How would you have felt? God asked Jonah to go preach in the capital city of one of Israel’s most powerful enemies… because God wanted to show them compassion and love. Would you have been jumping up and down to go? Jonah wasn’t. So he got on a ship that was sailing as far away as possible. But God sent a fierce storm, so fierce the ship was about to break up, the sailors figured out that the storm was because of Jonah. So with Jonah’s permission they threw him overboard…and everything immediately grew calm. But what happened to Jonah? “But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.” Do you think Jonah got God’s message? Do you think he had time to think? Do you think God got his attention? He did…in a very unusual way.
Have we been in Jonah’s shoes, shoes of rebellion against God? God tells us to forgive those who sin against us, but do we say, “No way! That’s his problem; after all HE sinned against ME!” God tells us to put Him first, but do we say, “No! I have my own wants and needs to take care of first, maybe if I have some leftovers I’ll give something to God.” We’ve all had times like that. And what does God do? He wakes us up. Probably hasn’t been with a great big fish, but maybe it’s a sudden challenge in our lives which draws our attention heavenward. Maybe it’s a serious illness that strips us of our “I can make it on my own” attitude. Maybe it’s a long, hard look at God’s law that shows us how greatly we’ve fallen and how desperately we need a Savior. Whatever it may be, THANK the Lord for confronting us with our sin and showing us our need for a Savior. Realizing our sinfulness let us confess our sin to God:
Hosea 3:1 – Thank you, God, for your faithful love
God has taken away your sin. For as high has the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for you; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed your sin from you. You are forgiven. How might you picture that kind of love? I’ll bet you wouldn’t have guessed this one. God gave the Israelites and us an object lesson. God told the prophet Hosea to marry an adulteress, a prostitute. God wanted Hosea to unconditionally and unselfishly commit his life to a woman who had a terrible history of being faithless and unfaithful in the deepest way. How would you have felt if you were Hosea? I think it’s safe to say that no one looks for a spouse who is unfaithful or not-trustworthy. But what was God’s point? Look at the verse, “The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” What’s the point? God still loves the unfaithful.
Although we are the unfaithful ones, unfaithful with the gifts and abilities God’s given us, unfaithful with our devotion to His Word, although that is who we are…guess what… God sent his Son, Jesus, to die for your unfaithfulness. God picked you up and united Himself with you. God still continues to love you. God will not turn away from you, God will never divorce you, God does not leave you. God loves you unconditionally and His abounding love and forgiveness will never, ever run out for you! Is that something to be thankful for? THANK you, Lord, for Your incredibly faithful love!