I do not often think about Jonah. But when I do, I think back on my Sunday School years & the flannel graph board. There would be the pictures of Jonah; one of him inside the whale & one of him being spewed (better than saying, vomited!!) out on the shore. Not until the other day, did I discover a verse hidden in the Book of Jonah that speaks a sermon all on its own.
From inside the belly of the fish, Jonah is praying. His prayer is recorded in Chapter 2. Amongst other things prayed, he says this:
“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord.” (Jonah 2:8-9).
Did you catch the significance of what Jonah has learned?
Idols block grace from coming into our lives.
The Message words it such, “Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds, walk away from their only true love.”
Any idol is false, hollow, fraudulent, & will take us away from our only true love – God. Only when he was swallowed by the great fish, only when he was alone with himself & God, did Jonah begin to see what he was losing, what he was forfeiting. It is then that he has a change of heart & says:
“But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed, I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord.”
He has realized all that he was giving up due to his pride, his disobedience, his rebellion. He has realized that nothing was worth losing the grace that was his. He has learned that the way of obedience is the way of blessing.
Guess what happens?
“And the Lord commanded the fish, & it vomited Jonah onto dry land.” (Jonah 2:10).
Yes, God gave the big heave-ho (lol, pun intended) & Jonah was on dry land having learned his lesson.
Two questions to ask ourselves:
- What am I clinging to?
- What is it that I am forfeiting?
May we be willing to let go of idols in our lives. May we be willing to go the road of obedience. May we cling only to Him – He is worth it!!!