“The Lord came to Jonah, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.’ But Jonah rose.. [and] went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went on board,.. away from the presence of the Lord. The Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest .., so that the ship threatened to break up…
“They said, ‘Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us… Where do you come from?..’ And he said, ‘I am a Hebrew, and fear the Lord God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.’ The men were exceedingly afraid and said, ‘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…
Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, saying,
‘I called out to the Lord, out of my distress,
and he… heard my voice.
For you cast me into the deep,..
and the flood surrounded me;
all your waves passed over me…
The waters closed in over me to take my life;..
weeds were wrapped about my head…
I went down to the land
whose bars closed upon me for ever;
yet you brought up my life from the pit,
O Lord my God.
When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the Lord,
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you…
Salvation belongs to the Lord!’
“And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land…
“The word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh,.. and call out against it the message that I tell you.’ So Jonah arose and went, according to the word of the Lord.” Jonah 1:1-4,8-10; 2:1-3,5-7,9-10; 3:1-3
Ninevah was despicable, corrupt. Jonah wanted nothing to do with it, even if only to ‘call out against it’ and declare its condemnation. In his self-righteous eyes, no Ninevite deserved to be alerted to their coming judgment or God’s mercy, so he fled the opposite way with calloused heart.
But hard hearts don’t sit well with God, especially those He’s called to carry His word. His people are to have compassion, and He can effectively teach it when we have none. He knows that we cannot procure it ourselves and extend it to others unless we recognize His amazing grace and immense love toward us. So He put Jonah in horrifying darkness and slosh and noise and violence inside a fish, to alert him to Himself
When we’re at the lowest of low, and worst of the worst, we tend to recognize our hopelessness. Into these impossible places the Lord’s mercy and power break through to get our hardened attention. He loves us too much to allow us not to care, and will persist in pounding away at our stubbornness until we love what He loves.
In what areas am I apathetic- about my sin, decisions that could affect my forever, or those around me? Where do I skirt obedience and sacrifice to prefer ease? What causes me to resist showing others mercy, and what will I do about resentment?
Lord, sanctify me through and through so I wholeheartedly obey and full-heartedly love, according to Your unending grace to me.