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Showing posts from August, 2011

God prepares ahead to save us

Meanwhile, the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah. Jonah 1:17a (CEB)

The original Hebrew language says that Yahweh, The Lord; numbered or appointed or assigned or ordained; a great fish to swallow Jonah. This was a very unusual fish in that it could swallow and house a man, with enough air for three days. What is amazing and wonderful is that this was God's plan. God had a plan for Jonah, in Jonah's disobedience. God's plan defies human logic. A human plan might have had Jonah stay on the ship and repent there.

Maybe Jonah was not repentant on the ship. To me, repentance means to turn around and go the other way. To admit one's fault is only a step. Sometimes a person will admit fault, but not be willing to change their ways.

God selected a special vehicle to keep Jonah alive. God had an ordained plan for this large fish. The fish was numbered in that God had that fish's number, meaning that God always had this assignment on this fish's life…

The terrible price of sin

They said to him, “What will we do about you so that the sea will become calm around us?” (The sea was continuing to rage.)
He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea! Then the sea will become calm around you. I know it’s my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”
The men rowed to reach dry land, but they couldn’t manage it because the sea continued to rage against them. So they called on the LORD, saying, “Please, LORD, don’t let us perish on account of this man’s life, and don’t blame us for innocent blood! You are the LORD: whatever you want, you can do.” Then they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased its raging. The men worshipped the LORD with a profound reverence; they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made solemn promises. -Jonah 1:11-16 (CEB)

Jonah has been found out and he admits it is his fault. He has progressed from hider to confessor. Those found to be guilty do not always admit guilt. Jonah finds mercy for others in …

The unbelieving believer and his God

And he said to them, "I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land." Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, "What is this that you have done!" For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. -Jonah 1:9-10 (ESV)

Finally Jonah speaks. His self-disclosure goes straight to the point of why he is the cause of the storm. His 'people group' is Hebrew. He says that he fears the creator God. Most less literal Bible translations have Jonah instead saying that, "I worship the LORD". Jonah is saying that in the midst of this calamitous storm, in which you believe that someone has upset a god and the lots pointed to me as the one who has caused it; here is the information about me and my God.

But, the sailors had asked him, "what is your occupation, and where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?" Jonah simply ans…

Tell us about yourself

So they said to him, “Tell us, since you’re the cause of this evil happening to us: What do you do and where are you from? What’s your country and of what people are you?” -Jonah 1:8 (CEB)

The finger of God had pointed to Jonah in the lots and now the sailors gathered round him and began to question him. When we go on a journey in a vehicle with strangers, we don't always get the chance to become acquainted, but sometimes we do. In the story of Jonah, the other passengers and crew members were happy to let him remain anonymous. He was just "passenger x" to them. But, the crisis that arose and the determination of the lots that pointed to Jonah brought up the question of, "who are you?" "We would not have asked, we would have let you remain anonymous; but now your problems have become our problems", the sailors might have said.

The sailors and the author of Jonah are illustrating a communal cause and affect of sin. One person's sin or diso…

Jonah is found out

Meanwhile, the sailors said to each other, “Come on, let’s cast lots so that we might learn who is to blame for this evil that’s happening to us.” They cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah.
-Jonah 1:7 (CEB)

Jonah was taken upside, to the prayer meeting. We don't know how much or if Jonah prayed, but we can be sure that he did not take the opportunity to tell the men that he had some issues with God, in that he was disobeying God. He did not confess his sins before the men aloud. I imagine that after some time, after they had all been calling out to the gods in prayer; that the storm had not let up. It was still very dangerous. At this point, they decided to take action before it was too late. they would cast lots to find out who's fault this was.

The casting of lots was not seen as magical or mechanical in it's ability to point, but it was believed that the divine would and could enter into the lots and make them point at the one chosen person. Proverbs 16:33 states …

Get up, call out and perhaps

The ship’s officer came and said to him, “How can you possibly be sleeping so deeply? Get up! Call on your god! Perhaps the god will give some thought to us so that we won’t perish.” Jonah 1:6

Have you ever been depressed? Depressed people sometimes sleep a lot. Depressed people are people who are losing hope. Hopelessness is very different than conviction of sin leading to repentance. The depressed person has disqualified themselves from redemption. They are beyond saving, in their own minds. Depressed people are more pessimistic than optimistic. Depressed people are inward focused. They don't consider other people, nor consider God as much as outward focused people do.

The ship's officer does not ask why Jonah is sleeping and he does not shame or accuse him. He just observes Jonah's behavior as being completely out of line with the present circumstances and calls him to get with it. He says, "what is this?"and "get with it".

The officer…