Jonah 2 is the famous part of Jonah’s story where he gets swallowed by a great fish. It is while he is in this smelly belly that Jonah cries out to the Lord. Put yourself in his shoes for a minute. He has been thrown overboard, which in and of itself must have been terrifying, and now finds himself swallowed by a sea creature, and yet still alive. I would have been in a panic.
There is no way that anyone can get out of this kind of circumstance on their own, and so it makes sense that Jonah calls out to the Lord to save him.
God is dealing pretty drastically with Jonah. But sometimes that is the only way God can reach our hearts and get our attention. Sin is not only ugly, but its roots go deep.
I’m not much of a gardener and I am ashamed to admit that we have had weeds in our yard that have grown so big that we couldn’t just pull them out or even dig them out with a shovel. Something more powerful and sharp was needed. Some of our sins are like that. Their vice-like claws dig stubbornly into the soft flesh of our hearts and it will take time and some pain for those sins to be weeded out.
Here are a few reasons why God may have to deal drastically with us in order to get our attention and help us kill those sins.
- We are stubborn
There are times we dig in our heals and refuse to repent from our sins because we are being stubborn. We just don’t want to and so we don’t.
- We cultivate the sin
Other times we love our sins even if our conscience bothers us. We think these sins will somehow bring fulfillment and happiness, and so we feed them, and prune them, thinking we are growing a beautiful rose bush in our lives when all we are doing is growing a weed tree, something that will choke us out if God doesn’t intervene.
- We ignore our sins
We all know that we have sin in our lives, but instead of asking the Lord to reveal them to us and then do the hard work of repenting and getting rid of those sins, we pretend they don’t exist or aren’t so bad. But over time those sins will grow or we will grow cold to the dangers associated with them.
It actually comes down to the fact that we do not have a good grasp on how ugly, dangerous, and offensive our sins are. If we did, we would hate them. We would brokenly ask for forgiveness and do all that we can do to weed them out. We would see that our sins not only affect our spiritual health, but they also have great effects on others.
Notice a few things with Jonah. In his prayer he never admits guilt or asks for forgiveness. He continues to be stubborn and a bit self-righteous (which we will see later). He is blinded toward his sin, and his refusal to obey God not only affects him, but also the sailors he was with and the people of Nineveh whom he was supposed to call to repentance.
Ironically, Jonah is more than willing to accept the mercy of the Lord as he is in the belly of this fish, but is reluctant for the Ninevites to receive this same mercy.
Sin is serious, whether we understand it or not. Sometimes the Lord will have to get our attention in hard ways to pry open our hands so we can begin to let go of the sins that we don’t want to part with – but that are slowing killing us. Be thankful for this grace in your life.
Looking to Jesus,
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