Jonah daily devotional thought -  written by Trevor Williams

Jonah 1

But the Lord provided v17

It is amazing how many provisions the Lord has for his people.  At night the moon and stars provide light by day the sun is light and warmth.  Food is provided on land and sea and these are just a few physical blessings.  When we consider God’s grace and mercy in salvation, cleansing from sin and the glory of Heaven, we still only skirt around the goodness of the Almighty.

Jonah was a preacher of some standing in his own community and seemingly so effective that God would have him be an international evangelist and so he became eventually but not of any free choice.  He should have gone east; he went west and intended to go as far as it was possible to go.

One feels sorry for the sailors who took him on board their ship. When they knew who and what he was and which God he served they quickly became afraid.  These men were not Jews to be acquainted with the law and blessings but would have been believers in many gods, but none of these other gods put fear into their souls like the God of Israel.  They did everything they could to save Jonah.  Reluctantly there was no other choice and Jonah had to be thrown into the sea like rubbish.

‘But’ is such a huge word that invariable changes the situation. ‘But the Lord’ this was to be an action of the Almighty a change of situation for the prophet. But the Lord provided’ such was the case, Jonah would be saved.  The Lord provided clothes in the Garden of Eden.  A ram instead of Isaac for sacrifice – Genesis 22:14.  His graciousness for providing goes on from one example to another as it does from one generation to another.  God himself shall provide for us today, internally, externally and eternally.  The provisions of God’s Almighty hand are never scarce.


Jonah 2

…the fish….vomited v10

Many people think the Bible and its author, God, to be somewhat too delicate.  Salvation, Heaven, angels and all things nice, warm and cuddly seem to be some impressions of the Almighty.  When we start to read scripture we see anything but fluffy slippers and warm blankets.  Here we see a god who will have no other religious practise encroach upon him.  Mankind can delude itself into thinking that God does not see our every action; that God does not care for the detail of our lives.  But he does and this Jonah discovered all too well.  In chapter 1 Jonah is swallowed by a great fish but in chapter 2 he is vomited out again.  One wonders if the fish had enough of Jonah.  The fish does nothing discreetly but does at least let Jonah out onto dry ground but not cleaned up and ready to go.  Jonah was covered in vomited fish waste, a stinking mess.  Horrified Jonah stood on the sea shore in shock and disgrace.  Would he have gone back into the sea to bathe and try to wash his clothes?  We do not know but what we do know is that his hearing was not impaired because God spoke to him again.

Jonah and the fish has been re-told from one generation to the next in various ways over time but one of the greatest lessons we must learn is that when God calls we must listen and obey.  Our independence and plans must also be set aside when we are called to follow Jesus and be his disciple.  Then when we are called to service we must be ready.  Every Christian is a minister of the gospel and be that ministry large or small it is ours by divine choice and we must never give up and try to run away.  We may never have a fish to swallow us and vomit us out, but shame and disgrace can still cling to us for our disobedience.  Rather let us hear the voice of God and gladly follow.


Jonah 3

The Message v1

Most church members have sat through some sermons longing for the preacher to finish.  It is a long standing directive that the preacher tells you what he is going to tell you, tell you and tell you what he told you.  This makes up a basic three point sermon which most preachers recognise.  Jonah had a message from God for the city of Nineveh which comprised of just eight words; ‘forty more days and Nineveh will be destroyed.’  No message of love, repentance of forgiveness.  No hope, no grace, no mercy; the shortest sermon in history and the one with the greatest response.  We read in v5 that all of them from the greatest to the least put on sackcloth.

There is not a preacher in the world who would not like to see the power of God work in this way.  One sermon, eight words, one hundred and twenty thousand responses.  No one that is except Jonah.  What a shame for the man whose story is told down through millennia.

Many churches would like to see growth with more people attending services and more making a full commitment to Christ.  Many congregations would also like to hear sermons which motivate, convict and convince, but often they do not.  The Christian must realise though that the power of the message is not the messenger but the message itself.  It would be good for churches to be praying even while the sermon is being preached.

Sermons are not only heard in the pulpit; the greatest sermons are often told around the table or sitting down in a comfortable chair.  Here every Christian can share their faith.  The gospel story of Jesus and His love needs little preparation but the love of one person to another.  Let our sermons be short and let them be filled with Jesus.


Jonah 4

It sprang up overnight and died overnight v 10

There are three miracles in this little book of Jonah; the great fish, the growth of the vine and its destruction by a worm.  Jonah’s joy seems only apparent once and that was when the vine grew and he could look at the city to see if it would be destroyed.  Jonah, it seems, was a misery and it seems so self-pitying that he could stare God in the face and rebuke the Almighty.  Was Jonah a coward and a liar?  We must decide ourselves but we do know from chapter 1:3 that he ran away from the Lord, now in 4:2 he gives the reason that he ran away as the compassion of God.  How can we run away from God’s compassion and mercy?  To do so seems horrendous, but we all do it at some time or other.

Have we, the servants of God, grumbled at blessings given to others when we wanted some praise or acknowledgement?  Have we had some good thing happen either physically or spiritually only for it to speedily go again?  Have we been motivated to do some good work for God only to ignore the call and turn our backs saying we are too busy?  How our souls longs for forgiveness at times like these.  We ache with callous hearts when we realise we could have given a blessing but we did not, and we know that when a blessing is given a blessing is received.

What fickle people we are.  We are no better than Jonah; coward, liar and grumbler he may have been.  But there is still today that we might turn around.  The repentant may still smile and hold out a hand of blessing.  We may have many faults but if we love the Lord we are his to change.  Cowards can be heroes, the weak can the strong, the self-centred can, even today live for others.  What will you be today?


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