In the Belly of the Whale

Jonah 1:1-17  The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
 3 But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD. 4 Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.  But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. 6 The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish.” 7 Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?” 9 He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.” 10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the LORD, because he had already told them so.) 11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” 12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.” 13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried to the LORD, “O LORD, please do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O LORD, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him. 17 But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.

Have you ever been disobedient to the Lord?  Have you ever been rebellious and strong-willed wanting your own way?  If so, you may have experienced the same feelings that Jonah did.  You probably weren’t swallowed by a whale physically but maybe you felt isolated, alone, depressed, and exhausted even to the point where things just didn’t matter to you anymore.  You could even fall into a deep sleep and forget the world around you ignoring the fact that God told you to do a certain thing.

Jonah had no plan for being swallowed by the whale.  All he wanted to do was take a boat ride in the opposite direction of where and what God wanted for him.  You notice that not only did Jonah know the storm was a result of his disobedience but those around him knew as well.  His influence was great in his disobedience but greater still  in his obedience (after the whale belly incidence).

Funny how disobedience to the Lord always seems to catch up with you no matter how hard you try to forget it.  Disobedience is rebellion against God and rebellion against God is sin.  If the Lord has spoken to you and told you to do something, take a lesson from Jonah just do it.  Plain and simple but hard to do-just do it.  God has a reason and a plan for everything He asked you to do.  Serve Him for His kingdom’s glory.

Are you in the “belly of a whale”? Do you know the Lord has asked you to do something for His kingdom by serving Him in a particular way?  Perhaps He asked you to forgive someone who has wronged you or speak to someone about Jesus.  Maybe He wants you to teach a class or serve Him in full time ministry.  The choice is always yours. You can do as He asked or you can turn and run in the opposite direction and risk being swallowed by “a whale”.

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