The Mercy of the Lord | Part 7: Embody the Message

5 The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you brought my life up from the pit,
O LORD my God.
7 “When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you, LORD,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple. (Jonah 2:5-7)

You might be wondering why God bothered with Jonah. Why not just find another prophet? 

The answer is that God intended to use Jonah as a sign.

Jonah’s life would embody the message that he preached.

Jonah’s life testifies to the fact that God judged a sinner without partiality, found him guilty, and cast him into the abyss.

Jonah’s life testifies to the fact that from the abyss, the Lord lifted a guilty, condemned sinner to new life and service. 

In summary, the Lord was saying to Jonah, “If you won’t preach this message to the Ninevites, then I’ll preach it to you. I’ll make you a picture of the gospel truth about my justice and my mercy. I will make your life an example of the fact that in righteousness I judge sin and in mercy I restore life.”

No wonder, then, how Jonah ends his prayer.

8 Those who cherish worthless idols 
abandon their faithful love, 
9 but as for me, I will sacrifice to you 
with a voice of thanksgiving. 
I will fulfill what I have vowed. 
Salvation belongs to the LORD. (Jonah 2:8-9)

So, what can we learn from Jonah?

First, don’t despair but instead be saved. God provides. He is with you.

Secondly, let’s be a church that models the whole gospel: that God in righteousness judges sin and in mercy restores life.

As we saw, God was merciful to Jonah, appointing him to be swallowed by a fish where he would remain for three days and three nights, and then resurrected. 

And God was merciful to us, appointing Jesus to die and spend three days in the tomb, and then resurrected.

 

Rob Tims

Rob is Teaching Pastor at Blackman Baptist Church.