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Friday, February 20, 2009

You Should Have Seen the One I Got Away From

We might sympathize with Jonah if we think he scorned the Lord’s commission to preach against Nineveh’s wickedness because he was afraid. After all, Nineveh was the Assyrians’ capital city, and they were Israel’s vicious enemy. Everybody knew how the Assyrians piled their victims’ corpses like cords of wood and dismembered or burned survivors at the stake. But Jonah scorned the Lord’s commission because he feared the Ninevites would repent and receive God’s forgiveness. His prejudice blocked his willingness to preach to people he despised.

Soon Jonah had a change of heart. He repented and prayed from the belly of a whale (likely a sperm whale) that the Lord had appointed to preserve Jonah’s life and subdue his rebellious spirit. Like Jonah it seems we pray best when we are in a tight spot. When we are at wit’s end, we find strong motivation to pray and submit to God’s will.

Jonah ended his prayer by exclaiming, “Salvation is of the Lord.” The only way out for Jonah was to look up and confess that only the Lord could deliver Him. Have you looked up to see the way out?

I read somewhere that when Jonah exclaimed, “Salvation is of the Lord,” the whale thought, “Jonah is an evangelical, but I’m a liberal. I can’t stomach this.” So he vomited Jonah onto dry land.

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