Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Why, Jonah?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai:  “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh.  Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”  But 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.  But the Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart.  Fearing 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.  So 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.”  Then 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.  “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?”  Jonah answered, “I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”  The 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.  And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, “What should we do to you to stop this storm?”  “Throw me into the sea,” Jonah said, “and it will become calm again.  I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.”  Instead, 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.  Then 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.”  Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once!  The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him.  Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah.  And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.  Jonah 1:1-17(NLT)
If the saying misery loves company is true, it is even more provable that misery DRAWS company!  And the kind of misery we mean is when you disobey God.
Jonah made the people of Nineveh miserable, delaying the God-planned revival for their city.  Who knows how many people in a city of 600,000 died while the disobedient prophet tried to go on vacation to Tarshish?
Jonah made the sailors lives miserable by causing the great storm, but ultimately what was worse was they had to live with throwing him to (what they thought was) his death.
Jonah made himself so miserable he wound up under a shade tree whining like a two-year old who can’t find his binky.
Jonah made the fish miserable with a three-day upset stomach.
Jonah made God miserable to see all the misery Jonah set in motion wherever he went like falling dominoes.
As the sailors found out why the storm had come, and moaned, why, Jonah, why…, I’m certain God has asked Russell that question more than a few times.  The short-answer would have to be that we are afraid sometimes.
A good lesson might be to take note of the waves of misery we cause all over earth and heaven with our fear of obeying God.

For You Today

You’ll have a choice when you step out your front door today…Tarshish or Nineveh!
You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road…have a blessed day!

 I Title image: By Gustave Dore’, via Wikimedia Commons

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