“I will sacrifice to you with a voice of thanksgiving. I will fulfill what I have vowed. Salvation belongs to the LORD.”
~Jonah 2:9, CSB
When I speak to God, it is prayer: when He speaks to me, it is inspiration.
I am reading the CSB which is the revised edition of the Holman Bible. I am reading randomly at present. The phrase “Salvation belongs to the LORD” is found only twice in the Old Testament. Yesterday, I read both passages. Since I don’t believe in chance, I gave special attention to this phrase. The other passage is Proverbs 3:9, “Salvation belongs to the LORD; may your blessing be on your people.” Jonah made his declaration “Salvation is of the LORD” from the belly of the whale. Jonah was literally in deep distress. It had to be pitch dark in the stomach of the fish and Jonah knew that his life was slipping away. Yet in this state of terror, Jonah heard God speak and he was thrilled. We talked about this earlier in the week: sometimes we plead with God and we don’t hear an answer to our prayers. Job had this experience, heaven was silent as Job’s depression deepened. When God broke the silence in chapter 38 and gives Job a sermon on His sovereignty; Job is not upset, he is thrilled that God is speaking to him. Likewise, Jonah is elated when God speaks to him while he splashes around in gastric juices of this huge fish. There is no rebellion in Jonah’s voice. He is ready to listen and do God’s will.
I cannot deny that preaching the gospel is a wonderful privilege although I haven’t always viewed it as such. My motivation in the early years was not what it should have been. I was afraid to rebel against the LORD and when He called, I answered but I followed the call more out of fear than love. It is a lot more enjoyable to preach because you love Jesus than to preach because you are afraid that God will kill you if you don’t. Someone asked me the other day how I managed to stay at one church for so long: I answered them with one word– GRACE. One of my fellows in Seminary said repeated, “It is fun to preach when you have a message.” I’m not so sure that Jonah had fun with his message but it was from God. God told Jonah, “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach the message that I tell you.” So Jonah, like myself, was a herald. It wasn’t his message: he was the delivery boy. The problem for me is simple: if God doesn’t speak to me, I have nothing to say. Normally, I can get in my study and begin my devotions and God either speaks during my bible reading our my prayer time. BUT, there are days when He doesn’t and I don’t mind telling you I get a little anxious. I have changed the way I pray. I read the scripture and make notes and then I pray back my questions and insights. In the course of doing this, God speaks and gives me greater insight. When God speaks to me I follow Jonah’s example and offer HIM a sacrifice of THANKSGIVING. It is a thrill to hear His voice.
- I have always wondered what it would be like to sit is a corporate sky box at a baseball game and last night I got that opportunity. All the food you can eat and air conditioning if you choose. We did have seats outside the sky box and they were padded. It was great and I want to thank Brian Dill and his wife Kim for the experience. I want to thank Joe David and Lori for inviting me and doing the driving.
- I hope you have a great day and a great weekend. I am thrilled to be at 1120 Iron Man and not at the beach. You can have the beach, give me baseball and an apple pie. Make that a strawberry cream cheese from Jacks with a large Diet Dr. Pepper.
- The kid sitting on the other side of Rylee still has the first nickel he ever made: you would never guess what his last name is in a thousand years.