Let me tell you something that you more than likely have heard hundreds of times by now. God has something for you to do! This time don’t just let it go in one ear and out the other, or in this case in one eye and out the other. Believe it! God tells us to do things in many ways. Through Bible reading, urging of the Holy Spirit, and the authorities that God has put in your life. You then will have the choice to obey Him or disobey Him.
Just as God has something for you to do, God had something for Jonah to do. Jonah was a preacher. God wanted him to go to Nineveh and preach to them but Jonah disobeyed and fled to Tarshish by way of a ship. Let me tell you a little secret, God will never bless disobedience! God sent a storm to where that ship was and the mariners who were on board were afraid. Not only will your decisions affect you, but they will affect those around you! The mariners woke Jonah up because the Bible says they knew he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, they knew that he was not doing what God wanted him to do. Jonah’s response is very sad to me. Jonah 1:12 says “And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea…” Jonah rather die than face his problems, he rather be cast into the sea than get right with God. How prideful Jonah was! Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride cometh, then cometh shame:”
Just because we know what happens next in the story doesn’t mean Jonah did. He had no clue God prepared a way for him. That way back was a fish. When he was cast into the sea a great fish swallowed him. That seems gross, smelly, and uncomfortable. Truth is, the way back after running from God will not be as pleasant as the way God planned it, but it is possible. God could have just let him die. God is a merciful God, He is a God of second chances. I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Are you or have you ever found yourself in Jonah’s sandals? Maybe you’re tired of doing what you know is right or you just don’t feel up to God’s task for you. If you have recently ran or have thought about running from God and what he wants you to do such as Jonah, then you are in the belly of your fish that God has prepared for you. You have a decision to make, such as Jonah did. If Jonah never got right with God he would have died in the belly of that great fish. Are you wanting out of the fish or are you content with death? You may not physically die running from God, but you will spiritually die, and that is much worse.
Jonah made a decision. You see, Jonah decided to take God’s second chance, get over himself, face his problem, and do what God wanted him to do, God’s will. Which was go preach in Nineveh. In fact, the result was great, a great revival! Before the Nineveh revival happened there had to be a Jonah revival in the belly of the fish. Lessons from Jonah on how to have revival in the belly of the fish:
1. Jonah revived his walk with God (Jonah 2:1-2)
If you’re not walking with God, you’re running from God. There is no way God can use you again if you don’t want to revive that relationship you once had. If a husband gets on his wife’s bad side, there is no way she will forgive him if he doesn’t even attempt to talk to her, or listen to her. It is the same with God. God will not use someone that doesn’t talk to him through prayer, or listen to Him by reading His Word!
2. Jonah realized where he was in his life (Jonah 2:4-5)
If you do not admit where you are you can never get help. You can not live in a false reality where you say you’re doing good but you’re living the opposite. You have probably heard the first step of recovery is what… admitting you have a problem. Our flesh is our problem. Admit the flesh controls you at times. Then die to self and your will so you can be in God’s perfect will
3. Jonah remembered what God has already done for him (Jonah 2:7)
When I find myself in the belly of a fish, I think of when God saved my soul from hell at a 13 years old , and now I have a home in heaven! I also think of different things God has blessed me with. If you honestly think you have not been blessed by God, think again! Go to a private place where you can think, get a pen and paper, and start to write
down all that God has done for you. I promise that you won’t be able to stop.
4. Jonah renewed his sacrifice for God (Jonah 2:9)
Renew means to renovate; to restore to a former state, or to a good start, after decay or depravation; to rebuild; to repair. Jonah got to the place where he once was. He forgot his fear, and didn’t care what others thought. He was willing to suffer for God. Remind yourself that Jesus died for you, and the least you can do is live for him! Romans
5. Jonah ran to do God’s will (Jonah 3:1-4)
Once you get to this step you are so excited to serve the Lord, you will let nothing stop you! It only took Jonah one day to make a three day trip. What is Gods will for you right now? God’s will for you is to read your Bible, pray, go soul-winning, bring people to church, and listen to the authorities God has placed in your life. You just need to focus on the now and let God work out the later. I promise you that you will never regret it!
6. Revival Broke out (Jonah 3:5&10)
Revival came to Nineveh and great results happened! But remember, we may not always see the results we think we worked for. Do not get discouraged! During a spring program a bus route had a low day. They had maybe 20 riders while other routes had 50. They prayed all week for 5 saved, but only one was saved. Two years later that girl that was saved on the low day was involved in a accident, was killed and entered into eternity. That bus captain probably thought his bus had a bad day because he didn’t get the numbers he thought he worked and prayed for, but because of their efforts that girl is now in Heaven. He was used of God to change her eternity. Remember, God has something for you to do! If you are thinking about, or maybe you are running from God and you find yourself in the belly of a fish; you have a decision to make like Jonah did. To do what God wants us to do we must throw away our pride, die to yourself and live in obedience to God no matter how we feel!
Assistant Youth Pastor
Mount Olivet Baptist Church | Lexington, KY