This process of coming back to our Father as a prodigal son or daughter isn’t without its bumps and bruises, fear and scars, but God hears us in our distress, he disciplines us with a little pain so we can find a greater purpose, and finally we get to the place where we are…
Dislodged (2:8:3-2) Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.’” And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.How joyous it is when we get to experience the other side of pain and discipline—When the coach pushes us harder than we think we could go, riding our case, and finally we experience the joy of victory, or the teacher who gives back your C-paper because they knew you had A- ability and finally you see the talent develop. Finally, Jonah comes to the place where discipline has sharpened his focus. Getting the perspective to see the difference between his own desire, or worthless idols and His identity in God. He remarks, “those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love.” If they turn away from it, it means it is already being offered, already present. Each time we put something before God, we miss out on what he has already offered us! For us the real question is in the face of God’s love, are we willing to be Christians first or are we going to turn towards what is worthless?
Sometimes we turn away because we don’t really know what we have before us. In the movie Moneyball, staring Brad Pitt, he plays the eccentric GM Billie Beane of the Oakland A’s baseball team, trying to make a playoff team on a shoestring budget. With the help of a Yale grad student the small market team put together a record-breaking 20 game win streak, only to see the season end in the first round of the playoffs. Billy is pretty certain that the season was a failure until he sees the story of Jeremy Brand, a young minor league player. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xn7C6jgl0RI
He hit a home run and was clinging to first base. I want you to see what happened when Jonah finally lets go of first base and looks up: Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time. Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. While God’s discipline is thorough, his grace is abundant. The GREAT EXCHANGE—replacing death with a second chance.
In God’s grace he has already laid out before you your second chance—it comes at the foot of the cross— where Christ hit a home run–don’t leave here today without crying out to God, turning back to God, and finding the One who pursues not to condemn you but to win you back. Regardless of what you’ve done. Jesus has already embraced the fullness of God’s discipline—the worst of humanity, the worst of sin, by taking on our sin—and Jesus embodies the fullness of God’s grace—that by standing in your place of judgment you could experience the jubilee of a second chance! Jesus already endured the sign of Jonah—3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth—embracing your death so you could live in the fullness of new life.
Hopefully even the smartest son who traded his dollar for two quarters, two quarters for 3 dimes, 3 dimes for 4 nickels, 4 nickels for 5 pennies —who father was so proud that he turned red and became speechless, would know the GREAT EXCHANGE when it comes before him. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.