If you were asked to warn people about something, would you do it? Would it matter who they are? What if they were your enemy and it could save their lives? What if it was God who asked you? Would you just go and do it? Would you have to think about it? Would you reject it and run away? What would you if today’s story was about you?
Usual would be my daily read through the Bible in a year. Something different is to walk thru the book of Jonah this week and then to go offline for a few days.
It’s interesting when I consider some of Jonah and how it parallels to Jesus. In particular when Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish for 3 days vs when Jesus was dead and buried in a tomb for 3 days.
It’s interesting when I consider Jonah and the natural responses we would have to being asked to do something for people who we may think don’t deserve a second chance, don’t deserve to be helped, … because of the way they live their lives, what they have done, and the impact on us. But God’s ways are not our ways! God’s ways are better than our ways! God’s Ways are higher than our ways!
So let’s jump in and check out the first part of Jonah for today…
Jonah Runs from the Lord
1The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: 2“Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”
3But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.
4But the Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart. 5Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship.
But all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold. 6So the captain went down after him. “How can you sleep at a time like this?” he shouted. “Get up and pray to your god! Maybe he will pay attention to us and spare our lives.”
7Then the crew cast lots to see which of them had offended the gods and caused the terrible storm. When they did this, the lots identified Jonah as the culprit. 8“Why has this awful storm come down on us?” they demanded. “Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?”
9Jonah answered, “I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”
10The sailors were terrified when they heard this, for he had already told them he was running away from the Lord. “Oh, why did you do it?” they groaned. 11And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, “What should we do to you to stop this storm?”
12“Throw me into the sea,” Jonah said, “and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.”
13Instead, the sailors rowed even harder to get the ship to the land. But the stormy sea was too violent for them, and they couldn’t make it. 14Then they cried out to the Lord, Jonah’s God. “O Lord,” they pleaded, “don’t make us die for this man’s sin. And don’t hold us responsible for his death. O Lord, you have sent this storm upon him for your own good reasons.”
15Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once! 16The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him.
17Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.
–from Jonah 1
So…would you have been a Jonah and run away from God rather than be obedient to His call? Would you have put the lives of others around you at risk in your attempt to run for God? Jonah knew what he had done was wrong and thought God was mad at him. Nothing surprises God! God knows our every thought! God know the thoughts spoken and unspoken! He knew what Jonah was going to do, but God had a plan and it was a good plan to save lives! Jonah unbenounced to himself by running from God ended up being on a ship of people who were following many other gods. We see with throwing Jonah overboard into the sea and watching the sea calm, the sailors on that boat had their lives intersected with the one true God! They offered Him sacrifices! They turned their lives to Him and vowed to serve Him!
Jonah may have thought God was mad at him and so had him eaten by a fish, but this was time for Jonah to be able to ponder God’s plan! It was a second chance to get Jonah to rescue the people of Nineveh! God is a loving God and His plan isn’t to harm us but that we would turn our lives to Him and be saved! Saved like the sailors on that ship! Saved like Jonah swallowed in the fish! And as we will see thru the story of Jonah, save the people of Nineveh!
As we consider this, let’s listen to a few songs…
We all aren’t Jonah, but do all have our own stories. We may even try to run from God, but God knows all things, God is everywhere, God is all powerful! In this world we will face storms and we get to choose how we will deal with them! Take a look around, see those people walking with you or those people around you? Just like Jonah, who was sleeping in the boat, we have a crew too! Sometimes we may even get thrown overboard, but God has a plan and a purpose and they are for good!
Consider the lyrics of untitled and what they speak to you. Are there any of the lyrics that speak to you or touch you? Leave me a comment and let me know.
I thank You for this new day and for what it represents in the story of my life and these two weeks ahead. I thank You Lord that You have given me a crew or some may call it a team at home, at work, at church, at camp, and in my neighborhood. I thank You Lord that You are bigger than any storms that I will ever have to face! I thank You Lord that You love me just the way I am but love me too much to leave me this way! I thank You Lord that You are with me wherever I go and that I can call on You and You will hear me! I give this day into Your hands and ask Lord that You will use it for the glory of Your Kingdom! I walk open handed that I may be a vessel that can be used by You today to speak truth, hope, love, and life into those who You will bring into my life. And Lord as ask that in all of my day and all of my life, You will help me to live it out in a way that will bring You all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.