Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Great Fish

Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the stomach of the fish… Jonah 2:1
It is a fact that what goes up, must come down.  No matter how you try to stay on the high peaks of the mountain, at some point you descend into the deep dark valley. At some point you hit bottom.  You may hit bottom when you make wrong, foolish choices, or you may hit bottom because of the wrong foolish choices of others.  Jonah was just about as deep as you can get into the valley – below sea level in the belly of whale. That is as opposite of the mountaintop there is. 

Start Praying Right Where You Are
When Jonah found himself in the belly of the whale, he immediately cried out to God.  Some seem to think that Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days before he began to pray.  I believe that before he cleared the tonsils of the fish he was already praying.  God heard Jonah’s prayer.  Just about that time, a big fish happened along and swallowed Jonah up, a miracle of God’s grace! It was God’s way of giving Jonah a second chance.  It was more than that.  The Great Fish was...

  • A protective haven from the sea – Jonah 1:17 “Jonah was in the fish.”
    The fish represents God’s provision for Jonah’s protection. God still intended to use Jonah.
  • A private sanctuary with the Lord – Jonah 2:1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the stomach of the fish,
    What is a “sanctuary?”  It is the place where you encounter God.
  • A personal transport to the coast – Jonah 2:10. “God commanded the fish and it vomited Jonah on dry land”
When we find ourselves in the valley – or the “belly of the whale”, we cry out in distress to God too.  He hears you, even if you feel like He doesn’t.  Jonah was really lucky because he only had to spend 3 days in his valley.  Oh, he had plenty of trials to face the rest of the way through his journey to Nineveh but some of us spend a much longer time in the valley, waiting on God and His timing. 
God always has us where we are for a purpose.  Jonah was in the belly of the whale for a purpose!  R. T. Kendall put it this way, he said: the belly of the fish is not a happy place to LIVE, but it is a good place to LEARN.  Jonah had a lot to LEARN.  Just because you’ve hit bottom doesn’t mean God has abandoned you.  These are the hardest times to have faith and simply “wait on the Lord”. 

Many times we are in the valley because of our own doing.  Jonah was not on his way to Nineveh when he fell overboard.  He was running from God.  He was guilty of disobedience.  That's why he was in the water.  And if you are wondering, "Is there hope for me? Right now I don’t even want to change.  Will God have mercy on me and hear my cry of distress?"  Take heart from Jonah.  His distress was the fruit of his guilt, but God answered him and gave him another chance.

Listen for God’s Voice
God answers our cry of distress even when we are guilty.  When we have failed God, ourselves and others, Satan would have us believe we are RUINED. “God can never use me again.”  The most important thing you need to remember when you hit bottom is not how far you’ve fallen or how impossible your situation seems. The most important thing to remember is Who can rescue you from the pit.

You may not be in the valley because of anything you have done.  You may simply be waiting on an answer to a desperate prayer.  Keep seeking Him in your desperation.  He knows and He does have a purpose and plan for this valley.

Scripture to Claim:
I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock…Psalm 40:1-2

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