.  The reluctant prophet bought a ticket on a ship going in the opposite direction. 
But once the ship got on the high seas, God caused a great storm and prepared a great fish.  Jonah, the disobedient preacher, was thrown overboard, swallowed by the fish and eventually delivered back to Nineveh where God wanted him in the first place.
It was there Jonah recommitted himself to his assigned task:
I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows.  Jonah 2:8 (NLT)
How like our story.  We are Adam’s race, and we share our forefather’s frailty; we all sin and run from God at some point.  Yet, with all our nakedness barely covered in the fig leaves of our excuses, God, in His infinite mercy sends a deliverer, and we are spit out on the dry land with the opportunity for a fresh start.
Isn’t this the Easter message?  Isn’t this our reality?  Born with Adam’s nature, we are prone to wander, prone to leave the God we love.
I don’t know many preachers whose story isn’t something like Jonah’s. 
It’s a really familiar scene, and you don’t have to be a preacher to identify with running from God. 
And, with all that, Easter happens! 
The Savior still comes; we are still forgiven.
And so we sing,
Glory be to God on high;
  Alleluia to the Saviour
Who has gained the victory;
  Glory to the Holy Spirit,
Fount of love and sanctity;
  Alleluia! Alleluia!
    To the Triune Majesty.[2]

For You Today

The Easter season has begun. 
Let the praise ring out!

[1] Title Image: Gustave Doré [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
[2] Alleluia! Hearts To Heaven, Text: Christopher Wordsworth, 1862, Information from

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