I thought I would cover the Book of Jonah the next five weeks. There are four chapters but I am doing the first chapter in two parts.
Jonah 1:1-10 1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” 3 But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish 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, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. 4 But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. 5 Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep. 6 So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.” 7 And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, “Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” 9 And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” 10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.
When God calls us to something new, he is always up to something good. However difficult the call may be, it is one of grace and it is for our ultimate joy. Reflect for a moment on the contrast between Jonah and Jesus.
Jonah was in a good place, doing good work, enjoying a good life. Then God said, “Jonah, I want you to go to another place, and do a different work for the sake of people I love; people who are facing an imminent judgment.” Jonah said “No.”
Jesus was in heaven, ruling the universe by the word of his power. Adored by angels, he was in the best place, doing the best work, and enjoying the best life. Then the Father said, “Go to another place, where you will be utterly rejected. You will live a life that will lead to torture, crucifixion, and death. You will become an atoning sacrifice for people I love, who are facing an eternal judgment.” Jesus said “Yes.”
Recognizing that Jesus did all this on our behalf moves us from being the kind of people who care about our own comfort, reputation, and success, to caring more about the people all around us whom we are called to love and serve. Loved much, we are freed to love much.
Luke 7:47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
Jonah knew he couldn’t hide from the Lord, so why did he even try? When God wants to use us, we need to obey Him and put all our trust in him, no matter how difficult the task appears. Sometimes we act and then pray for his help instead of the reverse. Thank you Lord for being there for us when we wander off the path you want us to follow.
Along with posting your thoughts, please share any bible verses, songs, and daily devotions that may have special meaning to you today.
I wish everyone a very blessed Monday.