What can we learn from such a small book in the Bible?
Let’s dig into the Word of God and find out for ourselves! Are you ready?? I am! Open your Bible to Jonah 1 and read it for yourself or you can click online HERE and then come right back. 🙂
Once you read Jonah Chapter 1 you can see what a mess Jonah was really in. Instead of complete obedience to the Lord, he ran the other way…YIKES! We get only a small glimpse of Jonah’s life from this little book in the Bible.
Jonah didn’t even consider what God said, Jonah just ran the other way. He not only ran away from God, he ran in the opposite direction to a city called Tarshish (Jonah 1:3). Have you ever ran away from God? I know I have and boy it can be such a mess!
When I was younger I ran away from God for so long that I ended up hurting myself and another person because I deliberately disobeyed the Lord from what He told me to do. I diminished the Holy Spirit’s voice to a question in my mind. I asked myself, “Was that really God’s voice? Doesn’t God really want me to be happy?”
I talked myself out of obeying God’s voice and I did it my way.
This is when we DO NOT want to sing that famous song by Frank Sinatra “I Did it My Way!” I did it my way and for a while it was awesome, but in the end I not only hurt myself, but I hurt the other person and long-term I hurt the ones I loved the most because I did not heed my Maker’s voice. Sometimes when we do it our way, it ends with us in a heap of a mess dealing with all the terrible consequences of our actions. Jonah illustrated that best for us. He not only ran away from God, he pulled other people into his own disobedience. The sailors had no clue Jonah was on the run, let alone on the run from God above.
How many times have we run away from God and it ended terribly? Why can’t we simply trust the Lord and obey His voice. Dear friend, there are so many reasons why we don’t obey, but when we get to the root of our WHY, it typically is a result of us not trusting God. And when we don’t trust GOD then we don’t believe He truly loves us deep within the fiber of our being.
Because Jonah ran the other way, the Lord brought a huge storm to get Jonah’s attention. But he was sleeping.
“But all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold.”
This verse really resonated in my heart. How quick we can be in our own sinful mess and we are sleeping in our sin. We are not alert to the crazy chaos we are causing to those around us. Maybe you are in a situation and you are an innocent bystander, like the other sailors on Jonah’s ship, and God is trying to wake up your friend, or parent, or spouse, or child from their disobedience. Maybe you are in anguish, but not sure why all of this terrible stuff is going on around you. Maybe it is not about you dear one. Maybe it involves someone else you are so close with. Maybe you are feeling the ripple effect of their terrible decision-making. In either instance call out to God and ask for wisdom.
Don’t sleep through the storm like Jonah did, let us do what 1 Peter 5:8 says,
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
Stay alert. Keep close to the Lord. Listen to His voice. Ask God for wisdom when the storms of this life comes crashing in. Cling to the ROCK when the tidal wave trials seek to knock you down.
The sailors believed the terrible storm was an act of God, so the Captain awoke Jonah to draw lots to find the guilty party and Jonah got the “short stick” and something had to be done. Jonah FINALLY did what was right. He told the crew to throw him into the raging sea. And guess what? The sailors were terrified to do so! They did not want to get killed for hurting a man of God- especially a God that could cause such a stormy sea. They were fearful, but once they threw Jonah in the storm sea, the storm stopped immediately!
“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.”
Because Jonah was finally obedient to the Lord and cared more about the other men than himself, he was a testimony to the sailors about the God he served – the Almighty God of the Universe. Like the verse above states, the men saw how mighty Jonah’s God was and they offered God a sacrifice and promised to serve the one and only true God!
I am like Jonah in so many ways, but I also want to learn from him to not needlessly repeat the same problems time and time again. God chases us because of His deep LOVE for us. We might still suffer consequences, but it doesn’t mean there still won’t be forgiveness, restoration and redemption from our poor choices we once made.
Even in our mess God still says I can redeem that!
Friends, if you have made some terrible mistakes like I have, ask for forgiveness from the Lord and from others you have hurt, and then ask God Almighty to redeem every part of your story for His name sake!
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
This isn’t just a pretty verse we hang up and read in church, it is LIVING and ACTIVE in those WHO BELIEVE!
I know that because having endured abuse as a child multiple times from multiple men, I have CLUNG to the verse above. I wanted God to make everything work out for my good, even when there was no good to be seen. I was once like Jonah who ran away from God in so many ways of my life. I was afraid. I was angry. I didn’t want to deal with my pain, but God chased after me. He chased after me until I could run no longer. I was such a mess emotionally, I just couldn’t say it aloud. I tried to keep it together. But I was finally at the end of myself and felt like I had no other option. I had to let it get messy and fall apart before it could get any better. It wasn’t until I finally allowed myself to be “thrown overboard” emotionally and spiritually to get true healing from the Lord.
I was running because of the pain of my past, but God was chasing after me to heal me from the very thing I was running from. I was running from the affects of other’s sinful actions on my life, and also from my own sinful choices. God wanted to redeem what the enemy had stolen from my years of abuse. I can say now, having sat in darkness within the belly of the fish, God has saved me and it is not just for my sake, or for my families sake, it is to proclaim this to you today!
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago. They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations.” – Isaiah 61:1-4
Yes, I am like Jonah, are you?
See you again tomorrow when we study Chapter 2 of this amazing little book in the Bible!