Daily Reading: Jonah 2
“When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord; And my prayer went up to You…”Jonah 2:7a (NKJV)
Everywhere you are, God hears you. The Psalmist declares, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell…If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.” (Psalm 139)
Jonah experienced in life what the Psalmist declared as truth. Truth is always the base for reality. There are several important truths to remember in Jonah’s prayer. Let’s first remember Jonah’s condition. He was alone, having been thrown overboard. Jonah was swallowed by a fish and taken into the depths of the sea. This prophet admitted his failure and seemed to be going to a place of no return. Yet, it is in this desperate hour that Jonah reveals not only truths about Himself, but truth about God. Take time to read again through Jonah 2. Note each thing which Jonah does and each thing God does. God is protector, provider and sustainer. Jonah, having repented, acknowledges the greatness of God and His hand in the entire situation.
Near the end of Jonah’s prayer is that element which God waits for in us. This pinnacle portion of poetic prayer brings us to the purpose of our very existence – to Jonah’s very existence. It is in verse 7 that we find Jonah truly worshiping God. Scripture declares that we should be continually worshiping God, however when we go astray, the Father leads us as a gentle shepherd back to the place we were designed for. When our soul faints as Jonah’s did, we have a choice to make: do we cry out as Job did: “Though He slay me, yet will I praise Him”, or do we allow ourselves to spiral in to depression and cry out as Job’s wife, “curse God and die.” Both Job and Jonah choose the greater of the two. Jonah chose to worship God.
Instead of wallowing in self-pity or trying to pull his life together in his own strength, Jonah turns to the Lord in the most basic of institutions – that of simple worship to the Lord. He cried “With the voice of thanksgiving I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.” (Jonah 2:9) In our culture we attempt incredible feats to attempt to save ourselves. We attempt to clean ourselves up in our own strength. Man looks to psychiatry, psychology and pharmaceuticals to do the thing that God would love to do in him. You and I don’t need to try to clean ourselves up. We should desire obedience, but we should allow God to change us – to change our heart, that we too would cry out, “Salvation is of the Lord!”