Ever since my Pastor started the series on Jonah, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. There are so many important things to learn from in the small book, and it has quickly become a favorite of mine. I’ve been convicted over my prayer life, my submission (or lack thereof) and my life in general. What am I doing-or not doing-for God? But something from one particular sermon has stuck out to me all week as I’ve been thinking and praying on the election. Something that my Bible says in Jonah chapter 1, verse 1. I’ve mentioned this verse in a few posts lately, I believe, but I’d like to put a different spin on it than I have before. This verse and this story makes me think of my country and the upcoming election. History will be made today, it is inevitable; it is very easy to get discouraged and think that all hope is gone no matter who becomes our next President, but I want us to remember these words in the book of Jonah…
Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah.
I can only imagine the terror that was felt on the boat from all of the men. A great storm was raging, and they felt as if all hope was lost. Their lives were in great danger, and perhaps this situation is not comparable to the situation that we are in now, but a lot of Christians seem to think that this election is a matter of life or death. We’ve spent a lot of sleepless nights in prayer, or just worrying about the things that will change. We worry about Donald Trump and if he will be a good President, or just be a total foolish loudmouth. We worry about Hillary Clinton and wonder if we will have any sort of religious freedom after her years as the leader of this country. We worry about America and our freedom, our safety, and wonder how long we will be able to live freely as Christian people.
We really do have a lot to worry about. A lot is at stake here.
When Jonah was being cast out of the boat, he didn’t know that just weeks later, he would be safe and right where God had wanted him to be in the first place. He didn’t know that God had prepared a large fish to swallow him up and keep him safe. Jonah says in chapter 2 that he was trapped by the strong waters and tangled in the middle of weeds in the sea. He must have been terrified. He was in the water, drowning, cast out of the sight of God, and the next thing he knows, there is a great fish coming at him to eat him. We tend to make this into a kid-friendly story and think of the big fish as a nice whale, but regardless of what kind of fish this was, this wasn’t a happy sight for him. He was doomed unless God intervened, and he knew it. We as Christians probably feel like we can echo his thoughts. We look around at America and wonder if we are also cast out of His sight. Does God even dare look at us now? With all of the corruption and sin? We panic and worry about things that happen. We can look at this story and completely forget about the state of our country and put a personal spin on this. Perhaps, you’re going through a storm and you feel like all hope is lost…but all hope is not lost. God is preparing, He is always preparing. God has prepared a great fish for us, for America, and no matter what happens, whether it is rapture or revival, we are still on the winning side. God never leaves His people to die alone without helping them. He never leaves us nor forsakes us.
Later on in the fourth chapter of Jonah, we read that God prepared three more things. A gourd in verse 6, a worm in verse 7, and a wind in verse 8. God prepared all of these things-the fish, the gourd, the worm, the wind, in order to save a country that was lost in sin and desperately needed a revival. He prepared those things to lead Jonah to the right place both physically and spiritually. If God can use something as small as a worm for Ninevah, why do we doubt that He can use His people in America? We are doubting God, but He still works in mighty ways. Perhaps the reason that we don’t see great revivals anymore is because we are doubting God too much. We aren’t even giving Him a moment to work. We have no faith.
Ninevah was saved. It is not too late for America.
So, who is going to rise up and stir up a revival? Who is going to learn from their mistakes like Jonah and rise up to preach the Gospel? Who is going to sit in the belly of the fish and pray earnestly? Remember what the story of Jonah is about. It is a book all about mission work. A book about a great revival in a man’s heart, and in Ninevah. The book of Jonah is proof that God is ready to forgive and save. Jonah said this in chapter 2,
7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.
8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.
He vowed to never be a part of they that sin and focus on their own vanities. He vowed to preach the Gospel in Ninevah and be a part of something great there. If Christians would get on their knees and promise this same thing to God, to be different and set apart, we could see a revival just like the one in Ninevah.
We have to remember that God has prepared a great fish. In other words, God has prepared a way out of the sin that we are in. The question is, are we ready to leave the boat headed to Tarshish and get on board with God?