Choices And Resulting Seaweed
“Then I said, I have been cast out of Your presence and Your sight; yet I will look again toward Your holy temple. Then I said, I have been cast out of Your presence and Your sight; yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.” Jonah 2:4 Amplified Bible
Being in ministry you see the effects the sad results that people live with in their lives because of the choices they have made. In reading Jonah, I am amazed at the results of his decisions and choices. In chapter two we find Jonah already swallowed and in the belly of the fish after he was thrown off the ship by the sailors. Jonah’s poor choices alone brought him to that place, and yet God was ready to redeem his situation that resulted from his choices. Remember Jonah was on the ship because, by his own words, he wanted to escape the presence of God who had called him to preach repentance to Nineveh. Now that he is in this foul place inside the fish, he suddenly has a change of heart and is now seeking the presence of the Lord. These are his words in the verse above.
He wanted to be out of the presence of God and that decision led him to a desperate place inside the belly of the fish. If you read his words about his condition it is really pathetic. “The waters compassed me about, even to [the extinction of] life; the abyss surrounded me, the seaweed was wrapped about my head.” Jonah 2:5 Amplified Bible
He is inside the belly of the fish, it is dark and there is no life, only death. He is surrounded by the smell of decay from whatever else the fish had eaten. He is rolling around inside there as the sea water surrounds him. He is in the abyss, that place of death itself and he is there by his own choice, wanting to escape the presence of God. The final indignity of his condition can only make you laugh a little as you picture him going through all of this and…he has seaweed wrapped around his head! How pathetic is that picture?
Now he laments being out of God’s presence. People love sin for a season and to enjoy it they want to be away from the presence of God. But the results of sin always leave that person in a place where they then crave His presence. All who make choices to dwell in sin, away from His presence, will always find themselves in a place of desperation and humiliation (picture the seaweed wrapped around their head), and they are coveting to be in His presence once more.
People around you will make choices that will lead them to that moment of seaweed wrapped humility. With a heart for them we can be positioned to help them remove the seaweed wrap and spare them the indignity of being vomited on the shore. We can reach them in His love, lead them by the hand into His grace and great love.
J Todd Hostetler