Wednesday, September 9, 2009

From the Belly of the Big the Ears of God

And Jonah prayed to Jehovah his God out of the fish's belly, and he said, I cried to Jehovah from my distress. And He answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol I cried for help, and You heard my voice.~~~(Jonah 2:1-2 MKJV)

In the above Scripture, it can be observed that when Jonah was in trouble, under the tokens of God's displeasure against him for sin, he prayed. Likewise, when we are in affliction we must pray. Being kept alive by miracle, he prayed. A sense of God's good-will towards us, notwithstanding our offences ought to open our lips in prayer; our lips which would have been closed with the dread of wrath. Also, consider where his prayer rose from; in the belly of the fish. No place is amiss for prayer. Men may shut us from communion with one another, but not from communion with God. To whom he prayed; to the Lord his God. This encourages even backsliders to return.

Jonah’s prayer here seems to relate his experience and reflections, before (in his trouble) and afterwards (answered prayer from God). Jonah reflects on the earnestness of his prayer, and God's readiness to hear and answer. If we would get good by our troubles, we must notice the hand of God in them. He had wickedly fled from the presence of the Lord, who would have been justified to take his Holy Spirit from him, and never to visit him again. Really miserable people are those whom God does not or will no longer own and favour (and its usually their own choice, not God’s). But though he was perplexed, yet he was not in despair. Jonah reflects on the favour of God to him, when he sought to God, and trusted in him in his distress. He warns others, and tells them to keep close to God.

Those who forsake their own duty, forsake their own mercy; those who run away from the work of their place and day or their calling, run away from the comfort of it. As far as a Christian copies those who observe lying vanities, he forsakes his own mercy, and lives below his privileges. But Jonah's experience encourages others, in all ages, to trust in God, as the God of salvation.


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