June 24 – God of Second Chances – Jonah

Read Jonah 1:17-3:3

The news headline just yesterday was “Man Claims He Was Swallowed by a Whale!” The man in the story said he was only in the whale’s mouth for a few seconds, but how scary would that have been?  Yet, the Bible tells us that Jonah was not just in the mouth of a big fish but was actually in its belly for 3 days and 3 nights! 

Jonah had tried to hide from God but then he found himself drowning in the sea tangled in seaweed and being thrown from side to side by the waves. Helpless and hopeless!   

Psalms 139 tells us that we believers are never REALLY helpless:

“Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

If I make my home in the depths, you are there.

EVEN THERE YOUR HAND WILL GUIDE ME,

YOUR HAND WILL HOLD ME FAST!”

And that is exactly what God did.  He didn’t let Jonah drown but gave him a second chance.

Can you imagine thinking you are about to die, then, all of a sudden, you find yourself in the belly of a huge fish?  One on one with God?  It was almost like God was saying, “Jonah, are you finished trying to hide yet? Let’s talk!”

This whole mess was fueled by hate.  Jonah hated the people of Ninevah and he did not want them to hear about God and the hope of salvation.  He was being selfish with what he himself had been given freely and that was the love of the one true God!  Did he know one of those people individually?  No!  Had he listened to their stories of their struggles in life?  Had he even looked into their eyes and saw their loneliness or pain?  No! God was not only rescuing Jonah, but giving him a taste of what life was like without God and to only have worthless idols to turn to.

God rescued Jonah and gave him a second chance just like He wanted to do for the people of Ninevah. 

We don’t know exactly what Jonah said to the people of Ninevah to get them to repent of their ways, but I would hope that his experience in the big fish played a part in some way.  God’s will is that no one should perish but have everlasting life with Him! What second chances has He given you? Were you drowning at some point in your life and God scooped you out of the depths of despair and set you on the right path?  Do you know someone who is at that point in their lives right now who could benefit from hearing your story?                 

Why not make it your prayer today that you will be aware of the needs of the people around you and for God to guide you in leading them to God so they, too, can have a second chance!

Pat Arnold

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