In 2 Kings 14:25, we are first introduced to Jonah, as a prophet, one that was for sure part of the privileged society. He is the prophet that was instructed how to restore Israel’s borders. Jonah’s faith in God was great and he was being used to restore Israel to her glory. Jonah listened to the Lord because it was part of his plan, too. Now fast forward a little bit, we have Jonah, living the good live, country restored, well-respected, probably a bit wealthy, and it seems still prophesying. I can almost picture him, living the good life, everything is running smooth, he’s content, then BAM! God comes in and says “Go to Nineveh and preach against them.” God wants Jonah to leave his comfort, his contentment, and go to warn these enemies of his, these Gentiles, to save them. Jonah had to be thinking, wait Lord, I’m an Israelite, and you want me to go and preach, to warn, the Gentiles, our enemy. I will be seen as a traitor to my people, I will not be respected, maybe will even be killed by the Ninevites for being an Israelite. Look at where I am, where you have led me now you want me to leave all this for them.
How many times do we feel content with life, comfortable and then something happens that just turns things upside down? We become agitated and angry at the interruption of our “good life.” This is what we know of a “crossroad”, a time in life where we have two choices and we must choose which way we will go. There are many of these times through the seasons of life, and we read many of them through the Bible. Beginning with Adam and Eve, when they fell into the serpents snare and choose to eat the forbidden fruit. Noah’s crossroad was when he was called to build an ark. Gideon when he was told to leave behind thousands of men to go to a battle with only three hundred. Paul when after being blinded was told to go to into the city. There are so many crossroads that we all face. Will we as Christians see these choices, we are not able to see the ending like in the Book of Jonah, but we do know that God can and will do extraordinary things with ordinary people, will you see it as a distraction or an invitation?
So here we are, Jonah has been given an invitation to save a whole city of people, and however, he does not see it that way and runs. He begins his journey down, trying to get as much distance between him and Lord as He can. I mean if God is up, than down must bring Him further away right? That is so wrong, but that is what happens, the Lord leads, we run. We try to continue to do things our way and the storm begins! We get blown and tossed in the winds of our lives as we try to stick to what we want and not what God has given us to do. It causes panic in us, our families, and our homes, just like the whole crew aboard the ship. We cannot understand why and maybe we feel like God owes us an explanation or something. As we try to fix things our way “tossing cargo overboard” changing things, making new vows, we still continue to move away from the invitation of the Lord. Then just like Jonah, we sleep, we may still function but it is like sleep walking. We just truck on through the storm with our face in the clouds like our eyes are closed and our mind are in dreams.
As Christians, nonbelievers look to us to see how God works in our lives, just like the captain came to Jonah. They want to see the joy that following God should bring into our lives. We get the honor of participating with God and His divine plan for us and those we come into contact with. We must leave room in our plans for the “word of the Lord” to reshape us and move us into His will. Even if it means facing our Ninevites, our failures, dislikes, or is against what we already have planned. When our lives are interrupted by God we need to face these like privileges, God does not need us, we need Him. His will, His plan will be done, oh but what a privilege that we get to be his hands and feet in this world. Think of it this way, you were handpicked, pointed out by God for a purpose, you were choose to do this task and God does do extraordinary things and wants you to be His partner. Will you except?
The story of Jonah is so extraordinary, I have written pages and pages on the lessons that God teaches in this one short book. When Jonah was ask about who is was, where he was from and why this trouble was happening? Jonah’s answer was about God and His beliefs, how he was running from the Lord and the storm was His fault. What would be your answer? Do you hold your significance in your past, in your family, or in any other worldly procession, like money? I hope not, because our significance, the one thing that we can hold on to forever, for eternity, is what mark we leave that leads others to God. Read out loud, “MY NAME IS ________________. I AM A CHRISTIAN. I SERVE THE ALMIGHTY GOD, THE CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH. We were made for God, and as children of God we are led to be in His will, all others paths cause storms and cause others (nonbelievers) to doubt and panic. We must say what we mean and mean what we say, and when we say, “Lord, not my will, but yours” we must stand behind those words and not ignore the will of the Lord.
Jonah’s storm got so bad, that He wanted to just be tossed in the sea. He was just ready to throw in the towel, to quit. I know for me when I get into a rut, I can get the feeling of quitting. This is hard to talk about but I can remember a time when I just wanted out of my marriage or wanted to send my children to live with their father, when times got hard. Thank God he has delivered me, He has opened my heart. However, it was not without a fight. I was hard-headed and not wanting to be led in a different direction. Ladies, let me tell you about the love of our Father. He fought me, toe-to-toe, I was like Jacob, but God won. Oh, Hallelujah, God won! I still face storms but God is my refuge and on Him I depend. Ladies, it’s not over, the towel is not thrown in and the Lord is ready to fight for you, too!
You have a purpose and you were created for a reason, by God, for God! Our lives are God’s story not our own. Can others see God through the story of your life? We must give God priority, willing to change course when He leads. God’s plan for you does not change; He will keep leading you in one way or another back to His plan. He will even fashion a fish to swallow you up, if that is what it takes. Even if we do not like the plan, it is written and heaven is coming, no matter what you choose to do! God has given each of us gifts and He gives each of us a chance to use these gifts for His will? What gifts has God given to you? How have you use these gifts to bring glory to Him, or have you taken ownership over your abilities? Jonah wanted to own his prophesying he wanted to control his God-given gifts? However, in every one of our stories, no matter how much we try to make ourselves the main character, the owner of our stories, we are not! God is the main character, He owns our gifts, it is our job as His children to manage them, and as managers we must follow where He leads. God has sacrificed for us, isn’t his sacrifice and his promises enough? God will go to all lengths to bring you into His will, but hasn’t he done enough? Do you need a fish too, because as you can see he already has done it and can do it again!
- What are we doing, and what can we do, within our community and our
own church to help promote helpful and beneficial fear of God?
- What insights have you gained from this passage that you are going to
take away and seek to put into practice?