Grace for Today: God’s Provision

Grace for Today

Jonah experiences God’s provision of salvation

Thank you for joining me for more Grace for Today.  I’m so glad you’ve taken the time to sit down and look to God’s Word with me today.  May the Lord bless your efforts to understand His Word more thoroughly.

*Please open your Bible and read Jonah Chapter 2.

Look with me at verse three. Jonah declares that it was God who cast him into the sea. However, in 1:15 we read that it was the sailors who threw Jonah overboard. Unless we believe in God’s sovereignty we come up against a clear contradiction. What Jonah is telling us is that God used these pagan men to do His bidding. God can and does control every event. God controls governments, all people, and all things.  Jonah saw God’s Sovereignty.

Jonah doesn’t stop there, he goes on to declare that the storm belonged to God, he says, your waves and your billows passed over me. God created the waves but Jonah is declaring that the Lord sent them for a purpose. It was the Lord’s storm and this prophet realized the truth of sovereignty.  What those sailors didn’t know was that they were obeying the divine decree of God.

After thinking about the event, Jonah began to see the hand of the Lord in it.  Not only did Jonah see God’s sovereignty but Jonah also saw God’s salvation.

[9] But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!” Here, Jonah is recounting his thoughts and his prayer. Previously he said, ‘I am driven away from your sight; Yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.’ Jonah has learned that God is present in all places at all times. His efforts had done nothing but get him deeper and deeper in distress. We have the description of the event. The water closed in around him, the deep surrounded him, weeds were wrapped around him, and he sank to the base of the mountains. In his mind his life had ended, whose bars closed upon me forever. In Jonah’s mind he was dead and buried, he had breathed his last. Notice what happened next.  Yet you brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God. God is the One who is glorified in saving Jonah.

If you are born again today, you can relate to Jonah. When in our efforts to save ourselves we sank all the deeper, it takes God to lift us up out our dead condition to bring life into our soul. We inherit salvation and God is glorified. It took Christ to set us on solid ground. It took Christ to secure our eternity with the Father.

That’s why Jonah warns everyone about the vanity of placing hope in anything but the true God.  [8] Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.

The rebellious prophet has seen the error of his ways. He had set himself up as god when he thought that he could have the last word. When he thought that somehow he could outrun the Lord he had set himself up as an idol. In so doing, Jonah was experiencing God’s judgment.

Is there a vain idol in your life? Do you think, like Jonah, that you’re in charge? Do you think that this year is in your hands to control? Most of us at some point or other believe that we handle things.  We think we come up with answers, and that we control our destiny.

How does vain idol worship manifest itself in our lives?  Do you get upset when events don’t turn out like you think they should or like you planned?  Do you worry about the future? Are you afraid of not knowing what is in store? Do you try to control events and people? We must realize with Jonah that vain idols will only bring us to destruction.  We must be thankful to the real God and love Him supremely over and above all other things… including ourselves.

Jonah now realized that he had been playing games. It’s time to live up to his calling as a prophet.  Jonah realized that he deserved death not deliverance. He also realized that no one deserved deliverance, not the Ninevites and not him.

[10] And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.

Can you just imagine Jonah standing up on the beach? He washes as much of the stuff off as he can and then he declares Salvation belongs to the Lord!” The Book of Jonah is all about salvation. So far, chapter 1 shows the sailor’s salvation. Here in chapter 2 we see Jonah’s salvation. Salvation is of the Lord. What did Jonah mean by that? Did Jonah have any hope in saving himself when the water had swallowed him and he was sinking to the depths and the bars enclosed him? Of course not. What Jonah is saying and what we need to be reminded of is that it is God alone who affects salvation.

What is the message for us today? Salvation is of the Lord!!

Jonah is the account of a person on the run from God. This is exactly the natural condition of all people. All people are running away from God. It takes God to move, to capture us. It takes God to make the first move if anyone is to have hope. Are you running from God? Have you been on the run for a while, perhaps years? Perhaps you thought it foolish to trust in Jesus Christ. But now you are thinking a little differently. Maybe, you think, there’s something to this after all. All people have been in your situation. We have all trusted in vain idols before our eyes were opened to the infinite worth of Christ. Jonah is like all books in the Old Testament, it points to Christ.

God has provided the way for eternal life through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ.

As amazing as Jonah’s resurrection was, there was one greater than Jonah.

Matthew 12:38-41 (ESV)

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.”  [39] But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.  [40] For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.  [41] The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

What Christ declared to the Pharisees is that they will suffer God’s wrath because they were unwilling to repent. Jesus tells the Pharisees that Nineveh repented at the preaching of a half-hearted prophet. They refused to repent at the preaching of the Son of God who unlike Jonah went willingly.

How about you? Have you heard the gospel message over and over and refused to repent? Be careful, as Jonathan Edwards said, There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God.

Do not harden your heart to the Holy Spirit’s calling repent and turn to Christ today for salvation and see the grace of God.

If you’ve read this article and are wondering about salvation please contact me, I’d love to speak with you about it. Send me an e-mail brianevans1689@yahoo.com

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Brian