Last evening, we finished our second study on the book of Jonah. Jonah had just been swallowed by a big fish and was praying. I guess I should call it lamenting. He was describing his situation as being in Sheol which is commonly known as Hades or hell. He also was positive it was God’s fault he was there. It is possible God caused the large fish to swallow Jonah, but only because he was headed in the wrong direction. God asked him to go to Nineveh and for some reason Jonah went in the opposite direction! Jonah also describes being in “the Pit.” In the Old Testament pits were often used to trap animals or even restrain people. You may remember Joseph whose brothers were jealous of him. They threw him into a pit and then sold him to slave traders from Egypt. There are many places in the Bible where people talk about being in the “pit.” No matter whether it is an actual pit or just figurative, it doesn’t seem like a very good place to be.
Our discussion continued about how we may feel like Jonah once in a while. That we are in a “pit” and can’t see our way out. There seems to be no hope for the situation. So, what do we do? Well, we could follow Jonah’s example and lament over the situation. But something amazing happened to Jonah. While he was in the belly of the fish he says, “Then I remembered the Lord”. At that point his prayer changed from lament to praise and worship. This might sound like a simple thing to do, but when you are deep in the “pit” it’s not always easy to remember. So, I asked the study members what they do when this happens. Some great answers were; read the Bible, sit quietly and listen for God to speak, talk with others, and many other ideas.
Once Jonah changed his tune, God spoke to the fish and hit spewed him onto dry ground not that far from Nineveh where he was supposed to go in the first place. Hmmmmmm.
See you Sunday!