Have you thought about the book of Jonah in the Bible lately? I hadn’t until a recent sermon brought it back to my attention. If you’re looking for humor in the Bible Jonah is full of it in my humble opinion.
The book starts right out with a direct directive from God to Jonah. “Go to Nineveh.”
Jonah knew his geography. Nineveh was east-northeast of modern day Israel. So what would you do if God told you to go east? To stay on God’s good side I’d go east. Not our buddy Jonah. He was apparently one of those strong-willed types.
Instead of walking to where God told him to go he went west and hopped a boat to moved as far away as quickly as possible from those folks who were known to be extremely wicked.
You see, it’s not that Jonah was directionally-challenged, he knew exactly what he was doing. Because he knew the God he served too well.
Jonah didn’t want those heathens to get on God’s good side so he risked getting on God’s bad side just so they wouldn’t not get what they had coming to them, in Jonah’s opinion.
He didn’t wait for a cruise ship, neither. Nope, the first cargo boat pushing off shore was quite all right for our pal Jonah. He pays their fare and collapses down in the bowels of the ship.
Apparently Jonah was so worn out from wrestling with God that a storm at sea couldn’t keep him awake.
In the meantime the sailors on deck were heaving their cargo overboard to save themselves and the boat. That didn’t help much so they all start praying, or doing whatever their personal god required of them, in an attempt to make the wind stop.
Suddenly one of them realizes our buddy Jonah isn’t among the panickers so they commence a search. Cap’n finds our friend deep in the ship sawing logs so to speak. “How can you sleep at at time like this? You told us you were running away from your God, so pray to Him for us to make this wind stop before it kills us all.”
Out of desperation they cast lots to discover who caused this storm. Sure enough, our good friend Jonah gets the credit for ruining everybody’s cruise.
Finally Jonah gets his chance to be a witness for the LORD when they ask him point blank about Him.
Jonah confesses to serving the creator of everything, including the sea and wind. Then he proposes they throw him overboard.
These guys didn’t mind tossing inanimate stuff in the water, but sending a man to his watery grave while he’s still breathing was a bit much for them to stomach. They try to row row row their boat ashore to no avail.
To show how strong of an evangelist Jonah was God has the heathens pray to Him before they toss him in the drink.
I’m pretty sure Jonah was thinking, “at least the Assyrians in Nineveh won’t get preached to.”
Tune in next time to see how God gets His way with strong-willed, directionally-challenged, soggy prophets who try to run away from Him.
So what about you? Are you not doing something God has laid on your heart to do? Is there a need at your church that needs to be filled that you know you’d be good at?
God created you for a purpose, probably many tasks when you admit it.
Take a step of faith and discover where He can use you today. I’m confident writing and speaking are in my near future. In the mean time I volunteered to step in at our early childhood ministries so regular volunteers can take a summer hiatus.
I’ve volunteered for some Easter and Christmas services in the past. God broke my heart in the membership classes when I heard they have to turn families away because we don’t have enough adult volunteers.
I’ve been placed in various age groups over the years doing this. Toddlers seem to be drawn to me in their time of despair. I never would have discovered this if I’d simply sat on the sidelines and prayed for someone else to step in.
Don’t make God take desperate measures to get you to do what He’s asking you to do. Please follow your inner heart’s desire to please God.
Lives are waiting to be changed by your action.
Keep smiling. Wade