Jonah’s flight from God was not without problems. His short-lived “rest” was disturbed when God miraculously intervened with the storm. Jonah is saved from a watery grave by God, who orders a fish to save Jonah.
However, it is only when Jonah finds himself in a forced three-day rest in the stomach of the big fish that he realizes how very dependent he is on God. Sometimes we have to be brought to the place where we don’t have anything that this world offers to lean on in order to realize that Jesus is who we really need.
Read Jonah’s prayer in the belly of the fish (see Jonah 2:1-9). What does he pray about?
Though he was there in the deep, in a very dangerous situation, Jonah, in his prayer, prays about the sanctuary. He will look toward “Your holy temple.”
What is going on here?
The temple forms a focal point of this prayer, and it should be the central point of prayer in general. There is primarily only one place in the Old Testament where God can be found. He is in the sanctuary (see Exodus 15:17, Exodus 25:8). The sanctuary is the central point of prayer and communion with God.
Yet, Jonah is not referencing the Jerusalem temple. Rather, he is talking about the heavenly sanctuary (Jonah 2:7). That’s where his hope exists, because that’s where God and the salvation He offers truly come from.
Jonah finally understands this important truth. He has experienced God’s grace. He has been saved. As the big fish spits him out, he understands firsthand about God’s love for him, a runaway prophet. He certainly has learned (even if not without some detours on the way) that the only safe course for any believer is to seek to be in God’s will.
So, now he decides to do his duty and obey God’s orders, finally heading for Nineveh, no doubt on faith, as he is heading toward an exceedingly wicked city whose citizens might not like this foreign prophet telling them just how bad they are.
|Sometimes we might just need to get away from it all in order to get a fresh perspective on things. Though the story of Jonah, who miraculously survived in the belly of his fish, is a rather extreme case, how might stepping out of your normal environment allow you to look at it from a new and perhaps needed perspective?|