The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD. – Jonah 1:1-3
Continuing from my previous post:
How is it that Jonah, who is a prophet, gets himself to the point of being able to completely disregard the Lord’s instructions, and head in the opposite direction? Personal experience suggests that it begins in the small compromises.
Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. – Song of Solomon (Songs) 2:15
The small sacrifices of character that we make in seemingly insignificant matters end up mattering quite a bit in the long run. Before long, like walking mindlessly along the beach, we look up, and find ourselves so far away from our point of origin that it is hard to believe. We have no clue of what Jonah’s spiritual condition was. It is pure speculation, but I would venture that he has made some compromises in his convictions, and had trained himself to tell God, “No”. A dangerous position indeed, as we will find out.
Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. – Jonah 1:4
God, in His mercy, is unwilling to let Jonah off the hook that easily. His love for Jonah is too much for Him to watch Him run away, and His love for the people of Nineveh is too great to send His judgment without one final opportunity to turn from their evil. Jonah is now caught up in such a fierce storm, that it seems to threaten not only his life, but the lives of those around him.
Our sin of disobedience can put us in a position of great danger. An old saying is, “The safest place on earth is the center of God’s will.” When we run from God, refusing to listen to his voice, and remain hell-bent on having our own way… we are in danger. Not necessarily from God, but from the consequences of our own actions. As humans, we are remarkably adept at self-destruction. From our own thoughts, which constantly tear us down, to our addictions that hold us in chains, we can’t seem to get out of our own way.
The scriptures say, “Then the LORD sent a great wind…” but actually, the storm was Jonah’s own doing. If he would have obeyed, there would have been no wind… no storm.
How often do we, from our miserable states look up to heaven, and ask God, “Why me!!??” In reality, God may have sent the storm, but only after it was first crafted by our own hands.
To be continued…