Lessons from the Book of Jonah

On Sunday we had a sermon from the book of Jonah, and I just can’t stop thinking about the lessons that we can learn from this short book in the Bible! So here I am today writing up a post about it because I just want to share with you all some of the things I learned.
Have you ever read the book of Jonah?  I’m sure you’re at least familiar with the story of Jonah in the Bible.  Jonah is such an interesting character in the Bible.  He’s a character who made a big mistake, he ran away from God only to find himself stuck in the belly of a huge fish.  Talk about horrible consequences.  Being stuck in the belly of a fish does not sound pleasant.
So we see that Jonah made a mistake.  He had the audacity to think he could hide from God’s presence.  But what can we learn from this story?  I was quite surprised that there is actually quite a lot that we can learn from the way God deals with this big mistake of Jonahs.
Here are just a few of the main truths that stood out to me in the story of Jonah;

Everything, even our mistakes, are a part of God’s Plan

EVERYTHING is a part of God’s plan.  Even out mistakes.  Even the times when we rebel and run from God have a part in God’s plan.
When Jonah ran from God, he thought he could get out of doing what God had asked him to do.  But when a storm hit, Jonah knew his plan had failed.  He couldn’t hide from God, so he asked the sailors to throw him into the sea.  Jonah soon found himself at the bottom of the sea, he was in the lowest place; about to drown because of a choice he made to disobey God.  But then something happened.  The Bible says that God appointed a huge fish to come and swallow Jonah. It wasn’t an act of luck that this fish came and swallowed Jonah.  God had pre-ordained this to happen.  Even Jonah’s running away was a part of God’s plan.
And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (Jonah 1:17)

I don’t know about you, but I find this so encouraging.  I know that I have made mistakes.  I have told God that I don’t want to follow Him and I try to go my own way instead.  Sometimes I feel like I screwed up my life, I ran so far from God that it’s impossible to get my life back on the right path.  But just like God had a plan for Jonah, God has a plan for us.  Each mistake we make, each time we don’t do what God is asking us to do, it is still a part of God’s plan.  

Mistakes and hard times bring us back to God 

After being in the belly of the fish for three days, Jonah was ready to follow God.  He was like a new man, humbled and set back on the right path.  This time he didn’t run. He obeyed.
If we are God’s children, we will still make mistakes, but God promises that He won’t leave us. Sometimes God will let us run from him and make mistakes, as Jonah did.  But it’s through making these mistakes and experiencing the consequences of our own actions that we learn how much we need God. When life brings us to the end of ourselves we find God again.
And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

Jesus is our Salvation

The last and most important truth to be reminded of in the story of Jonah is the fact that this story points us to Jesus.  Jonah ran from God and was about to die at the bottom of the sea, but then God sent a huge fish to save him.  Have you ever noticed how well this story parallels the gospel?
Before we were saved, we were enemies of God.  In our sinful nature, we run from God and find ourselves trapped at the bottom of the sea, unable to save ourselves.  But God sent His only Son, Jesus, into this world to save us.  When we believe in Jesus, we are saved from our sins and set back on the right path.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16)
What a beautiful truth this is that Jesus is our Savior!  I hope that these truths from the story of Jonah will encourage you as much as they encouraged me.  Wherever you find yourself, keep trusting in God and find peace in knowing that all things, even our mistakes, play a role in God’s great plan.

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