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 – Jonah 1:4-5
Isn’t it amazing how wonderful God is! That even in the height of our disobedience He still has plans of what we could achieve in whatever state we find ourselves. You are probably wondering “what is she on about?” I’m going somewhere with this J.
When Jonah in the first verse of chapter one received his commission from God to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh (the capital city of Assyria, a people who are of constant threat to Israel, and of whom God had declared (many times through His prophets Hosea 11:5 and Amos 5:27) that He would use as an instrument of punishment against the Israelites), you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand why Jonah fled from delivering the message. After all, any patriotic Israelite would have longed for Assyria’s destruction. No patriotic Israelite would want to be involved in a rescue mission for their enemies. I mean think about it! If say for example there was someone who was seriously threatening your job, you family, your very life and you received a message from God to go and help them, I think if you were very honest with yourself, you would probably think twice about it (and the really honest ones will probably start dancing, that finally the day of destruction of their enemy has finally arrived J), but this post is not about enemies.
Don’t you just Love God!
Of course God knew Jonah was going to flee. Have you not read where it says He searches the heart of man and examine secret motives (Jeremiah 17:10a). Have you not read that God doesn’t want anyone to perish (Ezekiel 33:11; 1 Timothy 2:4), and of course there were other lives just as important as the lives of the Ninevites. The lives of the sailor who were going to be on the ship bound for Tarshish. Obviously if Jonah wasn’t on that ship they probably would not have found themselves in danger of death by drowning as a result of the violent storm, but notwithstanding, they would have continued living, and would have been ignorant of the love of the one TRUE God, the Lord God of heaven and earth. Not the gods of the figment of their imagination that had no ear to hear them, let alone help.
Of course God knew Jonah was going to flee. Have you not read where it says He gives all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserves (Jeremiah 17:10b). He probably anticipated the flight of Jonah, and through the actions of Jonah God used it to save a totally different group of people.
The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him. – Jonah 1:16
Don’t you just Love God!
As children of God, even in our backslidden and out of fellowship with God state, God still loves us, continues in His HOT pursuit of us, NOT willing for us to be castaways. But we must always remember that He is an all knowing God, and even in that state, He still places people in our paths whom He knows we have the ability to help. God is always forever working on bringing us back to repentance and back to fellowship with Him. Think of the example of one who is desperately in love with someone who doesn’t love them back, it is so sad but that is sometimes the relationship we have with God. He is constant chasing us, and we keep giving Him the unrequited cold shoulder love.
But whatever state you find yourself, whether the “I am in love with God” kind of state, or the judgement condemnation of others (backslidden state), always remember, who you are, and whose you are. “ I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land” – Jonah 1: 9. You still have something to offer, there are people whose lives are depending on the message of the Love of God you are carrying. A time is coming when we have to give account of it, never let any opportunity pass you by regardless of how you feel or what you think.
My Lord and my God, please forgive me in any way I have judged the people you’ve placed on my path and the times I have shyed away from delivery Your message in Jesus Name. Amen.