A Great Fish, A Plant, A Worm, and A Scorching East Wind…

I just finished reading the book of Jonah.

What a funny little man Jonah was.

At least that is the illustrative picture my mind has of him!

God gives him an assignment, and he RUNS!

I laughed in my soul as I read this! Can you imagine this little man sitting in his chair on a quiet morning, having his cup of whatever they drank back then, and reading the news from chiseled rock and BOOM the voice of God is heard giving an assignment to him!

 From a bird’s-eye view, I can see Jonah jumping up and off of his chair and running frantically through  narrow, dirt covered streets AWAY from the presence of the Lord. RUN, RUN, RUN little gingerbread man, run, run, run as fast as you can!

He finds a ship, pays the fare and proceeds to become a passenger in hiding. The plan? Whatever! Just get me away from the Lord and that crazy assignment!

A storm visits the sea the ship makes passage upon.

Not just a little storm, but one that God Himself cooks up!  From the description in scripture you would think the ship was positioned in a big pot of boiling water on God’s stove top!

“The sea grew more and more tempestuous” ( Jonah 1:11).

The poor sailors aboard are scrambling to figure out who is responsible for the chaos. They cast lots and discover that the “sleeper in the inner part of the ship” was to blame. “Get up! Get up! Who are you man? What the heck do you do? Where do you come from? And of what people are you? Sheesh dude what have you done that we are all paying the consequence for?” (my words).

Man overboard! Oops, so much for the nap Jonah! The Lord knew where you were hiding!

In chapter 1:17, it is written that the Lord “APPOINTED a great fish”. I’m gonna make a guess that it was to save Jonah from swallowing the sea and drowning, wouldn’t you agree?

Jonah was left in the great fish for three days and three nights. Kinda like being sent to your room as a kid to figure out on your own why your actions served you up child isolation boot camp.

Jonah came to the right conclusion; he should have obeyed the voice of the Lord! A change of heart and the Lord spoke to the fish and “vomited Jonah out on dry land” (Jonah 2:10). I’m gett’n a really gross mental picture right now (and scent)!

The Lord gives Jonah the assignment the SECOND time.

Jonah obeys and the people of Nineveh repent and get right with God!

Wow! Awesome! Incredible!! Can you imagine an entire city repenting? I’d be danc’n down every street with my hands in the air!

But not Jonah…

That dude wanted to see them pay for their wicked ways, but God desired to show His mercy and His steadfast love in order to save an entire city from destruction!

So what does Jonah crank of next? He was so angry over the city’s repentance that he begged God to take his life! He “went out of the city and made a booth for himself there” (4:5) He “sat there” to see what would become of the city. (His bottom lip was probably scrunched up over his top lip while  he watched and waited…pouter!)

What does God do? “The Lord God APPOINTED a plant” (4:6) to grow up over Jonah to shade him, “to save him from his discomfort” (4:6). BUT, BUT, BUT when the dawn came, “God APPOINTED a worm!” to attack the plant so it withered. Then when the sun rose, “God APPOINTED a scorching east wind” (4:7-8) to beat down on Jonah’s head until he was faint! What? Yup, Jonah the little whiner asked to die AGAIN, (poor little helpless soul) because he was sooo angry that the plant died. God’s response?  (God is clever in His teaching ways with us!) “And the Lord said, “you pity the plant, for which you DID NOT labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” (4:10-11).

And the book ends. Just like that!

There are so many lessons in this short biblical book, but one that I took note of today is WHAT God APPOINTED to get His point driven home; A fish, a plant, a worm, and a scorching east wind.

Things that make you go hmmm.

What has God appointed in your life to save, rebuke, teach, redeem, show mercy and love?

Are you paying attention?

The point is this: GOD SPEAKS, He knows us and knows where we are at ALL TIMES!!

Are you listening? Will you obey? Or will you run?

I am encouraged and reminded today that we serve a relentless God of hope and miracles!!

How about you?

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Too pooped to ponder…

YOWZA and YIKES!

How in the Sam hill did I ever survive mommy-hood to three children under two and a half????

A few days of having my two dear grandchildren and I feel like I was thrown under a bus! I can hardly center my thoughts to decide what to make for dinner let alone write! The old girl needed a manual written on childcare for dummies to re-train my eyes to do the 360 swipe every other second. Good grief how old could I possibly be?!!

Both my daughters celebrated their birthdays last week as well….just HOW did my baby girls grow up so fast? Twenty-three and twenty-four years old; one is married and the mommy of my blessed grandchildren, the other graduating from university this month and getting married in August.

Time…..there’s that theme again…..how it slips away like the sun behind the ocean horizon.

Reflection….. upon one’s life and how it has been spent, on who surrounds you, who you belong to and the unknown path of the future.

Okay so I guess I am pondering..so much for being “pooped”!

I studied Psalm 139 again; this classic psalm was heavy on my heart for a couple of days so I decided to press in and read it again and again, it led me to read Psalm 100 and Isaiah 43.

The theme that the Holy Spirit was lifting off the pages to me was that I belonged to God, I AM HIS.

Listen to this:

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, YOU ARE THERE!  If I make my bed in Sheol, YOU ARE THERE!  If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, EVEN THERE your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” EVEN THE DARKNESS is as LIGHT to you.” (Psalm 139:7-12)

“KNOW that the Lord, HE IS GOD!  It is HE who made us, and we ARE HIS, we are HIS people, and the SHEEP of HIS pasture.” (Psalm 100:5)

“But now says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: “fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you BY NAME, YOU ARE MINE.” (Isaiah 43:1)

I am only writing a few of these verse out for reading here on this page but I would encourage you to read the entire chapters of each.

My simple point today is this; for me, after the week and a half of the living I’ve had, I received such soul strength from being reminded that I BELONG to the God of the universe. I am encompassed by a mighty hand of great splendor and power and majesty. There is absolutely no where I can go, or even be where His great presence is not already there waiting for me.

In John chapter ten, Jesus is declaring Himself as the “Good Shepherd”, in verse 27 -28

He speaks truth to the Jews surrounding Him, “MY sheep HEAR MY VOICE, and I KNOW THEM, and they follow ME. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and (get this, this is sooo great!) NO ONE WILL SNATCH THEM OUT OF MY HAND. My Father, who has given them to me, is GREATER THAN ALL, and NO ONE is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

So in my “too pooped to ponder” type day I KNOW to whom I belong, and I KNOW Who has my life entirely in His hands! I am safe, I am ALWAYS within the eye of the Watchful Shepherd, cared for as a sheep in His fold!

Take soul rest dear reader, choose to trust in Jesus the “Good Shepherd”, He really does have EVERYTHING under control. If even the darkness is as light to Him, and if He would find you on the remotest of islands, does that not speak of profound, intimate care to you? O yes, it surely does, it surely does.

Amen and amen.