Daily Devotion for June 29, 2012
Jonah Being Thrown from the Boat (after) Mattthieu Van Plattenberg, c. 1659
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Father, I thank you this morning for all that I have. Even if I have problems with my health, I am alive today. If I have money problems, I will eat today. I have clothes to wear, a roof to protect me, and air to breathe.
Let me never take for granted these gifts of life, oh Lord, but always remember that they come from you; without you, no man could make the sun shine or the tree bear its fruit. I pray to live this day in joy and thankfulness for what I have, remembering always who made me and who keeps me. In the name of Christ I pray,
Prayer for the Nation
Almighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage; I humbly pray that we may always prove ourselves a people who remember your favor and are glad to do your will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way.
Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought here from so many different lands and languages. Grant the spirit of wisdom those to whom we entrust with the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to your law, we may demonstrate your praise among the nations of the earth. In times of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in days of trouble, do not let our trust in you fail; all which I ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.
If you are with me, O God, who can be against me? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
The Best Way to Get to Hell
The safest road to hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
~ C. S. Lewis
Jonah 1:7-16 (ESV)
Jonah Is Thrown into the Sea
And they said to one another, "Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us." So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah.
Then they said to him, "Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?" And he said to them, "I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land."
Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, "What is this that you have done!" For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.
Then they said to him, "What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?" For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. He said to them, "Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you."
Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. Therefore they called out to the Lord, "O Lord, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you."
So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.
Notes on the Scripture
None of the people in this tale are outright immoral or murderous. Jonah admits his fault and takes the responsibility — and the consequences — of his wrong action. The sailors are Phoenicians, however, not Hebrew, and they worship idols. Likely they are acquainted with the curious One God of the Hebrews, for their home base is on the shoreline of northeast Israel and they would have had significant trade involving the Hebrews, both buying and selling goods and transporting for Hebrew traders.
Still, the Phoenicians are loathe to hurl Jonah to his death, even when they learn he is responsible for their predicament. They recognize the immorality of murder. Although they do not worship the Lord, they are primitive in matters of religion and perfectly willing to accept another god, especially when such a god is attributed to a powerful force. And so they call out to the Hebrew God for mercy.
The incident lives in modern language. Among sailors, who tend to be a bit superstitious anyway, a "Jonah" is still the term for a person who brings bad luck to a sea voyage.