November 8 I Monday
“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered You, LORD, and my prayer rose to You, to Your holy temple.” —Jonah 2:7
Some of us reading this devotion today may be going through conflict. Maybe we are at odds with a family member or a friend and are nursing a root of bitterness that has grown over time towards the individual. The danger is that as unforgiveness clings to our heart from the pain or the trauma we experienced, it takes root in our life and limits our ability to move forward. We could be wrapped up by this for so long that we have become accustomed to it, believing it is simply part of our life.
As Jonah sat in the belly of the fish, he was wrapped up in his own desires, his own sense of right and wrong, which only led to distress and trouble. The good news is that Jonah showed us what to do to be free from that place. Jonah prayed, “In my distress I called to the LORD, and He answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and You listened to my cry” (Jonah 2:2). God does not run away from runaways; He is Yahweh, who feels and comes to the aid of His people. He not only sees and hears, but He also comes down to do for us what we are unable to do for ourselves.
Jonah was set free from his bondage not by his own power or might, but by the power of the One he cried out to, which is why he concluded his prayer by saying, “Salvation comes from the LORD” (Jonah 2:9). In the New Testament, the good news is that Yahweh clothed Himself with humanity and came to set His people free from their bondage and slavery to sin. The name “Jesus” in Hebrew is Yeshua, which means, “Yahweh is salvation.” Jesus came to live a perfect sinless life and then went to the cross for our sin, our punishment, our trouble, our wickedness and our distress. Through His death on the cross, He paved a way for His love, His grace, His light, His joy and His salvation to flood into our souls and liberate us. Whatever we have been holding tightly, we could release it to Him.
Jonah continued in his prayer, “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them” (Jonah 2:8). Jonah recognized the worthlessness of idols that could rob our attention away from God. It was when Jonah finally admitted his distress to Yahweh that he was set free. Jonah 2:10 tells us, “The LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.” What do we need Yahweh to set us free from today?
Prayer: Dear Jesus, in You there is salvation. Please set me free from any bondages of bitterness and unforgiveness that I am holding on to—I surrender them all to You. Thank You for liberating me.