Sacrificial Thanksgiving — Jonah 2

I just opened my Bible and there it was…..Is that carelessness or the leading of the Holy Spirit. One of the Wesley’s had something to say about that. (Don’t worry, I will check that out soon and get the exact details here. I don’t like vaguenes either.) But my Bible did just fall open this morning to Jonah chapter two. Verses I had previously highlighted jumped out at me, specifically Jonah 2:9: But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed., Salvation is of the Lord.My first thought was, is this a command or a personal thought from the author? I am always a little bit confused about that. I looked it up on http://scripturetext.com to see what I could find. BTW, I will be bookmarking that site for future reference. Wow!I think of the sacrifices we make as humans, mothers, wives, and employees. Are those the type of sacrifices that are being talked about? Probably….since there should not be a distinction of secular vs. sacred. And all these sacrifices should be done with thanksgiving. Everything should be done with thanksgiving. And I guess that was the Aha thought for this verse.And the next part of the verse, “I will pay that that I have vowed.” Wesley’s notes for this verse suggests that the “vow” was to go to Ninevah and preach what God commanded him. If I understand this correctly, then Jonah is saying that he will go to Ninevah sacrificially and thankfully. Something that was detestable to Jonah.I think of the most sacrificial time in my life–other than as a mother of newborns. That is when I was working at the largest fundamentalist university in South Carolina–working full time with six children still at home. I worked for five years and counted every moment as a sacrifice. Yet this was a sacrifice I was thankful to make. Very, very thankful to make. And it was a sacrifice. But more on the context of the verse. We need to remember that Jonah was in the whale of the belly. Yes, maybe he was “brought to his knees,” so to speak. But Matthew Henry reminds us that God is always listening and waiting for our cry.

Also, where he prayed; in the belly of the fish. No place is amiss for prayer. Men may shut us from communion with one another, but not from communion with God. To whom he prayed; to the Lord his God. This encourages even backsliders to return.

There is no place that is outside the boundary of God’s hearing us. And there is no situation that can cause us not to be able to pray to God. No matter how bad we are, how horrible the sin is, how worthless we feel, we are still welcome to pray. We are encouraged in Hebrews to come boldly before the throne of grace. Not just when we have had our devotions and have done “good” things, but when we have sinned terribly and are “in the whale of the belly.”Praise God for his kindness!

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~ by shoesofiron on June 25, 2007.

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