What do you do when you are in a mess?
When you are in a bad situation because of some bad choices and you feel like you are stuck?
Is it possible to get stuck in a such a jam it is impossible to get out?
Maybe bad a marriage, or relationship, an addiction, bad habits, or compounded lies.
Jonah had been called by God to go to a city called Nineveh to tell them that God knows about their wickedness. Instead he goes in the opposite direction, getting on a ship. God causes a storm to blow up and the rest of the sailors work out it is a divine judgement and throw him overboard. They are right because the storm immediately subsides. Now Jonah is floating in the sea. He’s in a mess. But God rescues us – he sends a great fish to swallow him.
One commentator wrote “It is as foolish for the liberal to deny the possibility of taking the fish literally as for the conservative to attempt to identify the species of marine animal that could swallow and sustain a human being for three days and nights. Both slight the miraculous and power of God. What Jehovah did to save Jonah is not normal; nor are the other divinely engineered encounters in the book. Storms at sea are commonplace, but not storms that rise and fall instantaneously. Plants sprout and grow, but not overnight. Worms eat and destroy vegetation, but not within a morning. Great fish devour people, but do not sustain them and disgorge them alive onto the shore.” It’s a miracle. God does miracles to get our attention! Being inside a great fish is not Jonah in his happy place, but it is a great place for him to think and learn!
Firstly he recognises the consequences of what he has done – he’s in great distress v2, gone down to Sheol (which basically means he has nearly died), he was cast into the deep v3, surrounded by waves and weeds and life was fainting away. That’s a mess. Having recognised the consequences of his wrongdoing and the reality of where he is now at, he turns back to God. He remembers the Lord v7, he prays and he lays down his idols.
Idols are things we have and do that we consider more important than God. He puts those down and opts to sacrifice to the Lord to atone for his sin – to be at one with God again. We have Jesus who has done that for us. Jesus is the God sized sacrifice made 2000 years ago that covers all our sin once and for all.
Jonah got a pretty violent wake up call to see the mess he had got in because of his sin. Today if you are waking up to the reality of a mess you are in, you can get out of it with these three things.
- Recognise the consequences of it – where you are at
- Turn back to God
- Give it to Jesus and allow him to guide you again on a new path