Brothers and Sisters,
(Jonah 2:10) And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
As I continue to look at the story of Jonah this week, I am reminded that we serve a God of the second chance. In my own life, not only has God given me a second chance, but a 3rd, 4th, and on and on. It’s inevitable in life that we will make mistakes. None of us are perfect. However, I find comfort in knowing that God is merciful to me a sinner and offers me a chance for reconciliation if only I will repent of my wrongdoing and turn to Him.
As Jonah was running away from God’s calling to go to Nineveh, he came to himself much like the prodigal son and cried out to God from the belly of the fish. (Jonah 2:1-2) Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.
Jonah describes where he finds himself as not only being in the belly of the fish, but he describes it as being in the belly of hell. Our lives can be described as “hell on earth” or “heaven on earth”. The choice is up to us. (Proverbs 14:12) There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. When men and women choose to live their lives apart from God and go in the opposite direction from what He is calling them to do, I can assure you that their lives will end up being like “hell on earth”.
Jonah didn’t need one of the Baptist brethren to tell him where he went wrong. Jonah knew exactly what he had done to get himself into the predicament he found himself in and if we’ll be honest most of the time, we know the causes of our own predicaments. No one has to tell us where we went wrong. We know when we turned away from God and went in the wrong direction.
Isn’t it interesting that we have to reach rock bottom before we come to our senses. I don’t have the answer as to why this is the case and I wish this wasn’t true, but it is. At least that’s the way it seems to work in my life. When we have tried every possible solution and nothing seems to work, then as a last resort we turn our attention to God.
The Bible says that when Jonah cried out of the belly of hell, the Lord heard his voice. It sure is good to know that in our darkest times the Lord hears our cries. How many times have we cried out in despair knowing that God was our only hope? And isn’t it amazing that He always hears us and comes to our aid. I really don’t understand how the lost person makes it through this life without having someone to turn to when things are turned upside down. This is one of the greatest blessings of knowing the Lord. Just to know that He is near and that He hears our cries.
Now we come to our text verse. The Lord spake to the fish and vomited out Jonah upon the dry land. God was giving Jonah another chance. As I sit here putting together this morning devotion to share with you, I just want to shout and praise the Lord for giving me another chance when I have messed up in my life. If I had not been given chance after chance to make things right in my life, it’s untelling where my life might have ended up.
We serve a God this morning that is longsuffering which means that He is patient with us. I am reminded of the potter who never throws away the clay. He just takes it and puts it back on his potter’s wheel and makes it into a new vessel.
May I encourage you today to not make the same mistake as Jonah did by going in the opposite direction from God, but if you have found yourself just like Jonah far away from God, please know that there is a loving Heavenly Father just waiting for you to turn around and call upon Him and He will do for you what He has done for countless others and give you another chance.