“Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God…”
After disobeying, receiving discipline, hurting other people, recognizing blame, taking responsibility, facing death, being saved, and living in the belly of a fish for 3 days… then Jonah prays.
At what point would you have prayed during all of this? Do you think that if Jonah prayed before disobeying, the outcome would have been different?
What is prayer? Prayer is personal communication with God. We communicate with God as we would with another person, through petition(asking for things), intercession(speaking on behalf of others), confession, adoration, praise, and thanksgiving.
Check all of the different ways that Jonah connects with the Lord (verses 1-9):
- calling out to the Lord when we are in distress(2) (petition)
- recognition of who is in control (3) (adoration)
- description of life (worry, stress, oppression, tribulation) (5) (confession, intercession)
- recognition that worldly idols are vain (8) (confession)
- hope in the Lord, choosing the Lord over everything (9) (praise, adoration)
Verse 8 is the main verse of the whole book of Jonah
“Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.”
We need some definitions to make this more clear:
pay regard – to have or show respect to, hold in high esteem, think highly of
vain idols – futile(incapable of producing any result), without real significance, ineffectual, senseless, foolish
forsake – to give up, abandon, to quit or leave entirely
steadfast love – unwavering, firmly established, purposeful
With a more clear understanding of the terms, you could interpret this as:
“Those who worship, hold in high esteem, and think highly of ineffectual idols, things that are incapable of producing any result, senseless, foolish, waste-of-time idols, are giving up on and abandoning their hope of the LORD’s unwavering, purposeful, and firmly established love.”
What in your life are you pursuing that is not producing the results you hoped it would produce? What in your life are you worshipping, admiring, holding in high esteem that is incapable of producing any real and purposeful result in your life?
It’s time to abandon and forsake the idols, and it’s time to pursue and hope in the LORD.
Another word for this is repentance: turning away from _________ (sin, pride, your way, worshiping idols), and turning to and pursuing the Lord.
Some people need to do this for the first time, and say yes to God.
Many of us need to do this with a specific sin or idol. Abandon your sin and pursue your Lord.
“You cannot serve two masters. You will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.” Matthew 6:24
Money will not bring salvation.
Pride and arrogance will not bring salvation.
Rebellion will not bring salvation.
Solving your own problems and answering your questions in your wisdom will not bring salvation.
Salvation belongs to the LORD.
After repentance, the Lord delivers.
*notice – God did not deliver Jonah, then give him the option of repenting. It was at the moment that Jonah recognizes his complete dependence upon and hope in the Lord, and his confession and repentance, that is when the Lord saves him.
Salvation is this way for everyone who believes. At the moment you confess, repent, and put all of your trust and hope in the LORD for salvation, He delivers you.
Additional places to read in Scripture:
- Matthew 6:9-13 Compare “The Lord’s Prayer” with Jonah’s, make connections
- Matthew 6:19-24 Treasures in heaven, you cannot serve two masters
- Isaiah 44 The folly of idolatry
- Psalm 51 David’s prayer of repentance
- What do you pray about the most when you pray to God(confession, adoration, supplication, thanksgiving)?
- Where was the craziest or weirdest place and time that you said a prayer to the Lord?
- If you were stuck on an island with fire, food, and water, what are the top 3 things you would HAVE to have with you?
- If you left your phone, ipod, tablets, etc. in your room for the day, and you didn’t watch Netflix or TV for the day, how much extra time would you have to do more constructive things(playing outside, connecting with friends face to face, spending time in the Word and in prayer with the Lord)?
*Parents: the students were given a sheet and the challenge to give up something for this season of Lent leading up to Easter. The statement read: I will stop doing _____ in order to pursue God more by _____. Please ask your child if they participated in this, and hold them accountable to growing with the Lord this season by neglecting vain idols.