Sometimes the earth has tornadoes, and sometimes it has hurricanes. Prayers are going out to all affected by the latest Hurricane Dorrian, and we can only hope that the people still there can push on with the help of all of us.
Due to this natural disaster recently (which is also why I haven't been able to post often since we've been detoured for more days), and due to other struggles in my own life, I've decided Jonah was a great true story of history to follow up all of this. Have you ever been faced with life altering situations or decisions that make you completely change your direction in life? Do you sometimes struggle to trust God?
Let's read Jonah 1 first:
"Jonah Runs from the Lord
1The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: 2“Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”
3But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.
4But the Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart. 5Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship.
But all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold. 6So the captain went down after him. “How can you sleep at a time like this?” he shouted. “Get up and pray to your god! Maybe he will pay attention to us and spare our lives.”
7Then the crew cast lots to see which of them had offended the gods and caused the terrible storm. When they did this, the lots identified Jonah as the culprit. 8“Why has this awful storm come down on us?” they demanded. “Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?”
9Jonah answered, “I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”
10The sailors were terrified when they heard this, for he had already told them he was running away from the Lord. “Oh, why did you do it?” they groaned. 11And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, “What should we do to you to stop this storm?”
12“Throw me into the sea,” Jonah said, “and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.”
13Instead, the sailors rowed even harder to get the ship to the land. But the stormy sea was too violent for them, and they couldn’t make it. 14Then they cried out to the Lord, Jonah’s God. “O Lord,” they pleaded, “don’t make us die for this man’s sin. And don’t hold us responsible for his death. O Lord, you have sent this storm upon him for your own good reasons.”
15Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once! 16The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him.
171:17 Verse 1:17 is numbered 2:1 in Hebrew text.Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights."
So first off: God says, "hey, go to these terrible people in this terrible land and tell them about me because sos they need it." Now, if I was told to drop everything and go to somewhere that I knew I was probably going to get killed, I'd be terrified and say "excuse me, what?" Which is basically what Jonah did. He left and went the other way of what God asked which is disobeying. Yikes. When we think about disobeying God, we think "oh shoot don't do that, He's God, why would you disobey the one who created you and can blow you away?" However, even doubting him and saying "excuse me, what?" is a form of disobeying. Due to Jonah's actions, God brought a large storm that Jonah eventually says is his fault. He owns up to his mistake because he acknowledges that he worships the Lord, and regretfully claims that he made an error of judgement in running away. This is exactly what we should do when we know we mess up. #repentance. Repenting is a beautiful thing that is our way of saying, "Lord, sos I messed up I'm so sorry," and then completely turning 180 degrees from what we did that was a sin. In Jonah's case, he said, "throw me over so that I don't keep running." However, God still wants Jonah to understand that following him means more than just saying I'm sorry and giving up. God needs Jonah to understand that it's essential to trust him, and essential to see the Glory of God even in our own turmoil. After Jonah is put in the sea, the Lord stopped the storm and placed a fish to swallow Jonah for three days and three nights (three days and three nights, sound familiar?).
This first chapter of Jonah is amazing because we see ourselves in Jonah. We see our natural tendencies when we get scared for what God calls us to do, or what God throws at us, and then how we repent. God knew Jonah was going to repent by offering himself to the sea, but still had plans for him. God still has plans for you even when you mess up and don't trust. You have to repent, and you have to take the steps to understand and learn that His way is the best and only way. There's truly nothing you can do that will make you drift away from God's plan. God is sovereign.
Please check out the next portion of Jonah in my Devotional page!! Subscribe, comment, and let me know how I can be praying for you!