Google+ 09/05/13 On the Beach, Not in the Belly!




Jonah 2:5-10


“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.”

Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.


Jonah continues his prayer to God in part four of our seven-part devotion series entitled, "Jonah and the Whale."  The second part of Jonah's prayer is so important to all of us.  Yes, in the first part of his prayer, Jonah repents.  That is certainly step one for all of us.  But now, Jonah does what most sinners fail to do.  Jonah lays out for God a plan of action to turn away from his sin.  We all hear the frustration and desperation in Jonah's writings.  We know Jonah is in a very grave situation.  Many of us have been in these same kinds of situations.  Unfortunately, all too often, we wait to cry out to God only when we see no other viable option.  Of course, God is going to hear our cry.  Usually this is where it stops, because we have a tendency to not follow through on our promises to God and each other.  I must confess to all of you that I struggle with those who lie to God and me.  We often think that praying to God for forgiveness, and our worldly apology, is somehow a "Get Out of Jail Free Card!"  It is not.  We must confess our sin and then repent and turn away from it.  Jonah does just that.  He promises God that he will make sacrifices in song and praise and acknowledges that his salvation comes from only God.  Notice what happens next.  Only when Jonah repents, does God order the whale to spit him out on the beach.  Don't miss this point.  Often when we confess our sin, things don't get better as we expect.  Things usually get worse.  God will only deliver us when we repent, consistently and completely.  If you have confessed and still feel like you are in the "belly of the whale," make sure you have also repented.  Only then will we find ourselves on the beach, not in the belly!