Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 December 2019 Jonah 2:2.

Jonah 2:2.    And said, I cried by reason of  mine (because of my) affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.
 
Yes, I know it’s Monday, and as far as some of us are concerned the only thing good about it is that it’s the eve of Christmas Eve, meaning things might be slow at work, or we might just get off work early, or steal some time to go and finish shopping. (smile) But friends, however we frame it, it is still the first day of the work week and we still have to show up. So why don’t we just be sensible and do it with a good attitude eh? We’d all feel a whole lot better. 

But just in case you can’t bring yourself to that point on your own, for whatever reason, we do have an alternative option; that of crying out to our great and generous God for help. And believe me, it works! So why don’t we all, in strong and confident voices, but humble attitude, declare our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. 

We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

Ah friends, what and honour and a privilege we’ve been granted to be able to come before the Most High God in prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving!  And what I particularly like about that prayer is before we’re even finished praying it, we feel our spirits begin to lift as the Lord directs His Holy Spirit to start activating us. And if you think praying when you’re down in the dumps is a waste of time, then check out Jonah’s prayer when He disobeyed God and ran in the opposition direction to which he was sent. 

We all know the story of how the Lord appointed a big fish to swallow him… And who says our God doesn’t have a sense of humour eh? He could have simply saved him, but Jonah needed to be a taught a lesson in obedience, just like so many of us today my bredrin, because disobedience is rife in our world, even amongst supposed believers. And what a way to teach him a lesson; three days and nights in a fish’s belly. You certainly know the slime and entrails and all the other junky, distasteful stuff we see in a fish’s innards when we clean them out. So just imagine swirling around in that for three days and nights nuh. (smile) It would surely teach you a lesson in anything at all! 

And learn his lesson, Jonah did! The Good Book describes the situation thus: ‘Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly. And said, I cried by reason of  mine (because of my) affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.’ (Jon. 1-2) Oh friends, of one thing we can be sure; whenever we cry out to the Lord in sincerity, He WILL hear and answer our cries! Not always the way we want, or when we want, but He will respond to our cry! You can bet your bottom dollar on that. 

And Jonah knew that secret, so although it looked like it was cleaners for him, he could still reason: ‘Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.’ (Jon.2:4) Yes faithful believers, there is lots of truth in the old adage; while there is life there is hope, especially with our God, He of many chances! And after Jonah described his perils in depths of the fish and the sea, (Jon. 2:5-6) he finally acknowledged: ‘When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord; and my prayer came in (went up) unto thee, into thine holy temple.’ (Jon.2:7) 

Ah mih people, there’s no wiser action in this life, than to turn to the Lord in sincere prayer when you find yourself in trouble! And I like how Jonah ends his prayer. ‘They that observe lying vanities (worthless idols) forsake their own mercy (LOVING-kindness). But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.’ (Jon. 2:8-9) Words to live by my people! 

And the result of Jonah’s cry? The Good Book details it: ‘And the Lord (ever generous and merciful) spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon dry land.’ (Jon. 2:10) Yes siree! And yuh know what? Jonah did learn his lesson, because the next time the Lord told him to go and preach to Nineveh, he went without a word of protest. (smile) 

And we’ll close with these wise and warning words of Bruh Paul to the Corinthians, re Israel. ‘Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition (instruction), upon whom the end of the world (ages) are come.’ (1 Cor. 10:11) Yes friends, Jonah’s experience and all the other acts of disobedience have been written down in the Lord’s Word so that we can read them and learn from them, otherwise, we too will suffer the inherent consequences, which can ofttimes be terrible experiences. The Lord is indeed a Good God, but He doesn’t cotton much to disobedience. Please remember that. Much LOVE!

…he who doesn’t hear…will certainly feel…

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