(This week’s devotions are based on Sunday’s message: Grace for All…Grace Pursues – LISTEN HERE)
Jonah 1:17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
This is the event most memorable to us in the story of Jonah…being swallowed by a big fish. This brief narrative statement packs a lot of reality in it.
The event wasn’t random. Jonah was surrounded by water, sinking to the depths with his life on the line. His actions of running from the Lord would certainly have justified the Lord’s actions to allow Jonah to perish. Yet…
…the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah.”
THE LORD PROVIDED.
The fish was unexpected. Perhaps the Lord providing another boat to pick up Jonah would have been normal, or Jonah found a piece of floating log and clung on to it until shore. Yet, the Lord provided at large fish.
An unexpected gift of grace.
Perhaps it wasn’t what Jonah was expecting, but it was what Jonah needed. The belly of the fish would be his home for the next three days and three nights.
It would have been easy for Jonah to complain of his circumstances, moan of the slimy, wet conditions of his room, and just demand a change in his situation.
But he doesn’t and it’s probably a good thing. God has his attention. And he realizes that he is alive in the belly of the fish because the LORD provided.
God is always ready to show his grace and sometimes it is shown in unexpected ways. How many times have we planned a solution to a problem only for the problem to be solved a different…and better way. Is it possible God provided the proper solution?
To be sure, God’s grace rescues us from even the most difficult situations, not always in the way we want or expect, but in the way that is best for us.
So for Jonah, the all-expense-paid 3 day/3 night stay in the belly of the fish was exactly what he needed. God wanted his attention and still wanted to use him.
And for Jonah, the belly of the fish was the best place.
While I do not advise getting thrown overboard into the sea and waiting for a fish to swallow you, the Spirit of God provides this brief narrative to remind us that God in his grace provides not always what we expect, or what we want, but always what we need.
Apply: What “great fish” has God sent into your life to rescue you in an unexpected, yet grace-filled way?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your love and grace that always gives what we need, even if it’s not what we expect. AMEN
Read Jonah 2…the rest of the week will reflect on Jonah’s prayer.