December 29 – Jonah – The Pickled Prophet

Read Jonah 2:1-10

“From inside the fish Jonah prayed…”

I read six words and already my mind is blown. Inside a fish, a man did anything aside from being digested. It touches places in my imagination that, were it not for the truth I believe the Bible to be, would only stand in a strange piece of fiction. But God had a plan that involved this man, Jonah, so He arranged a savior in the form of a great big fish to keep him alive.

And from there Jonah prayed.

Of all the things that God could have given to Jonah, He provided a fish’s belly as a respite. God provided mercy for Jonah just like He wanted to provide mercy and grace for Ninevah. But Jonah hated that city.

The words of his prayer read like a turning point for Jonah and his hard-hearted life of self-centered disobedience. But the rest of the story proves his verbiage insincere at best. Even after three days in a fish’s stomach, Jonah remained unwilling to sacrifice his own expectations for the city he despised.

So God commanded the fish to vomit and out came Jonah. I imagine the physical stench mirrored the spiritual scent God smelled on his man. God did not care for the words that only sounded like praise. He wanted Jonah’s obedient heart, not his beautiful words.

Even so, the truth of verse 8 rings loud and true. “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.” If only Jonah had seen that truth for himself. If only he’d given up the idol that was himself, his pride, his desire for things to go his own way.

What kind of worthless idols do you cling to? What kind of life lived from the freedom of God’s love are you forfeiting as you cling to them? What are you holding onto that holds you back from experiencing the freedom that comes from fully surrendering to and obeying God?

Is it financial? A relationship? Your own need for approval? Is it living in what’s comfortable?

Whatever it is, God’s love is better. His plan is always best. Whatever worthless idol you cling to will never bring the true freedom God gives to those who trust His way and follow Him wholeheartedly.

Bria Wasson

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