Tag: running from God

Belly of the Whale!

Scripture reading for September 17th: Jonah 1-4

Have you ever consciously tried to avoid obedience to God?  Jonah was a prophet of the Lord who was given orders by God to go and preach to the city of Nineveh.  Now Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, the super-power of Jonah’s time.   It is said that they impaled people on stakes and piled up heads in great pillars to spread fear and boast of their power.

God is moved by wickedness and cruelty towards the poor and oppressed! (Jonah 1:2)  He has promised retribution for these sins.   But God does not judge or pour out wrath without first giving warning and an opportunity to escape.  He takes no pleasure in the death of anyone!  (Ezekiel 33:11)

Jonah was sent on a mission of mercy to a wicked people.  He chose not to obey and boarded a ship going in the opposite direction!  During the course of the journey, God sent a  great wind to buffet the ship.  The wind obeyed the Lord when Jonah wouldn’t!  The sailors cast lots to find out the one causing the trouble and the lot fell to Jonah!  Jonah told the men he was running from the Lord.  He  told them to throw him overboard and the sea would calm down.  They obeyed and the sea was calm!

As Jonah sank down into the sea, God appointed a great fish to swallow him!  Jonah found himself in the belly of this great fish, wrapped in seaweed and darkness!  For three days and three nights he wrestled with his own heart and finally offered a beautiful prayer of repentance from this belly of the whale! (Jonah 2:2-9)  The Lord spoke to the fish and Jonah was vomited up on the shore of Nineveh!

The ironic part of all of this was that the Ninevites worshiped Dagon, the fish god!  When Jonah came out of the fish, they thought that their ‘god’ had sent him!  As he preached repentance, all of them responded!  God can take our rebellion and make it work for His purposes!

Jesus used the sign of Jonah to tell people that he would be buried for three days before His resurrection!  (Matthew 12:38-41) We learn that God is sovereign and that  creation obeys His commands!  How much more should we obey Him!  If you are running from God, why not avoid an experience like Jonah’s?

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Sunday Rest and Reflection:Reluctant Prophets

Dear Friends,

Greetings on a day of rest and reflection!   Jesus Christ is Lord!  He is coming soon!  Are you ready to meet Him? Will He commend you for a job well done?  Do you know your purpose here in His plan?  Worship focuses us on God and His purposes and enables us to see our purpose!  It opens us to hear His voice through the preaching and gifts of the Spirit.  Don’t neglect corporate worship with God’s people today!

This past week we have read in the minor prophets and covered Amos, Obadiah, and Jonah.  These prophets were simple men chosen by God to be his mouthpiece.  Amos was a shepherd and fig farmer.  He was obedient to the Lord, but did not consider himself to be anything special. (Amos 7:12-14)  He took abuse from the people God sent him to.   Obadiah’s only recorded message is his short prophesy against Edom.  Edom hated Israel and probably did not welcome this word from Obadiah!  We know he was obedient and that his word came to pass as predicted!

Jonah was the last prophet mentioned this week.  He was reluctant to go where God sent him.  We sometimes feel that God’s directions are too hard or too dangerous.  Human nature doesn’t like conflict and carrying a message that will certainly bring conflict can make anyone reluctant!   However, trying to hide from God is not rational or possible!

What can we learn from these prophets?  First, it is always best to obey the Lord and go where He sends us and say what He says.  Obedience blesses God’s heart and further promotes His plan.  Second, not everyone will like our message, but some may repent.  God cares for the few or many that will repent!  In fact, He wants none to perish!  The third observation concerns our own motives and prejudice.  Our underlying judgment of the people God sends us to will be  exposed.  We must take time and line our hearts with God’s heart.  He has compassion on all and wants none to perish!

Take time today to examine your heart and motives.  Are you going where God has directed?  Are you preaching a straight message?  Do you truly love those you minister too?  God loves a cheerful giver!

In His Love,

Pastor John

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