Get In My Belly

You know the story of Jonah. God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh but Jonah hates the people and would rather see God punish them. So Jonah ran away from God and His plan. God sent a storm, which did get Jonah’s attention but the prophet of God decided he would rather die than go to Nineveh. The other sailors tossed him into the stormy waters but God was ready. God had prepared a really, really big fish that swallowed Jonah. When I read that passage I always hear that voice from Austin Powers crying out “Get in my belly.” And Jonah did just that.It was in that three day “time-out” period that Jonah came to his senses. Jonah turned to God in this time of turmoil and physical pain. Don’t get me wrong, Jonah’s repentance was more about his affliction in the fish than his affection for God. After three days the big fish swam up to shore and vomited out Jonah onto the beach. There was Jonah, seaweed wrapped around his head, his skin and clothes bleached from the stomach acids and he smelled like a fish market. If I had witnessed this scene I would have repented right then and there. The scene was set for a great revival but God had a second test for Jonah.Jonah still had to obey God and go to Nineveh. He still had to do what God told him to do. Inside the fish, Jonah praised God, he vowed to make sacrifices in Jerusalem and complete his religious duties but Jonah never said he would go to Nineveh. So God gave Jonah his second test and commanded he go to Nineveh. I am sure that Jonah knew the passage from the Book of Samuel that says, “Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrificesAs in obedience to the voice of the Lord?Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,And to heed is better than the fat of rams.”In other words, obeying God is better than all the religious duties that we do. You may serve on church boards, always attend Sunday School, never miss a Lenten Lunch, read your Bible daily, help out at VBS and visit the shut-ins but God wants us to obey His word. Today God has a Nineveh for you. He wants you to obey Him. Keep your mind open and your ears listening. God will let you know.

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