Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Sailor's Savior

I mentioned earlier this week that I'm studying the book of Jonah. I'm actually going through a book called, Lord, Teach Me to Study the Bible in 28 Days by Kay Arthur - and I have some pretty mixed feelings about it. Some days I read 2-3 chapters (days) at a time and still feel like I didn't get any where, other days - like today - one chapter is all it takes for her to help me find something amazing. The best part is, that while she sends me on "Bible Errands" as I'm calling them, she doesn't tell me any answers. At first, this really annoyed me - especially during the days where she thought I would learn something astounding and I obviously didn't see the dots that she thought I would connect. But today, it was a good thing. Here's what I found (yes, we're still in chapter 1):

Most of the time when we read the book of Jonah, our focus is on Jonah. But have you ever stopped to look at the other people on the boat with him? I relate so well to these people. I go about my life until a storm hits, and then I look to the false gods in my life to fix it - I pray to the false god of reason, I offer sacrifices to the false god of time, and I bow down to the false god of other humans. And finally, when none of those things work, I suck it up and decide to fix it myself. I start doing everything in my power to "lighten the load" or save myself. Just like the sailors did.

When the storm came upon the ship, they prayed to their false gods and they tried to solve the problem for themselves, and finally, they gave up and decided that Jonah held the key - and he did. And while Jonah held the key, he wasn't the key himself, the key was his God - our God. And God holds the key to solving our problems as well.

As the sailors listed to Jonah tell them how to solve the problem, they rejected it. Throw him overboard?! That's absurd! Have you ever said that to God? I have. I'm like, "God, I know You know best - but that's a stupid idea." So just as the sailors kept struggling to try to save themselves, I do the same thing. God's already shown me the way to go, and I'm too stubborn to follow Him.

Of course we all know that the sailor's eventually gave in and threw Jonah overboard, and of course he was swallowed by a whale. Everyone talks about how him being in the belly of the whale for 3 days and nights was a picture of Christ in the tomb, but did you ever stop to realize that God also used him to save the men on the boat?

These men were scared for their lives and knew that Jonah held the key - even if it wasn't the solution they were hoping for. But they did what he said, and they were saved. He willingly (yes, being thrown overboard appears to have been Jonah's idea) sacrificed himself for them - he was their savior... and not just the savior of their lives, but he also pointed them to the one true God. Because of Jonah's sin, they came to know and worship God. The last few verses of Jonah chapter 1 says that they made vows to Him, now I don't know what kind of vows those were, but I'd like to think that they dedicated their lives to Him (but again, I don't know for sure because it doesn't say).

...My girls have woken up and emerged from their room and disturbed my entire train of thought, so I guess I'm done now.   Oh the joy's of being a mom.

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