Jonah 1 The Message (MSG)
1 1-2 One day long ago, God’s Word came to Jonah, Amittai’s son: “Up on your feet and on your way to the big city of Nineveh! Preach to them. They’re in a bad way and I can’t ignore it any longer.” 3 But Jonah got up and went the other direction to Tarshish, running away from God. He went down to the port of Joppa and found a ship headed for Tarshish. He paid the fare and went on board, joining those going to Tarshish—as far away from God as he could get. 4-6 But God sent a huge storm at sea, the waves towering. The ship was about to break into pieces. The sailors were terrified. They called out in desperation to their gods. They threw everything they were carrying overboard to lighten the ship. Meanwhile, Jonah had gone down into the hold of the ship to take a nap. He was sound asleep. The captain came to him and said, “What’s this? Sleeping! Get up! Pray to your god! Maybe your god will see we’re in trouble and rescue us.”
Jonah was a prophet called by God to preach the good news to the city of Nineveh. But there was a problem, Jonah wanted nothing to do with the wicked Nineveh. He was too righteous for the unrighteous Nineveh. So what did he do?
In his self righteousness, he run away from God and Nineveh. He did not obey the Lord’s command. Instead of moving to the direction of Nineveh, he went the opposite direction ( as far away from God as he could).
I think this sounds awfully familiar. It is my life, it is our lives. God tells us to do something and what do we usually do? Go as far away from God as we could! But we need to learn a lesson about life and faith in this story. With God, you can run but you can’t hide. His will will always prevail. He is to be followed. Doesn’t mean we become mindless robots following God but in His infinite wisdom and grace, our eyes will be opened that running away from God is really not the wisest thing to do.
Sometimes God sends people to knock us right back to our senses, sometimes He creates circumstances to remind us of his goodness. Other times He would send a storm to bring us back to where He wants us to be. He cares not just for us but for the call of God in our lives.
7 Then the sailors said to one another, “Let’s get to the bottom of this. Let’s draw straws to identify the culprit on this ship who’s responsible for this disaster.” So they drew straws. Jonah got the short straw.
8 Then they grilled him: “Confess. Why this disaster? What is your work? Where do you come from? What country? What family?” 9 He told them, “I’m a Hebrew. I worship God, the God of heaven who made sea and land.” 10 At that, the men were frightened, really frightened, and said, “What on earth have you done!” As Jonah talked, the sailors realized that he was running away from God.
17 Then God assigned a huge fish to swallow Jonah. Jonah was in the fish’s belly three days and nights.
It’s interesting to see that even in the midst of the storm and in the presence of the sailors who did not worship God, Jonah was called upon to pray to His God. And afterwards the sailors realized that Jonah was the culprit. YOU CAN RUN BUT YOU CAN’T RUN THAT FAR ENOUGH.
ps: On the picture is the Running Pastor Ferdie Cabiling, who will be running around the Philippines next year! Now that man can run far!