(This week’s devotions are based on Sunday’s message: Grace for All…Grace Pursues – LISTEN HERE)
Jonah 2:8 “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
Of all the parts of Jonah’s prayer, this verse jumped off the page. For a few reasons.
Why would Jonah make this statement? Was this a self-reflective statement or was he reflecting on people with whom he had interacted? Was it a reflection on the sailors who threw him overboard that tried crying out to their gods before turning to the Lord? Was it a reflection of the wicked people of Nineveh who were throwing out the grace the Lord wanted to show them? To be honest, I am not sure and could be all of the above.
Regardless of who Jonah had in mind, the statement is absolute truth.
Jonah finishes his prayer in this way:
9 But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD.”
Jonah realized that other idols promised worthless claims. The only God who not only promises but provides salvation from our sins is the LORD. The LORD is the only one who is full of grace and abounding in love and faithfulness.
So why do we forfeit grace by clinging to worthless idols?
Who, me? Yes, you.
Because we think that the idol to which we are clinging can provide what only the grace of God can provide. What do I mean?
We cling to the idol of material wealth because we think that in it we find peace and security for life and the opportunities that life brings.
We cling to the idol of reputation and fame because we think that in it we find our identity and significance.
We cling to the idol of relationships and friendships because in them we think we find true love and care.
We cling to the idol of self-reliance because in it we think we find freedom and independence.
Perhaps we do…and then we don’t because we realize our idol has become worthless.
The now late Christian pastor and author Tim Keller wrote in his book “Counterfeit Gods” that eventually everything that is an idol will let us down. Wealth can be taken away, relationships broken, reputation ruined, friendships separated.
So as Jonah said, “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.”
Having no other gods other than the Lord is not just the first commandment, it is the foundation of life. The Lord is the one from whom all blessings flow not material wealth, relationships, reputation, etc. The Lord is the only one who is gracious and compassionate and slow to anger and willing to forgive, not a man-made god or man himself.
Too often I have forfeited the full experience of God’s love and grace because I have clung to worthless idols in my heart. Lord forgive me. Perhaps you can relate.
When we see it first in ourselves, we see it in the world around us that people are forfeiting grace because their fingers are clutching idols they think are of utmost value, but are worthless.
The grace of God turns us from that which is worthless to that which is worthwhile.
Apply: Get a copy of Tim Keller’s book, “Counterfeit Gods.” Enjoy the work through his words for the Spirit of God to release your clutch on that which is worthless and strengthen your grip on that which is worthwhile.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for shifting my heart from the worthless idols I love to cling to to you, the only one who truly loves, forgives and shows grace. AMEN.
Note: You can find a sermon series on Counterfeit Gods from 2021 on our CrosspointGTX1 youtube channel. Here’s the link to the first sermon of the series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbdvMHxEJGo