FEBRUARY 3: OUT OF THE BELLY

OUT OF THE BELLY

By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

Yesterday, Daniel came out of the den,
And today, Jonah comes out of the belly.
Hmmm ...
God must be in the business of transporting people to better places.
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Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish's belly. And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and He heard me, out of the belly of hell cried I, and Thou heardest my voice. For Thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about; all Thy billows and Thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of Thy sight; yet I will look again toward Thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about even to the soul; the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me forever, yet hast Thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came in unto Thee, into Thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto Thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that which I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord. And the Lord spake unto the fish and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
Jonah 2:1-10

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Three significant comments and considerations ... and maybe the provoking of a few questions.
1) Why was Jonah asked to speak to a people he despised?
Jonah's dislike for the Ninevites is not curious to me. Ninevah was not only the capital city of Assyria, but a ruthless ruling Gentile nation and arch enemy to Israel. It is reasonable to note, with this in mind, that Jonah is simply showcasing the heart of a nation in his attitude and reluctant desire to bring a message from "their" God to "them."
Every step of the way was a "buggerish" step for Jonah to take in regard of this people, and yet, God did not release His man from His call because of his reluctant or buggerish heart.
God was working to form "His" heart into Jonah's heart to make it more like His.
He chose a bitter-hearted vessel with a strong voice to articulate a message of divine grace to a people He loved.
God wasn't just bent on bringing a message of revival and hope to an evil and despised nation; He was bent on bringing change and transformation into "His" people and "His" man.
What has God called you to do that you are resisting and refusing?
2) What happens when we feel ourselves sinking?
 Jonah knew what it felt like to be cast into the depth and belly of hell and he also knew what he needed to do when he found himself there. The moment the waves and billows passed over Jonah and he felt himself plunged into the deep, his fear drove him into the heart of God and he cried out to Him.
Hmmm ...
Haven't we all experienced such moments?
Despair and affliction have a way of reducing the heart to its barest need and exposing its truest vulnerabilities. There is no hiding or pretending in such moments, there is no preventing a man from calling out to God in his desparate and most despairing hour. Sinking men will always cling to a solid object,
And blessed are those who know that object to be God.

Sinking moments in our lives are often "hellish" moments that leave us no room to breathe but for one precious gasp for air, and in that gasp, God allows His name to emerge from our lips and He graciously responds to us.
This, perhaps, is the most curious wonderment of God's love.
Cry out to Him in your affliction and utilize Jonah's words if you cannot formulate your own.
3) We are the object of God's love.
God doesn't linger on the shores of doubt as to whether He does or does not love man. His conduct and exclamation of grace reverberate to the desparate, the destitute, and the deserter.
He loves infinitely and unchangeably,
He loves unforgettably and unspeakably;
Men of frailty.
I don't know "why" God does this or "why" He is like this ...
I simply know that it is a true declaration of who He is forever and ever,
And we can stake our sinking lives on "His" anchored truth.
He will lift you from the belly ...
You are His.