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Monday: A Three-Day Rest — 15 Comments

  1. There was a time when I was forced to take a two week holiday. I woke up with abdominal spasms and in spite of all I did to relieve the pain it simply got worse and in the end, I realised that nothing I was going to do would help. An ambulance was called and I was unceremoniously hauled off to hospital. The medical staff did not know what was wrong with me, so I was shoved in front of Xray machines, pushed and prodded by "experts" for about 3 days. Then on Friday night, the surgeon called in to say that he was going to operate in the morning. Three days of pain and uncertainty; no food or water (I was on a drip); it gave me a lot of time to reflect on life and death and the meaning of it all. My classes were not being taught, and my committees were not being attended; I was having a forced "rest" and it wasn't easy. I cannot remember what I prayed for during that time. I just wanted the pain to stop and to be quite honest, I did not care about living all the much.

    I guess most of us have had life-stopping experiences where you are no longer in control and you have to put your survival in the hands of others. Recovery has the potential to provide a new perspective on life but it is up to us to seize the moment and gain from the experience.

    David says it so well:

    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalm 23:4KJV

    PS: I recovered!

    (61)
    • Glory to God!
      Good for you Brother Ashton.
      I believe we have another to learn from Jonas' story.
      First, we need to learn to understand that "God thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways nor our ways"
      Secondly, to fear Him. I believe Jonas possess God's fear from that moment till his death, so it should be for us.

      (8)
      • Matthew 12:40 is your source. Another thought is that Jonah gave his life for the sailors. I don't believe Jonah knew that God would come to his rescue when he was awaken from sleep at the bottom of the boat by the sailors. All reminds us of the events that led to what Christ did for us. I do believe the story of Jonah in the belly of the fish is a type of what Christ was to go through

        (4)
  2. I don't believe that the fish was provided for rest, it was provided to put fear in Jonah to comply. Why? It is because Jonah needed a faith in God building experience, or if you prefer a character adjustment. Though I can see how lying in the belly of a large fish for 3 days would get you to think about where you have gone wrong, and contemplate God's grace. Some may raise the question that there was not enough O2 to think properly. This is where our faith in God comes to play. I have faith that God can provide beyond our human comprehension.

    Thinking, reflection, realization, then prayer, and then results.

    Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly. And he said: “I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, And He answered me. “Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice.
    Jonah 2:1-2.

    (6)
  3. I see Jonah's prayer as the prayer of one who remembers to seek his God, the true source of help for all his needs. I do not want to be caught up focusing much on the how of circumstances, I rather want to understand the dynamic of the relationship between God and Jonah. Jonah turned to the only source of help; he talked with God, and God heard his prayer - accepting it to come from a repentant, understanding, remorseful heart and released him onto the dry land - Jonah2:10KJV.
     
    I do not know how this story and his prayer made it into the Scripture's record, but I am sure that all who learn from it can see that our only source of help is our heavenly Father. We might seek to find rest in many different ways, as long as it is founded on the conviction that the Father is the true source for our rest and restoration.

    (12)
  4. Jesus respects taking a break. For example in Mark 6:31 He said“Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while.” A friend once said "Come apart so you don't fall apart."

    But we can also be refreshed spiritually like Jesus did when He would spend whole nights or mornings in prayer. A prayer journal is a great tool to use where you can write down your prayers. A good place to start is following the sequence of the Lord's prayer. Write in your journal the acronym ACTS. A-Adoration or praises of who God is C-Confession, T-Thanksgiving, S-Supplication

    (5)
  5. I wonder aloud: why didn't Jonah jump overboard? As a prophet, he certainly didn't think of suicide as an option. He wanted the unbelievers to perform the unthinkable...
    Once the fish vomits him, he reluctantly gives a short sermon. Five words in the original Hebrew. He does not tell the Ninivites what to do. He talks about the upcoming doom and retires at the outskirts of the city to see the city destroyed.
    The book of Jonah teaches me a contrast. God's prophet behavior contrasted with that of unbelieving sailors and the wicked Ninivites. A lesson for us. When I think my enemies are God's enemies, I should rethink my notion of God.

    (2)
    • I see Jonah's reluctance to jump as part of his struggle to overcome self. He knew what he needed to do, but he literally needed to be pushed to do it. We are often like Jonah, knowing what's right yet putting our own desires or convenience first. Even when the Ninevites repented, Jonah still was more concerned with revenge, which is a selfish desire, rather than being thankful for God allowing him to play a part in the salvation of an entire city. Yet Jonah was still a prophet. God can use even our rebellious hearts, but how much more can He use a willing heart!

      (6)
    • I believe there was more to Jonah's "warning" than what the limited account specifies. The words given don't identify WHO is calling for this destruction, or any information of HOW to avoid it. Yet the people respond correctly. We have to realize there would be questions from the people being warned, which gave opportunity for answers which revealed Jehovah as the offended God. By this they would know exactly what to repent of, or it would not have sufficed in leading the Lord to change the outcome due to their true repentance.

      Often with John the baptist, Jesus, Peter, and Paul, the response was "what must I/we do?".

      (1)
  6. Today's lesson states:

    "The temple forms a focal point of this prayer, and it should be the central point of prayer in general. There is primarily only one place in the Old Testament where God can be found. He is in the sanctuary (see Exodus 15:17, Exodus 25:8). The sanctuary is the central point of prayer and communion with God."

    As I read and reflected upon this, my mind went to Solomon's dedicatory prayer in 1 Kings 8. Specifically I remembered Solomon's awareness that God is too big to literally be contained in a temple - let alone be confined to literally dwelling in the whole earth for even "heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you (God)" (1 Kings 8:27).

    Solomon's dedicatory prayer also gives valuable insight into why Jonah's thoughts would turn towards 'the temple' when he was in distress. I would suggest 1 Kings 8:22-53 is well worth reading and reflecting upon. From Solomon's prayer, do you get the sense that it is the literal temple that is the most important thing - or is it what the literal earthly temple gives us a symbolic starting-point window into - the nature and character of God as manifest in His relationship/'dwelling with' His people?

    What do you see?

    (3)
  7. There are a lot of assumptions made in this lesson about what Jonah was thinking and being motivated by and I'm not sure that there is strong scriptural backing for them. However, what really got to me is the statement that God is only found in the sanctuary in the Old Testament. Huh? What about Hagar in the wilderness? Abraham on Mt. Moriah? Jacob wrestling with God? Moses at the burning bush? And even after the building of the Sanctuary, God appears to Elijah in the wilderness, Daniel's friends in the furnace and probably others that aren't coming to my mind.

    The sanctuary is certainly an important demonstration of God's presence and work for us, but God is not limited by it, nor has He ever been. If He was, it would have been built much earlier and He would never have allowed it to be destroyed.

    As for Jonah, I think God was very gracious to Him and showed that He didn't give up on him easily. He could have left Jonah to go elsewhere and called another prophet. But He chose to pursue Jonah and give him another chance. That is really incredible to me.

    (10)
  8. From this story of Jonah one could conclude that Jonah needed saving in order to fit him for the task God required of him. There was a knowledge of God he needed to understand before he could speak of Him to others. Isn't this an important lesson for the remnant of God and their part in giving the last warning to a perishing world?

    I wonder if Jonah's prayer was not much different than Saul's(Paul) while blind and fasting for 3 days in Damascus(Acts 9:9). Think of the disciples as well for those 3 days while Jesus lay in Joseph's tomb. It seems profitable to take time to meditate and reflect on those things that daily distractions too often keep us from contemplating. I think this is an important lesson to learn. Jesus was often in prayer, even through entire nights. Perhaps we don't feel the need?

    I believe the Sabbath may provide such a time if not crowded with busy services, activities, etc. There is also our daily devotional time, alone with God, and away from every distraction. For me, the first hour of the morning is best before any worldly attentions/distractions, when the mind is well rested from sleep, and the stomach empty. It is much easier to hear the voice of God in those circumstances.

    (4)

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