Monday, May 22, 2017

Belly of the Fish


Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish, saying, “I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and He answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and You heard my voice. For You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all Your waves and Your billows passed over me. Jonah 2:1-3

When my life was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to You, into Your holy temple. Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to You; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the LORD!” And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land. Jonah 2:7-10

To those who believe and teach others that all roads lead to heaven, please pay attention above to "those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love." Idols are anything that we love, value, honor, respect, serve, etc. more than God. They can be made of wood, metal or something else, or they can be loved ones, our job, our possessions, celebrities, fame, etc. We are supposed to love God most, first, best, always seeking His glory, and then we can be sure He will provide us with what we NEED. (Matt. 6:24-34) He'll give us the desires of our heart, but it's interesting how those desires will change when He really is our first love.  Don't forget the verse begins with "Delight yourself in the Lord..." (Psalm 37:4) Our treasure in heaven is Him if we really love Him (and to know Him IS to love Him). (Matt. 6:19-21, 1Pet. 1:3-9)

The disciples were fishermen and they cast wide nets in search of a great harvest of fish (representing fishing for men), but they THREW OUT the bad fish they had caught! (Matt. 4:17-23, Matt. 13:47-50) God was not satisfied with Jonah's merely making a profession of faith in Him (or being born a Jew). He expected Jonah to OBEY Him as well, or pay the consequences. (Jonah 1:9-12, Heb. 12:5-9, Rev. 3:19)

We can learn an important lesson from Jonah. He said that he would "pay what he vowed" to the Lord, and then clarified that "salvation belongs to the Lord." Even though we can't earn salvation, obedience to God is still expected. All who possess the faith of Abraham are "Jews" and "his offspring," and as we know, Abraham  didn't merely claim to believe in God, but he OBEYED God. (Rom. 2:28-29, Gal. 3:29, James 2:17-26) What we do AFTER we are saved is evidence of the fact that we ARE saved (or that we made a false profession and empty vow of faithfulness--in which case, God's great and wonderful promises are not for us).

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