Jonah 1:1-3; One day long ago, God’s Word came to Jonah, Amittai’s son: “Up on your feet and on your way to the big city of Nineveh! Preach to them. They’re in a bad way and I can’t ignore it any longer.”
But Jonah got up and went the other direction to Tarshish, running away from God. He went down to the port of Joppa and found a ship headed for Tarshish. He paid the fare and went on board, joining those going to Tarshish—as far away from God as he could get.
Obviously Jonah had other plans for his life and it didn’t include being an evangelist to Nineveh! I mean, God didn’t even ask him, He TOLD him to go. Seems like God would have at least consulted Jonah, found out if it was on his bucket list. But Jonah was a marked man. First of all, let me point out that God’s Word came to Jonah. When God speaks, you can try to ignore it, but it won’t go away. Secondly, Jonah didn’t argue with God, he simply got up and went in the opposite direction, probably thinking he could escape somehow or make God think he hadn’t really heard him.
But then God sent a storm, wild and raging, just to remind Jonah that there was no where he could run to escape Him. The men on the ship were afraid, found Jonah sleeping and woke him up (side note; reminds me of Jesus on the boat with the disciples), told him to pray. Finally he confessed it was his fault and they needed to throw him overboard and the storm would stop. As afraid as these men were, they refused to do this until the storm became so bad they had no other choice. Watch what happened next: They took Jonah and threw him overboard. Immediately the sea was quieted down. The sailors were impressed, no longer terrified by the sea, but in awe of God. They worshiped God, offered a sacrifice, and made vows.
Even though Jonah disobeyed God, turned tail and ran, good came out of it in that these rough and tough men of the sea turned to God and believed. The story doesn’t end there. We know God sent a large fish to swallow him up, take him back to the shore close to Nineveh and spit him out.
God doesn’t mess around! He said we are to make disciples, to become fishers of men, to go into the world and preach the gospel and we’re still doing our own thing, going our own way because it makes us uncomfortable. What kind of storm will God have to bring in order to get us to obey? The time is short, Jesus is coming soon. It’s time to get the Word out there that there’s a God who loves, heals, saves and forgives and He wants to be a Father to you.
Father, I honor you this morning and make an offering of my life. I ask that as I go about my day, You would lead and direct my steps so that I may be Your mouth, Your hands, Your arms to a lost and dying world. May countless men, women and children come to know You in all Your greatness because we, Your people are willing to obey. It’s in the name of Your Son, Jesus we pray, Amen