01/21/14: You Can’t Run, So ‘Fess Up

#HeartForTheWord

The book of Jonah tells us of the prophet’s mistake when God gave Him specific instructions as to what he was supposed to do. In a nutshell, Jonah didn’t want to do what God told him to do. Instead of talking with God about his negative feelings, not only did he refuse to obey, but he took off in the other direction. The story says, “But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish (a city in the total opposite direction from Nineveh where God had told him to go) from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it… down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep” Jonah 1:3 and 5 (NKJ, parenthetical explanation, italics, and underlining added for emphasis).

Then a violent storm arose, threatening to sink the ship. Knowing his guilt against God, Jonah told the crew, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me” Jonah 1:12. After a short time of debate and facing the continuing rage of the storm, the crew chucked Jonah overboard. The storm ceased, but it wasn’t over for Jonah.

The book of Jonah reminds us not only of just how disobedient we can be, but also how very much God loves us, pursues us, and intends for us to do what He says. Look at the lengths to which Jonah went to disobey and let’s see ourselves in his actions.

  • Jonah blatantly decided to ignore God’s command. We too are clear on what God has said to us, but how many times do we simply decide to disobey?
  • Jonah went to great lengths to run from God. Three times, we’re told that Jonah went down instead of up. He also searched to find a way to flee, and he paid a price for his flight. Once we decide to run from God, the only way to go is down, and we find ourselves descending into depths we never believed we could reach. Like Jonah who found that ship going to Tarshish, we too will find ways to stay away from God and we’ll pay whatever the going rate might be.
  • Jonah eventually determined that he’d rather die than do God’s will. Jonah had no clue that a huge fish would save him from drowning, so in essence, he decided to commit suicide. Once Jonah came to his senses and admitted that God was not pleased with his actions, instead of turning to God for help, he just gave up. We’re the same way: once we realize how stupid we’ve been, our first reaction is to figure, “Oh well, I’m so terrible that God can’t do anything with me now. I’m so far in, it’s impossible to get out. I give up.”

 

But look at the love of God. In the midst of Jonah’s despair, when Jonah had given up on himself, God had not given up on Jonah. Without Jonah even asking, God stepped in. The Bible tells us, “Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights” Jonah 1:17. Don’t skip over the word “now.” That Hebrew word, manah (maw-naw’), means “to weigh out, to allot or constitute officially, enroll, appoint, and prepare.” In other words, all the while Jonah was acting crazy, God was officially appointing and preparing that fish to run the rescue mission. And when Jonah realized he wasn’t drowning, but was very much alive although in stinky fish acid, the story tells us, “Then Jonah prayed” Jonah 2:1.

Jonah had gone down, spent his money, became desperate (stressed), and even attempted suicide before he turned back to simply obey God. How far down do we plan to go, how much money on disobedience do we plan to spend, and how desperate do we plan to get before we’ll turn back to God? We can turn now, or we can let God prepare the fish-acid rescue. Either way, God loves us so much that he intends to pull us back to Himself. It’s our choice to either try to run or ‘fess up. Worship God for being in pursuit.

____________________________

©2014 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 

Pick up a copy of Sharon’s newest release,

Boomerangs to Arrows: A Godly Guide for Launching Young Adult Children

available from Judson Press (http://www.judsonpress.com/product.cfm?product_id=17387),

 at bookstores, and on all major online book buying sites.

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2JH_gbinMk

Also still available:

Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame

from New Hope Publishers (http://www.newhopedigital.com/2010/08/power-suit/)

~ by sanewriter on January 21, 2014.

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