Going down

By Dave Henning / September 14, 2015

“And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah.  And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”- Jonah 1:17

John Ortberg continues Chapter 8 of All the Places to Go by noting that when the sailors hurled Jonah into the sea, the Lord “appointed” a great fish to swallow Jonah.  Pastor Ortberg notes that the word appointed could be translated “commissioned.”  It’s a governing word, something a king would do.  John quips that the fish is better at taking orders than Jonah!

If the main word for God in the book of Jonah is great, the main word for Jonah is down.  For an Israelite, the sea was a low as one could go- a place of great fear and terror.  In that place of death, Jonah turns to the Lord because he has nowhere else to turn.  But when Jonah prays, good things start to happen.

We don’t have to wait until we hit rock bottom to call on God.  Even if we wait until then, however, God is there.  John summarizes:

“It turns out that when human beings are going down, down, down, God is up to something great, and from God’s perspective, death and the grave are not a problem at all.  Human rebellion and stubbornness are not a problem.  God laughs at death, laughs at the grave.”

Today’s question: What Bible verses have strengthened your faith that God is up to something great when you are going down?  Please share.

New addition to Crown Jewels: “Exulting in monotony”

Tomorrow’s blog: “Lack of love”

About the author

Dave Henning


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