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The Heart of God in the Heart of the Sea

Devotion Fourteen

April 18, 2024

Salvation Belongs to the Lord

Daniel Barta

After turning to the LORD and finding renewed confidence in His saving Jonah from "the Pit" (Jonah 2:6), Jonah's prayer began to close. In the final words, Jonah responded to the LORD's salvation with the same three actions taken by the pagan sailors once God stopped the storm (Jon 1:15-16)

  1. A Turning from Worthless Idols - "Those who cherish worthless idols abandon their faithful love..." (Jon 2:8)

  2. A Joyful Thanksgiving - "...But as for me I will sacrifice to you with a voice of thanksgiving" (Jon 2:9a)

  3. A Willful Service - "I will fulfill what I have vowed." (Jon 2:9b)

Jonah's grateful service and worship originate in a heart convinced of the truth he confessed:

Salvation belongs to the LORD. - Jonah 2:9c

God Alone Deserves Our Gratitude, Worship, and Service

Those who have experienced salvation from any form of calamity understand that such an experience moves the heart. One pulled out from in front of a train will not need a command to thank the one who saved him. Rather, once he realizes that the bystander plucked him from death, his heart, filled with gratitude, will bring the tongue and the lips into submission and they will say, "Thank you, thank you, thank you! Without you I would be dead, but because of you I am saved!"

Accompanying the gratitude, the heart will long to praise, extol, and honor the one through whom salvation came. The recipient of such salvation will petition that the good Samaritan receive recognition and rejoice when he is elevated and applauded. The one saved will set his savior apart in His heart from all others. The savior will be loved and cherished.

This gratitude and adoration will produce a humble and glad willingness to serve. The saved turn around and ask the savior, "What would you have me do in response? How can I return the good you have done to me? How might I express my gratefulness? How might I please you as an expression of my affection?"

The great scandal of idolatry is that our hearts' affection, thanksgiving, and willing service go to those who do not deserve it. As the Savior, He alone deserves our affection. To Him alone should we address our thanksgiving. And, to Him alone should we present our bodies as living sacrifices which in light of His salvation is a reasonable act of worship (Rom 12:1-2). Salvation belongs to the LORD and He alone deserves our gratitude, worship, and service.

Remember the LORD's Salvation

Jonah's heart experienced a radical change after he, in the belly of the fish, set his heart and mind once again on the LORD's salvation. He called to mind the LORD's mercy, steadfast love, and forgiveness. He called to mind the LORD's rescuing Him. With the LORD's work in view the heart experienced life changing affects.

Do you wish to know deep joy and gratitude in your heart? Consider the works of the LORD. Do you wish to experience freedom from the false idols that enslave you day after day with all their empty promises of fulfillment? Think deeply about the LORD and His merciful grace toward you a sinner. Do you desire to grow in righteousness and goodness? Are you ready to break free from sin and to walk in what pleases the LORD? Set your heart and mind on Christ and His salvation.

So easily we forget the LORD and all He has done. The result is a slip into idolatry, a grumbling and complaining spirit, and rebellion. The solution to all three begins with remembering again the salvation which belongs to the LORD.

Look at Christ and see, in him, the love of God displayed. As [John Owen] says, 'Exercise your thoughts upon this very thing, the eternal, free, and fruitful love of the Father, and see if your hearts be not wrought upon to delight in him.' - Dane Ortlund, Deeper: Real Change for Real Sinners, p. 78

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