Jonah knew he had disobeyed God. He knew he was wrong, so he called out to the Lord. Don’t miss what happens in the same verse- God listened to his cry. No matter how many steps separate us from God, one step toward Him instantly puts us back in His presence. It says, “But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit.” I am getting so excited just writing this because it means God will not leave us where we are if we seek Him. He can heal a marriage, friendship, family, body, or even the spirit. He can bring us up from the muck we are in and put our feet on solid ground. The truth is God does not display any of our human characteristics-thank goodness. He doesn’t hold a grudge, wish us ill will, or hope we get what we deserve. He is completely opposite, hoping to love, comfort, protect, and restore us into His will. The fish was never to harm Jonah but God’s grace for him. The fish was prepared by God to preserve Jonah’s life. It allowed Jonah to have a new perspective on life. Sometimes we need a jolt in our life to give us God’s perspective and not our own. I imagine if we were sitting in the belly of a fish we would have a lot of time on our hands to review our actions. In the end the scripture tells us Jonah’s thoughts, “But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’” This is Jonah’s turning point. He has now repented of his disobedience and tells the Lord of his planned obedience. The fish vomits Jonah onto the land. I am picturing a man standing on the shore covered in goo and nastiness. I don’t imagine coming out of a fish you would look or smell your best. I think the imagery here is that along with sin comes a lot of unwanted excess debris. When we sin we cannot help but pick up unwanted items that weigh us down and entangle us. I am reminded by the verse in Hebrews 12, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Jonah I am sure had to shake off a few things as he exited the belly of the fish in order to continue his walk. The same is true for us. When we repent of our sins, we have to shake off the sin that is on us, turn from it, and start walking in God’s will. My favorite verse is in chapter three when the scripture says, “Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.” We should say Hallelujah to this because it means that our God is a God of second chances. No matter where we are in our life, God always hears our call and is ready to extend his grace!
I just wonder if there is anyone today who is exhausted from running from God? Is there anyone who feels like they are in a pit they can’t escape? Is there someone who is ready to give up on a marriage, or relationship because they don’t feel it’s worth it? Is there anyone who just feels overwhelmed with doing what God has called them to do? The bottom line is that no matter where you are right now in your life, all you have to do is cry out to the Lord, and He will hear you. He will instantly bring you into His presence. Mathew 11:28 says "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” I pray for each of you today that no matter where you are, you feel the presence of God speaking to you in your life!