Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Great Fish and Slimy Pits

May 13

(Jonah 2:3-10 NIV)  "You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. {4} I said, 'I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.' {5} The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. {6} To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O Lord my God. {7} "When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.”

(Psalm 30:5 NIV) "For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."

(Psalm 40:1-5 NIV)  "I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.  Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare."

Vance Havner once said: "Sometimes our medicine bottle from God has written on it, "Shake well before using."" 

Jonah was being shaken here. Some of us know what that’s like. We’ve been “shaken” by God too. The Bible says it’s a part of life. Get used to it. Deal with it.

But in our “shaking” -- in our trials – God’s desire is always to deliver us to where we should be. When Jonah was reaping the typhoon of his disobedience, God was there and brought his life up from the pit. When his life was ebbing away, God remembered him and heard his prayer.  

Our God is a God of deliverance. Moses was delivered from Pharaoh. David was delivered from Goliath. Daniel was delivered from the lion’s den. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were delivered in the fiery furnace. Jonah was delivered from the great fish’s belly. We could go on and on.

God specializes in lifting lives up out of the “slimy pit”. That pit may be the belly of a great fish, a boatload of disobedience, the chains of an addiction, the excruciating pain of betrayal, the grief of a devastating loss, the diagnosis of a disease, or the despair of depression.   

It doesn't matter what our slimy pit is, nor does it matter how we got there. When we cry out to God, and surrender our lives into his care, we will be heard. The Lord is our Deliverer.

Great fish are sometimes sent by God to deliver us from drowning in the slimy pit of our sin. They are sent to deliver us from ourselves. But great fish are also sometimes sent to deliver us to a destination of God’s choosing. They are sent to wherever we have foolishly tried to hide from God, in order to take us to where we were meant to be… where God wants us to be. 

If it feels like your life is ebbing away, remember, God knows where you are. Your times are in his hands. If you’re in the slimy pit or in the belly of a great fish, cry out to him. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust. The things he has planned for us are indeed, too many to declare.


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