Something’s Fishy

Jonah, Commentary by Hugh Martin

I’ve started reading Hugh Martin’s commentary on Jonah. When I reached for a bookmark out of my various stash, which I keep in a mug which features an elephant trunk as a handle (see below), I happened to pull out this one with a number of fish on it. What are the chances? Given that they were fresh water fish, I highly doubted that the one that swallowed Jonah in the salt water Mediterranean Sea was a trout or a bass. Although, if God had prepared a fish large enough to swallow a man and keep him alive for three days in its belly, I supposed that God could have made that fish of whatever species He wished.

I know this blog post is about fish, but ya gotta see this elephant mug!

Marked with the Stamp of Divine Purpose

Today, New Years Eve, I read the following comments on Ecclesiastes by Charles Bridges.

Ecclesiastes 8:6, 7 – “Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?”

All concerning us is determined in the counsels of God, and all in judgment. The time is the best time, because it is God’s time. It is a solemn thought to us all – most precious to the Christian – that each of us has been in the mind of God – the subject of the thoughts of God – from all eternity. Every particle of our being – every trial – every step in our journey – the most minute as well as the most important – everything has been marked with the stamp of Divine purpose. And what a dignity does it give to the veriest trifle of circumstance or work? Yet what can be called a trifle, that is a link in the purpose of the great Sovereign?

What a beautiful lovely prospect, to be “the subject of the thoughts of God from all eternity!” It’s mind blowing, really.

I am thankful that Jesus Christ has made Himself known to me in 2021. After many years of forgetting Him, ignoring Him, denying Him – living in sin with abandon – He opened my mind and heart to His truth again. Interestingly enough, He used another book by Charles Bridges (Exposition of Psalm 119) to trigger these circumstances. To pull that book out of a box in which it was packed for so many years, to see the markings and notes I made when I first read it in 1995, to remember how that book brought me closer to Jesus long ago – made me ask, “What happened to me that I am not that person of faith today?” I consider this to be a great mercy for which I am sincerely grateful.

I am ending 2021 and entering 2022 with the firm conviction that “everything has been marked with the stamp of Divine purpose.” May the fruits of the Spirit be the evidence of my faith in the new year. May those fruits be in more abundant evidence in 2022 than they ever were in 1995 or any previous time of my life.

A Rod for the Fool’s Back

Proverbs 26:3 – A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.

Oh Lord, the rod of your caring correction has been upon this fool’s back. Thank you for opening my eyes to see that the hardships in my life have not been merely disconnected incidents of random happenstance. Rather, they have been manifestations of your fatherly providence: chastising me, guiding me, persuading me, protecting me (from myself and the evil one), leading this prodigal back to Your house.

Lord, forgive my stubbornness. Lord, please do not take Your rod away from me. The rod of your correction comforts me, though painful for a season. Please do not leave me to my wayward passions. Too much foolishness is still in my heart. Lord, help me to learn the lessons You have designed for me in Your providence. I pray for Your wisdom.

Lord, forgive my sins for the sake of Jesus Christ, who loved me and gave Himself for me.