The Cloud of Witnesses
Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible
Lesson 2: Jonah – Received God’s Mercy
Received God’s Mercy
Jonah found himself inside the ‘whale’. It must have been a pretty scary and unique experience. For him it was obviously as good as death. He was in a watery grave – smelling awful. Yet even in this desperate state, he turned to God. Where else? God had got his attention, hadn’t He?
As you read Jonah’s prayer, you realise that it turns from where he was at – to where he believed God would yet take him. He responded according to his understanding of the character of God. Even before he was vomited out, he said, “But you brought my life up from the pit… I with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to You… Salvation comes from the Lord” (Jonah 2: 6 & 9). With that exclamation, Jonah hit the beach.
I wonder if Paul thought of Jonah when he and Silas were in jail in Philippi? (see Acts 16: 22 – 31) What is the message of Jonah Chapter 2? It is Messianic. Jesus refers to it and likens His death to Jonah’s temporary accommodation. And verses 2 – 7 remind us of Psalm 22, Psalm 69 and Psalm 130. They give us an insight of how Jesus felt on the Cross as He was dealing with our sin and rebellion.
The ‘Good News’ is that Salvation still comes from the Lord, and if we were a thankful, praising people, we would see it and experience it more often.
When Jesus healed Legion, out of love and gratitude Legion wanted to follow Jesus wherever He went. However, Jesus told him to go home and tell them what God had done for Him. You see, Jesus expects our gratitude and worship to be worked out in evangelism. Worship is not for our ‘benefit’ but for the extension of God’s kingdom – through our obedience and others accepting the good news of salvation.
Are you on dry land or still at sea?
Remember – Jonah’s praise and thanksgiving began beforethe rescue. That’s a challenge and a reminder for us all. Praise often precedes deliverance. Why not praise God today – despite your circumstances? Who knows, your circumstances might even change afterwards – as well as your attitude towards them.
Jonah would say to us today...
God’s mercy should always lead us to worship Him, and worship should always lead us into obedience to God.
Father, I need Your mercy every day. I am so grateful that You are prepared to forgive me and go on forgiving me because of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. However, I want to learn to worship You in my lifestyle so that I become more and more like Jesus and obedient to You like He was. Amen.
Psalm 51; Luke 7:36-50; Hebrews 12:1-13.
What is true worship?
Why does God want obedience more than sacrifice?
Why do we need to constantly recognise God’s mercy to us?