The Jonah Commission – Day Twenty-One
Day 21. TIME FOR A ‘FAITH LIFT’
Read Jonah 2:1-10. Bible sceptics mock the book of Jonah as an ‘Old wives tale”. It’s impossible nonsense to them. Sometimes even to Christians. In reality, it is easier for them to believe Jonah fainted and revived than that he died and was raised. But this is not just a story from ‘Ripley’s Believe it or Not’, and it is not there just to make us gasp in wonder at its audacious imaginative creativity. It is true. It is a death and resurrection story, and it’s there to honour God, and help us submit to God’s call and death-and-life-dealing holiness in our own lives also. When we were born again, we died to our ‘old self’ and were raised spiritually as ‘new men and women’ by the power of God. The same will happen with our dead corpses and missing remains, when Jesus returns. We come back in our new, 33-year old bodies again, and we will fully recognisable again to others in heaven. God really can do that!
The God of the Bible arranged a total of eight miracles in this book. Alec Motyer comments in The Story of the Old Testament (p.112) ”This puts the emphasis where it belongs; there is a sovereign God who controls all things, all powers and means are at his disposal, but his awesome, irresistible power is his love at work, when even his destructive capacity is directed to constructive ends…All of these miracles affirm God’s freedom to act in his own world in his own ways.” The God who ordained a howling gale, the cast lots, the sudden calm, the great sea-monster, the overnight vine and the destroying worm – could easily arrange Jonah’s death, swallowing, regurgitation and resurrection from the very jaws of death! He is not the God of the philosophers! He is one true Living God! The narrative soberly describes both Jonah’s maritime adventures and his city-wide conversion-success, and the profound moral change in a huge city, as sober fact. Our hope does not lie in the tonic of human legends, but in the faith engendering power of God-empowered facts! The lessons of ‘Jonah in the Deep’ are plain.
- The sailors died to false hopes of survival without God
- The stormy sea died to its raging anger by God’s command
- Jonah died to running his life and ministry without God
- We can all die to self-directed preferences and find God’s will
- We too can raise our faith and our game in Gospel mission
A whole city would eventually live because Jonah became dead and buried. Think and pray about what God wants to do with your life.