Our Pastor at Central Baptist Church is teaching through the book of Jonah. With all that is going on in our family I laid down to sleep last night on the brink of tears and then the Lord reminded me “It ain’t over til the fat fish sings” and then the words of Isaiah 49:1-4 ran through my heart and mind and the peace of God washed over me and I found rest.
“It ain’t over til the fat fish sings” was the title of the sermon that our Pastor shared as he taught through Jonah 1:17- 2:10. We don’t always see the belly of the fish as the mercy of God… but it is. We don’t often see how a storm can bring glory to God, but it does.
Isaiah 49:1-4 is a section of Scripture that our Sunday night guest speaker shared that the Lord used to get her through her own trials as well as inspired her to write a beautiful song of praise to Him. I immediately turned to the passage and read the verses as soon as she mentioned them… just knowing that God had her share them for me… and He had.
Jumping back to Jonah… It’s believed that the boat full of men that threw Jonah overboard, as commanded by God, were all saved… not just from the present storm… but also from the eternal storm of eternal death. It’s believed that these men went to Jerusalem and there made sacrifices to God. God even used Jonah’s rebellion and his running from Him to reach and save the lost.
As our Pastor shared, he mentioned that Jonah was a living sacrifice unto the Lord on behalf of these men. These men, worshiped idols, they knew all about the false gods that required human sacrifice to appease there wrath. However, our God is not like that… I believe Jonah knew this and believed this. When Jonah said, throw me over… this was an act of faith. Had he stayed in the boat he would have died, but in faith he said toss me over… and so he lived.
He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.
Jonah’s disobedience to God had brought these men into this situation. However, as always with our God, what the enemy intends for evil… our God will use for good (Genesis 50:20). Jonah accepting the fact that he had sinned against God and brought this storm (Micah 7:9) willingly, at that moment, offered his body as a living sacrifice unto the Lord. He offered himself on behalf of all the others on that boat. This is why Jesus said that the only sign that will be given to us is the sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:39). Jonah was a picture of what Jesus would do for all those in the boat that were being ravaged by the storms of this present world and our own personal sin. Although He, unlike Jonah, had never known sin (2 Corinthians 5:21).
God gives us Jonah… because we CAN be a Jonah.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Our family is in the belly of the fish. Here in the belly of this fish we cry out as Jonah did
I called out of my distress to the Lord,
And He answered me.
I cried for help from the depth of Sheol;
You heard my voice.
For You had cast me into the deep,
Into the heart of the seas,
And the current engulfed me.
All Your breakers and billows passed over me.
So I said, ‘I have been expelled from Your sight.
Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.
and we cry out as Job did…
Why should I take my flesh in my teeth
And put my life in my hands?
Though He slay me,
I will hope in Him.
Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him.
This also will be my salvation,
For a godless man may not come before His presence.
We cry out because we can… because we know He hears… and because we know He cares. We may not understand what is going on or who it is in the boat of the storm that the Lord is using us to reach… but what we do know is that whatever, WHATEVER, we face in this life is with purpose.
WE WILL NOT FORGET OR FORSAKE OUR GOD.
I WILL NOT FORGET OR FORSAKE MY GOD.
I don’t have to understand why to know the Who that formed me and my family in the womb and brought us forth in Him, born again to be children of His very own possession. We are the select arrows in His hand… and we trust His aim.
Listen to Me, O islands,
And pay attention, you peoples from afar.
The Lord called Me from the womb;
From the body of My mother He named Me.
He has made My mouth like a sharp sword,
In the shadow of His hand He has concealed Me;
And He has also made Me a select arrow,
He has hidden Me in His quiver.
He said to Me, “You are My Servant, Israel,
In Whom I will show My glory.”
But I said, “I have toiled in vain,
I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity;
Yet surely the justice due to Me is with the Lord,
And My reward with My God.”
Here’s the thing about being in the belly of the fish or an arrow in the hand… In the belly of that fish Jonah could do nothing and the arrow in the hand trusts completely in the decisions of the one who holds it.
In the belly of that fish Jonah couldn’t fix his situation. He didn’t know the Lord would have that fish vomit him up… that had never happened before. What he did know was at that moment, as our Pastor shared Sunday, God was giving him another chance to repent and to turn to Him just like He did those men in the boat.
Jonah had no gift to bring. He had no sacrifice in which to offer. He had no works that He could do. All he had was the Word of God, the knowledge of the heart of God, the knowledge of his own heart, and the words of his own mouth. Jonah 2:7 says that he remembered the LORD. He chose to surrender to what he knew of God and offered up his praises to Him. Jonah did not cry out to another god or put his hope in his own possible ability to defeat and escape the fish. He remembered God and he offered up the only sacrifice he had… a heart of repentance and voice of thanksgiving.
The life of a believer in the One True God is one with a constant return to a heart of repentance and a voice of thanksgiving.
Repentance because of a heart that so easily finds itself suffering from fear and doubt and then a voice that rejoices with praise and thanksgiving as that once doubting and fearful heart remembers the Lord and once again stands on His love in hope and assurance, knowing once again, that it ain’t over until God says it’s over.
for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”