Devotional

Amazing grace, ready to be received (Jonah 1:11-17)

Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. Therefore they called out to the Lord, “O Lord, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.” So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows. And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Jonah 1:11-17 ESV Bible Gateway

Yesterday we read that when God hurled the storm, the sailors, who had no relationship with the one true God, were calling out their own gods in fear.  At the same time,  Jonah, the only one on board that knew and communicated with the one true God, which should have been praying earnestly at this moment, was fast asleep deep in the inner part of the ship! When awakened by the captain, he merely told them  “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land”.”  While God was chastening Jonah through the storm, He also miraculously worked in the hearts of these gentile sailors through Jonah and his unintended evangelistic sermon.  While Jonah was in his worst spiritual state, God could still be glorified by him telling the truth of God. It obviously wasn’t in Jonah’s plan to bring salvation to the sailors, yet God graciously had a higher agenda. The sailors changed from calling out their own gods in fear, to call out to the Lord.  They moved from fearing the storm to fearing the Lord.  They changed from fearing the consequences of throwing a prophet to having done as it pleased the Lord.  They went from having no knowledge of the one true God, to experiencing deliverance from Him.  And from having no relationship with the Creator, to offering sacrifice and making vows to Him.  They had their encounter of the Lord! Imagine in that moment, they can also proclaim in their hearts that the Lord is the “God of Heaven, Who made the sea and the dry land!” Hallelujah!  The Lord is not only the God of Jonah, but also their God!

No matter what spiritual state we are in right now, with as little faith as we may have, seise the opportunity to sow the seed of the Good News!  Share the truth of God.  We never know when and how God makes His miracle happen in someone’s heart!  But what we know is that – “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).  Our Lord is so gracious and merciful!  He draws near to those who seek Him. His salvation is done and is made ready to be received by anyone with an open heart.  Didn’t we just read about the tempestuous storm that got turned into a joyful worship?! 

Dear Lord, thank you for your perfect salvation that is made ready to be received by any open heart! No matter how I feel today, give me the faith and strength to share your love and good news with those around me.


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