JONAH Jonah 1:1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. 3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. 4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. 5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. 6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not. 7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. 8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? 9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. 10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. 11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. 12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.
Jonah was comfortable in the side of the ship. He was asleep - comfortable - even though a storm raged all around him and a whole city was about to be destroyed because of sin. God had asked him to go to Nineveh. Nineveh was a great city but it was filled with many wicked people and Jonah was supposed to go "cry against it." The message was to be, "Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown." Jonah didn't want to deliver this message, so he ran from God. He found a ship going to Tarshish, boarded, went down into the side of the ship and went to sleep. There are many people running from God today. They find a comfortable place and think they are hid but you can't hide from God! God knew exactly where Jonah was and He caused a great wind to blow on the sea. The water became so rough the ship's crew were afraid and began to throw the heavy stuff into the sea to lighten the ship. The men cast lots to see why the ship was in peril and the lot fell on Jonah. When they heard Jonah's story of flight, they threw him overboard to save the ship. Everyone knows the rest of the story, how the fish swallowed Jonah, carried him to Nineveh and spit him out. God had to shake Jonah up. He has a way of getting us where He wants us. It would have been so much easier on Jonah if he had just boarded a ship to Nineveh to start with!
Acts 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Sometimes we are running around doing things for God, furthering the Kingdom of Heaven,
and we are very comfortable with our lives; but what if what you are doing is not what
God wants you to do? What if God is trying to speak to you about doing something else with
your life, with your time, but you are so busy working for Him you can't hear? This is
what happened to Paul. He was comfortable doing what he thought was the right thing.
He was running all over the country persecuting and killing the Christians thinking he was
working for God. God had to strike him down and blind him to get him to listen. God
took away his comfortable world and made a great Christian out of him.
I'm afraid we may have gotten too used to our comfortable lifestyle in America. I am so thankful
that I live in a free country and so glad that no amount of terrorist attacks can take away
our ideals! I can't imagine the horror some of our fellow citizens have
lived through the last week but my heart goes out to them. I don't know about you, friend, but
the happenings last week have taken away a measure of my comfort and placed me at disease. But
that's ok because when I'm discomfited I pray more!
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