Jonah | Day Five
By: Taylor Flatt
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“God has promised to supply all our needs. What we don’t have now, we don’t need now.” - Elisabeth Elliot
My favorite animal is a whale. Actually, my favorite animal is Shamu.
The first time I ever went to Seaworld and saw Shamu, I completely fell in love and briefly considered abandoning all of my previous plans to become a whale trainer.
Seriously, Shamu amazed me.
From that day forward whales became my favorite animal on the planet.
Now, the Bible doesn’t tell us that the fish that swallowed Jonah was a whale. However, we know that it must have been a large fish and because of my love for whales, I like to imagine it that way.
But let me just say - even though whales are my favorite animal on the planet and swimming with them at seaworld is my dream, I would never ever want to be swallowed by one and live in it’s belly for three days. Never.
But that’s exactly where we find our friend Jonah.
Read Jonah 1:17.
While the verse you just read is pretty simple, it’s probably the craziest verse in the entire story. In fact, of all the crazy miracles that God performs in the Old Testament I might venture to call this one the craziest. And as absolutely crazy as it seems to have a giant fish swallow Jonah, I think that’s exactly God’s point.
Yesterday, we talked about God’s lavish grace for us and as far as I’m concerned, this is lavish, extravagant, crazy grace.
In this story, God goes to the most extreme lengths to show Jonah (and to show us) that it’s impossible to outrun His grace.
Read Psalm 139. Read Psalm 139:7-12 again.
Is it possible to run away from God?
What does it mean for God to go behind and before you? How does verse 3 remind you of the story of Jonah?
The ultimate example of God’s steadfast love and gracious pursuit in this story is the giant fish that swallowed Jonah. Even in the depths of the sea, God still sees Jonah and pursues him with endless mercy and grace. We need to know that even when we feel like we’re out of reach, God is pursuing us with the very same extravagance.
God pursues His people by providing for His people. God’s provision is an indication of His pursuit. He graciously provided for Jonah because He always provides for His people and in this circumstance, God used a giant fish as an expression of His provision.
But let me ask you this question: Why did God choose to provide for Jonah with a giant fish?
God could have used anything to save Jonah, right? I mean, He’s God! Surely if He wanted to He could have used a raft or a piece of driftwood or anything other than being swallowed by a fish to save Jonah from drowning at sea. But God, in His infinite wisdom and understanding, chose to provide for Jonah in the way that would bring God the most glory.
All too often I miss God’s provision in my life because I’m too busy complaining or I haven’t received provision in the way I would have preferred.
In Jonah’s case, he could have complained that God saved him by sending a giant fish rather than a raft or lifeboat. But Jonah didn’t. He rejoiced that God saved him - even if it was through a giant fish!
I don’t always thank God for His provision in my life because it happens in a different way than expected. But even still, God knows what I need and I have to chose to trust Him.
When God provides for us differently than we think He should, it doesn’t mean that He’s holding out on us. It means that He sees the bigger picture and He knows exactly what we need.
Read Psalm 84:11. Rewrite it in your own words.
God doesn’t withhold good from us. Think about that for a second.
In your heart, have you even accused God of withholding good from you?
I know I have. However, I only feel like God is withholding good from me when I fail to recognize His provision for me.
God’s pursuit of us means that He will always provide and He will never withhold good.
How can you see God’s provision in your life today?