Runnin' runnin' runnin,
ain't runnin from myself no more
So, I'm an absolute scatterbrain, but I went from my study on Jonah to that Beyoncé song, Runnin... lol
...But isn't that what Jonah was doing? He was running from God. When we think about Jonah I know we usually first think about him sitting in the mouth of a huge fish (at least I do). But when I studied this book recently, I put myself in Jonah's shoes. How many times have I known what God expects of me and instead took the easy way out, only to discover that the easy way out sunk me deeper into my mess? This is what happened to Jonah and it happens to us all of the time. God puts something on our heart, it comes to us in the form of work, requiring a level of energy we are either to immature to exert effort for in our new faith, or making us feel "put out," like Jesus dying for us was not enough, that we should have the pleasure of being able to pick and choose when we want to act as Christians. DISCLAIMER: We are to act this way all the time! 1 John 3: 19 says, Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Let us remember that Jesus is the truth we speak of here.
Jonah was given an assignment. He was asked to preach to the people of Nineveh, but decided he would run instead of announcing God's judgment as God commanded. We're going to take a look at Jonah's disobedience, and how we can use it in our own lives.
Upon hearing God's demand, Jonah...
1. Disobeyed. He went in the opposite direction of Nineveh, bought a ticket and hopped on a ship, thinking he was out of dodge of the Lord.
God gives us messages through his prayer and knowledge of His word. As believers, we are called to please God and not man, and to spread His Gospel. While we will not hear an audible voice, we will be moved by His Holy Spirit to act in ways that please Him. Disobedience, and failure to submit fully will have us traveling just like Jonah, in a direction that is not in God's will for us.
2. Ended up in a less than ideal situation. Because of his obedience, God "hurled a powerful wind over the sea that threatened to break the ship apart," Jonah 1:4.
God does not make us make bad decisions. We do this on our own. Sometimes we aren't fully delivered out of valleys we subject ourselves too until God sees that we've learned a lesson from our struggle. For a believer, he will deliver you out of these times.
3. Recognized the power of God and the power of prayer after sinking to a valley from disobedience. Jonah prayed to God after being swallowed by the fish and the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.
Just like Jonah found himself in less than stellar circumstances, his situation made him realize God's power, and he knew that God would be the only one who could help him so he prayed. It's important to pray and study God's word before we are in horrible situations, but, if we come to God humbly, as Jonah did from inside the fish, he will see us through our struggle!
4. Obeyed, yet questioned. Jonah traveled to Nineveh after God spoke to him a second time to deliver the message he gave him. Jonah did this, and because God saw what the people had done, and how they put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had initially planned.
God wants to give us a second chance, turn our lives around and follow Him. Our prayers do not fall on deaf ears if we seek him humbly, ready to admit our sin and fully repent from wrongdoing. When Jonah saw that God gave the people of Nineveh mercy, he was upset. God asked Jonah if he had the right to be angry. Did he?
Sometimes we find ourselves in obedience to God and find our situations remain stagnant while others' who continue to disobey flourish. The big question is this: do we all deserve God's mercy?
Yes. Some of our brothers and sisters just haven't stopped running from God yet.