Jonah and the Big Memory Test
So there was Jonah, stuck inside a great fish contemplating his life choices. He pulls out his smartphone, dries it off, opens his Bible app, and searches for verses to match his need – absolutely not! There is nothing wrong with tools. They can be a great help. But no device or card in your pocket, however convenient, can compare with the nearness of God’s word in your heart and mind. Regarding the prayer of Jonah, Arthur T. Pierson writes:
“As we follow this utterance of deep yearning toward God, when the prophet’s soul fainted within him and he remembered the Lord, we find that the prayer is wholly composed of passages of Scripture: Compare Psalm 120:1; 130:1; Lamentations 3:55, 56; Psalm 50:14, 23; 69:1; Lamentations 3:54; Isaiah 38:17; 2 Kings 17:15; Psalm 31:22; 1 Kings 8:38, 39; 1 Samuel 12:21; Psalm 18:6; 61:2; 34:6; 88:5-8; 42:7. If carefully examined and compared with other parts of the Old Testament, it will be found to be, not indeed a mere string of Scripture quotations or recitations, however appropriate, but a prayer which finds its expression in inspired language. Jonah was familiar with the book of the Law of the Lord, and was evidently wont to meditate therein. He had committed to his mind, if not to his memory, the words which the prophets before him had used in rebuking Israel; he remembered how Solomon prayed at the dedication of the temple; how Moses forewarned of the apostasies which led to the ruin of Jerusalem; how David and other sacred singers had called upon God in trouble and been delivered; and when out of the depths he cried unto the Lord, he naturally expressed his soul’s penitence and petitions, in the language with which he was so familiar that his outpouring of soul naturally ran in these sacred channels. In a word, his prayer—unconsciously, it may be—took shape in a Scripture dialect, as in an inspired vernacular.” *
Are you ready for three days and three nights without your hardcopy Bible, softcopy app, corner-crimped card, and dog-eared memory book? We’re talking about pop-quizzes here. You find yourself in sudden need and suddenly without. Is your mind and memory stored up with God’s word?
P.S. Enjoyed the excerpt above? You can earn Lessons in the School of Prayer as a reward for memorizing or buy it here. *from Lessons in the School of Prayer, Arthur T. Pierson, page 50-51
- Great reminder, Laura! Thanks for these encouraging words!