Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3566

Jump Start # 3566

Jonah 2:10 “Then the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.”

  Jonah and the whale, as it is commonly pictured, makes for great VBS material and kids Bible class lessons. But this isn’t a story for kids. Stuck in the midst of the prophets crying for repentance for a wayward nation, we find this four chapter book that is more about the prophet than it is his message or his audience.

  Our verse today is intriguing to us. By itself, it shows the commanding nature of our God. But placed along side other passages, and we find, as the hymn says so well, “This is my Father’s world.” God commanded and the fish obeyed. The fish was more obedient than Jonah was.

·   Mark 4:39 finds the Lord and the disciples in a fierce storm on the sea. Awakened by the frightened disciples, Jesus rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Be still. And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.”

·   In Mark 5:8 Jesus is confronted with a man possessed with multiple demons. Jesus said, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit.” A few verses later, “the unclean spirits entered the swine” (13).

·   In John 11:43 “Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth.’ The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings…”

  Are you seeing a thread running through these passages? A fish. The wind and the sea. Demons. The dead. God can talk to those we cannot. God can control what we cannot. God can command and they obey Him.

 Here are some lessons for us:

First, while we live in God’s world, we are limited in what we can do. The weather doesn’t pay attention to us. Plan an outdoor wedding, and I always tell young couples, have plan B in mind, just in case. This is truly God’s world and all that is in it are subject to Him.

  Second, the world is a tool of God to be used to fulfill His will. God is not limited. God is not bound by the things that control us. In Jonah, God caused a storm that kept growing in intensity. Once Jonah was pitched overboard, the storm immediately stopped. God caused a bright light to shine on Saul in Acts 9. God caused the sun to stand still in Joshua 10.

  All of these things remind us that God is larger than nature. God is all powerful and God is in control.

  Third, we must wonder if nature is more obedient to the Lord than we are? God commanded the fish to spit Jonah out. What if the fish disobeyed? What if the fish decided that Jonah was going to be his lunch. I tend to think that fish, storms, demons and even the dead do not have free will. God commands and they obey. Lazarus likely enjoyed being on the other side of life. Being in Abraham’s bosom, paradise, away from diseases and trouble, he was in true comfort. But the Lord brought him back. He had to fight temptation once again. One more time, he’d have to die. Given the choice, I’d expect Lazarus would rather stay where he was. But he wasn’t given that choice. The Lord called, and Lazarus obeyed.

  Are storms and trees and mountains and birds more obedient to God than I am? Do I fight the commands of God? Do I find myself looking for a reason and an excuse not to do what God says? Made in the image of God, am I less obedient than the fish that swallowed Jonah?

  These things ought to remind us that God is gracious to us. God causes His sun to shine upon us. God blesses us every day with a new day. Thankful. Respectful. Blessed. Obedient. That ought to be our nature and our character.

  God commanded a fish…and that fish obeyed Him.