READ JONAH ONE
Jonah has told the sailors to throw him overboard. And they do so, but they do so reluctantly.
What do the sailors do before they throw Jonah overboard, and why do they do it? (Name two things)
What does Jonah do before being thrown overboard?
Do you notice anything ironic about this?
The sailors, unversed in the Word of God, plead with God for mercy. First, they try to row back to land because they don’t want to bear responsibility for the life of a man of God. And, second, they cry out to God for mercy because they cannot, in their own physical strength, save themselves or Jonah.
We can’t help but notice, though, that Jonah is silent in the face of death. The sailors – non-believers and unfamiliar with the character of Yahweh – call out God in prayer. But not Jonah. Jonah was asked by the captain to pray, and he did not. And Jonah is surrounded by those praying, and he does not. Jonah is totally silent before God, even as he faces his own death.
Why do you suppose this is?
We are poignantly reminded here of the lesson we looked at during the first week of the study: when we run from our calling we also run from the Calling One. Jonah has fled God’s presence in disobedience, and he retains that distance by remaining silent.
Knowing what you know about God’s character (from the book of Jonah and the rest of the Scriptures), what would Jonah need to do to be restored to fellowship with God?
Though Jonah is distant, God is only a prayer-breath away. At any moment, Jonah can repent of his rebellion and his fellowship with God will be restored. The joy of the Gospel and the character of our God is that He is quick to forgive, and this elaborate grace is extended to Jonah – and to you and me.
Yesterday, we considered areas of our lives where we have allowed unrepented sin to grow. The same grace that was extended to Jonah is extended to you and me – God is quick to forgive! He draws near to the contrite in spirit, and He gladly extends His mercy to all who call out to Him.
PRAY & REFLECT
Thank God that an unchanging part of His character is that He is quick to forgive. Thank Him that He is always only a prayer away and that He always longs to be in fellowship with His people.