Friday, March 21, 2014

The Voice of Thanksgiving

Jonah, Jonah, Jonah.

I mean really. The whale is making you look bad. He immediately obeyed by swallowing you up. 

Let me back up. 

I just want to talk with Jonah. He's at this critical point in his life. He has a choice; a decision to make; do I obey or do I do what I want. This choice is not exclusive to just Jonah. We all are faced with this opportunity moment by moment. 

And then I recall what Spurgeon wrote, "Remember that to do wrong will always be easy while our carnal nature is what it is. Man can always find ways of sinning against God." 

Oh Jonah. This is a heart matter. So I pretend he's standing before me and look him in the eye. I tell him what I say to my boys when they are contemplating disobeying: "Obey right away, all the way and in a happy way." Seems so simple... yet, the reality is, the temptation to consider disobedience is too great. We can't take time to ponder sin. 

In sin, a split second changes everything. Trust me. 

Jonah knows that now. He's found himself in the belly of a whale stewing in a slimy, stinky, sour state of sin.

"Our impulses are not to be depended on-our thoughts run wild. You must never obey an impulse to do wrong," writes Spurgeon. 

Sin will help us do and say more that we had originally planned. 
Life is a series of choices. Decisions. We choose. We decide. Do we realize what we are doing? Our responsibility is great. 

Matthew Henry says, "Sin is stupefying, and we are to take heed lest at anytime our hearts are hardened by the deceitfulness of it."

This explains our homeboy Jonah, with his hard heart, no compassion for the lost, thinking of only himself; his "what have you done for me lately?" attitude. He wasn't about to go to Ninevah to a people lost and dying. Too bad, so sad. This is the deceitfulness of sin. Yuck.

See, we can't follow Jesus and drag our sin behind us. 

He's looking for those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. We love the one and hate the other. And that is where our choice comes in. He's given us a free will. 

We have to cut off our sin in order to go forward with Jesus. 

All of us were created on purpose for a purpose. We were put on this earth to fulfill His will. This whole thing is for Him. 

And because God is Sovereign and He is God, He will bring us to the exact place He wants us to be....come heck or high water. (No pun intended).  :)

After the sin is committed, Jonah comes to his senses in Chapter 2 when he realizes it was the Lord that brought him up from the pit.

He remembers the Lord. 

Oh, that we would remember the Lord. How would things change for us if we remembered the Lord rather than cherishing sin and relying on our impulses? Or if we remember the Lord before paying regard to vain idols? 

"But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you;" v. 9

Sweet Sisters, let us remember the Lord with thankfulness. We thank Him because we love Him. We don't say thanks to manipulate Him so we can get what we want. We truly thank Him because our hearts are grateful. 

It's no secret that I love Albert Barnes. He wrote, "But Jonah's was that special character of thankfulness, which thanks God in the midst of calamities from which there is no human exit; (hello, belly of the whale) and God set His seal on this sort of thankfulness, by annexing this deliverance..." (parenthesis mine).

"And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land." v. 10

Ann Voskamp said it best when she said, "Thanksgiving always precedes the miracle."

Let's raise our voices in thankfulness to the Lord, even in the midst of calamities. We serve a great God and nothing is too hard for Him.

"I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD." Psalm 116:17


  1. Great post!! I tell my kids something very similar when they aren't obeying, and I always find a check in my spirit asking myself if I'm practicing what I'm preaching? A heart of gratitude changes everything!

  2. Love this - Love this -Love this - so timely, beautiful, convicting and encouraging. I need to steal your "Obey right away, all the way and in a happy way." saying. I need that to be the soundtrack of my mind. Thanks for your encouragement, it was such a blessing to wake up to.

  3. Wow I love this! In a split second oh how sin can immediately change everything! Powerful thought and something I need to remember. If we all realized how much sin would alter the course of our lives we would have a totally different perspective. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I love your obedience saying. I think that would be a great poster on the wall of every classroom and play room.
    #shereadstruth #shesharestruth

  5. "We thank Him because we love Him. We don't say thanks to manipulate Him so we can get what we want. We truly thank Him because our hearts are grateful. " -- I love this melissa! I'm linking your blog to mine so I can always read your new posts! Love you!!! :D

  6. Love that Albert Barnes quote! (And you!)

  7. Fabulous post! Hehehe...I love that the whale obeyed immediately making Jonah look bad!! Yes! And love what you tell your boys about obedience, may have to steal that for Lil' Hunkie!!

  8. I love this..."Obey right away, all the way and in a happy way." Love the new blog too! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Inspiring. Thank you. P.s. I love your new blog look... It's fantastic!