Jonah, who wished to run from the presence of God, was now experiencing the realization of his wish. Try to imagine the physical peril that Jonah was under: hurled from the deck of a ship, into massive tumultuous waves, submerged into a salty sea; then to wake up in the slimy smelly pit of a fish’s belly, perhaps, thinking he has awaken in the pit of the outer darkness of hell itself.
What does Jonah do? He turns to the holy of holies – he turns to his Father in prayer. What boldness! What audacity! One may ask: What right did Jonah have to address God at all? Surely God will not hear the prayer of such a sinner as he. Is not the judgment that Jonah is experiencing evidence enough that God had forsaken him? Wouldn’t it have been better for Jonah to turn inward and examine himself to see if he was even a follower of Yahweh? How can a man in such condition ever think he could stand on God’s holy hill in His presence ever again? The answer is, of course the amazing grace and prodigal mercy of God. Jonah had to experience the grace and mercy of God firsthand and radically, if he was going to be a minister of that grace to the people of Nineveh. And he had, as his spirit was revived and as He called to mind the Word of God and began to pray.
If this prodigal, sinful, loveless, disobedient prophet can go to God, while still under the Old Covenant, how much more should we, as redeemed children of God covered with the blood of the New Covenant, boldly approach the throne of God to find grace and mercy? Ponder and answer the following question honestly: When you are pressed in on all sides, when you are suffering, feeling lost or afraid, or out of control, when the world seems to be caving in around you, where do you run? Retreat? Solitude? Denial? Resignation? Or the Throne of Grace and Mercy? If it is not the latter, then why not? Is there something that you think you must first get right before you can approach God? This is an indication of a legalistic self-sufficient heart – and likely the circumstance you find yourself in will not let up until you repent of such thinking.
The thoughts and feeling described in Jonah’s prayer are proof that the severity of his affliction had accomplished their sanctifying affect. Jonah poured out his heart in prayer as a result of a revived Spirit of Sonship. You too are a son, so take your privilege and go to God’s throne of grace boldly.
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