It's Time to Seek the Lord
This week, the book of Jonah was read in synagogues across the globe on Yom Kippur. You’re probably wondering, “Jonah? What does Jonah have to do with the most Holy Day of the year?!” It is a rather far cry from the solemn image we have of the High Priest going before the presence in the Holy of Holies each year. But Yom Kippur is prophetic picture of the day Jesus’ blood would make a way for true repentance that leads to eternal salvation in the presence of the Living God. And Jonah’s comical story of a prophet on the run who is swallowed by a whale is the greatest event of corporate repentance in recorded history.
The book of Jonah is timely for the season of corporate prayer and fasting we begin on Friday, Sept. 28. He is a type of the Church, a carrier of God’s message and anointing for deliverance in this hour. His journey is one we can relate to. God chose an unlikely hero, using him for the most amazing evangelistic outreach in spite of his chosen servant’s reluctance, blunders and outright resistance.
We all know Jonah’s story. God tells him He has a message for Ninevah. Jonah watches his life flash before his eyes at the thought of such a dangerous mission and gets the notion that a vacation in Tarshish is just the ticket. As he boards the ship in the opposite direction from Ninevah, the Bible tells us Jonah’s true intent—to get “away from the presence of God.”
What is the answer for America? God’s presence. Everything begins and ends when we seek to be a people of God’s presence. Let us seek God’s face!
Things start going wrong right away. A furious storm barrages the ship. The crew does all they can to fight the storm, but things are looking pretty grim.
Was God out to punish Jonah? No! God’s mission still stood, and Jonah was still the man God had anointed to bring the message. He was drawing Jonah back to his destiny. He was awakening Jonah to His presence. Ironically, it is the heathen captain that God uses to wake him. ““What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish” (Jonah 1:6).
Jonah has lost his bearings. He has gone as low as he could go, as far as he could run, and finally fallen asleep to his call and destiny. But God is using his natural circumstances to shake him out of complacency. He wants to bring deliverance. America is in a season of shaking. But this is not a time to fear. God is calling to His Church, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Eph. 5:14). The whole earth is groaning for the revelation of God’s anointed servants in this hour. God wants to bring awakening, starting with us.
In the Belly of a Whale
Once Jonah is identified as the source of the trouble, the Captain asks, “What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” (1:8). Jonah comes to a moment of truth. He is a servant of the Living God. He has a mission. He is a Hebrew. He tells the crew, “Throw me overboard!” Jonah makes a change of direction. Instead of running from God, he puts himself at the mercy of God and throws himself into the storm.
Fortunately for Jonah, none of this is a surprise and God already has another vessel chartered for Jonah’s journey to Ninevah. Within moments, Jonah is settled into the luxury suite of the belly of a whale. We took note a few years ago when scientists spotted a gray whale off the coast of Israel. The whale was thousands of miles outside of its normal habitat, and had never been seen in this region before. The large fish God had prepared in advance to swallow Jonah may have had a journey of several weeks just to arrive to pick up his cargo! We believe this whale sighting in Israeli waters is a prophetic sign that we are in a season of deliverance. God is moving on behalf of His people Israel and His Church in this hour.
“I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, and He answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and You heard my voice” (Jonah 2:2). Have you had enough debt? Enough joblessness? Enough of calling good evil, and evil good? America is in the belly of the whale and it is time to seek the face of the Lord.
God is telling America, “Turn around!” It first takes personal repentance. Jonah is headed in the wrong direction, but God sends a fish to help him make a return. During his three-day journey Jonah comes to a revelation that God is the Lord. “But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.” He turns his heart, and God delivers him out of the whale onto the shore of his destiny.
Thanksgiving is one of the keys to our turnaround. We can’t let the storms pull us down into depression, despair, doubt, or fear. As we fast and pray, let us stay in an atmosphere of praise and thanksgiving. Begin thanking God now. We believe we are in a season of miracles and His deliverance is at hand!
“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time” (3:1). As Jonah unceremoniously walks up to Ninevah to deliver God’s message, he is covered in seaweed, whale vomit, a bit shriveled, and a lot worse for the wear. He must have looked and smelled atrocious. But he delivered the message and the city that was infamous for evil turned to God in repentance, fasting, and prayer. It was a kairos time for Ninevah, and the people recognized their hour of visitation and stepped in.
It had little to do with Jonah. It had everything to do with the Lord. The most wicked people in the wickedest city responded because of the anointing. The king laid aside his robes and covered himself in sackcloth. 120,000 people fasted and prayed for mercy from God. The spirit of repentance sparked a revival that exploded in a supernatural wave of power that changed and the course of history. 3,000 years later, Jonah’s message is still bearing fruit. Ninevah is a Christian city to this day, electing the only Christian to the Iraqi parliament, and has a culture of following the Lord.
We are in God’s set time for deliverance. We are in God’s kairos time for favor. If God could use this man and turn this wicked city, nothing is impossible. America is a Christian nation with a destiny that still stands. It’s time to awaken from slumber. It’s time to remember who we are. It is time to seek the Lord.
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land “ (2 Chron. 7:14). You are God’s representative to America. We invite you to join with us as we harmonize with Christians across America in 40 Days to Save America. We are praying for a supernatural turn around for America. May the Lord send the spirit of repentance to our land. As we set aside this season to humble ourselves in prayer and fasting, may He hear our cry and have mercy on our nation.
Sign up to be part of the Prayer-Force. Please register and let us know you will be joining so we can keep you informed with prayer directives, resources and encouragement during this season of concentrated prayer. Sign up for the fast online and you will receive our ebook, Binding the Strongman, a powerful tool and resource in how to pray for breakthrough for your family and your nation with prayer and fasting.
Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda, 9/26/2012