“The Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart. Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship.” – Jonah 1:4–5.
If you’re an athlete or coach there is a good chance you’ve competed against a rival team in your league, region, or conference. There may be bad blood built up over the years because the two teams dislike each other and are out to embarrass the other team each time they play them. Now, imagine if someone asked you to serve and help this team. You would probably roll your eyes and say “no way.”
That is the problem Jonah had. He could not stand the people of Nineveh. He disliked them. He felt they were not worthy of hearing the message of forgiveness and redemption. He wanted to see God punish and destroy them, not rescue, forgive and redeem them. So God was sending him to share a message of warning and forgiveness to the people he could not stand.
Our society is full of anger, hatred, prejudice, division and needs to hear about eternal life. And so we Christians need to be a part of the solution, not part of the problem. The solution is never arguing, complaining, and running away. The solution is always Jesus Christ and a redeemed and transformed heart.
Jonah decides to make a run for it. He goes to Joppa and pays to board a ship heading for parts unknown. But Jonah was about to find out that it is costly to go in a different direction other than the one God is asking of us.
Jonah was making good his escape when the powerful wind struck. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. God will make life miserable for the person who willfully runs from a known call or mission.
God was ready to use Jonah as a messenger delivering a life-changing prophecy to the people of Nineveh. But Jonah, probably out of fear and uncertainty, decided to do things his way. What trouble his disobedience caused not only for him but also for those around him.
When God has a job for you to do, your obedience is all that is required, your understanding is not. Because of the human condition, it is easy to think your way is the better than the plan God has laid out, but you might find yourself in the midst of a storm of your own making that effects you and those you love.
Before you get yourself in such a perilous state, follow God’s plan from the beginning, life is just better if you do it right from the very start. But, if for whatever reason(s), you find that you haven’t done things quite the way God has said, look at how God tried to get Jonah’s attention, and get him back in His perfect will.
- Have you ever tried to run from God’s will for your life? How did that work out?
- What are some of the ways God pursues Jonah in this passage? What are some of the ways God pursues us when we run from Him?
- Is there anything God could ask you to do, today, that you would say “no” to? If so, what is it and why would you say no?