Friday, August 9, 2013
To Hell and back!
"For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matt 12:40)
In our last devotional, we saw how sin had hardened Jonah's heart. How he was so comfortable in his disobedience that he fell asleep and did not notice a storm coming his way. In spite of the circumstances of life, Jonah was hard headed and would not repent. To make a long story short, he was thrown overboard from the ship where he was traveling and swallowed by a fish (Most likely a whale).
It is interesting that our Lord Jesus compared himself to Jonah. Jonah was in the belly of the whale 3 days and 3 nights. Can you imagine the "hell" that he was going through? A world of darkness and his skin decaying with the digestive juices inside the whale's belly? No doubt, Jonah was in constant pain and agony.
In the midst of his agony, he cried out to God. He made his peace with him and God gave the whale heartburn and he winded up spitting Jonah out to shore. Our Lord Jesus went through a similar experience but on a most intense level. He was in hell 3 days and 3 nights. The fact of the matter is that Jesus was not buried underground as some would conclude in Matt 12:40 because he was buried in a cave, but this speaks of hell.(1) Jesus went into hell. Why? To pay for our sins and rescue the Old testament saints
My favorite boxer is Muhammad Ali. He used the power of confession to his advantage. He would talk and intimidate his opponents on a consistent basis. After a while, he would wind up beating them. When he fought George Foreman, he used the technique called rope-a-dope. George Foreman, who was the most feared fighter of his time, was punching at Ali's body constantly until he got tired. Ali had taken all of his punches and now it was his turn. Brilliantly attacking a worn out Foreman, Ali made his move and decked him to win the Heavyweight championship of the world!
Rope-a-dope is nothing new. Our Lord Jesus did a "rope-a-dope" with the devil. He took his best punches in hell. When the time was up, Jesus attacked and defeated Satan and his legions of hell,but that was not all. The saints had a front row seat on the fight of the millennium and winded up leaving with the champion, but not before Jesus paraded them on display showing their defeat. It was better than the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade! (2)
In looking at the life of Jonah and Jesus, what was their secret? What brought them out of their hell and agony? Praise and thanksgiving! In both cases, they used the power of praise to blast the hell out of their lives! Glory to God! So, friends, rejoice. I don't know what private "hell" you are going through, but Jesus can get you out of it. Just ask the Father to deliver you and start thanking him for the victory! Your test will be your testimony and God will be glorified in your life. God bless!
Bible verses provided by www.biblegateway.com
Bible references: Jonah 2 and Ps 16: 9-11
(1) Eph 4:9 and Eph 4:8
(2) Col 2:15