“Tarshish? Yeah, we’re going to Tarshish. What you need us to take there for ya?”
“Just me.” Jonah watched the crew loading crates below deck.
The captain looked at Jonah’s small pack. “You sure do travel light. You have family in Tarshish?”
Jonah shook his head. “No. Just been hankering to visit that fine city. That’s all.”
“Four silver coins will get you there. Five will feed ya, too.”
Jonah pulled out a coin pouch and dumped all five of his coins into the captain’s hand.”
The captain smiled. “Looks like your god has blessed you just enough to get you where you’re going. Climb aboard. We’ll be setting off soon.
The crew finished loading the ship and came ashore for final preparations. Jonah climbed up the plank then went below deck to find a good place to settle in. He found a space between some boxes that fit his small frame perfectly. The rocking of the ship lulled him into a deep sleep.
The captain came aboard and waited for his crew to return. He looked around at his men then kept scanning the group.
“What you looking for Cap?”
“Not what, but who. There’s a guy who paid me to take him to Tarshish. Anyone see a little fella carrying a small bag?”
Everybody glanced around. “No sir. It’s just us here.”
The captain shrugged. “I guess I’m five coins the better. We got a schedule to keep.”
They untied and headed west. As soon as the land disappeared below the eastern horizon the wind kicked up in their face.
“Pull the sails down.”
The crew obeyed the captain’s order.
Waves crashed onto the deck.
“We’re going down if we don’t lighten the load. Start throwing cargo out. Everybody pray to your god or whatever you have to do to get this to stop. This is the worst storm I’ve ever seen.”
The men struggled to get crates on deck to save the ship.
One of them called from below. “Cap, you gotta see this.”
The captain went below deck. “What is it?”
“Is this that fella you was lookin’ for?”
The ship rocked Jonah onto the floor. He looked at the men.
The captain looked at him. “How can you sleep through this? Pray to your god to stop this storm.”
Jonah staggered to the deck and vomited overboard.
Somebody grabbed a bag and some stones. “I have an idea. Let’s see who’s to blame for this storm. I have five white rocks and one black one. We’ll each pull a stone out of this bag. Whoever gets the black one is it.”
They all agreed. Jonah took the first stone out. It was black.
The captain grabbed him by the shoulders. “Who are you? Where are you from? What have you done?”
“I’m a Hebrew. Our God made the sea and dry land, people…everything. He told me to go to Nineveh to pronounce His judgement on them. They deserve His wrath.”
The captain shook him. “We don’t deserve your god’s wrath. What do we have to do to stop this storm before it kills us all?”
“Throw me overboard.”
The captain shook his head. “That’s not an option.”
The ship rocked, then cracked.
“Cap, we’re all gonna die anyway. Let’s try his suggestion.”
The captain looked up. “Forgive us god of the Hebrews for this man’s life. We’re innocent of his blood.”
They grabbed Jonah and tossed him into the sea.
The wind stopped. They watched Jonah sink. A huge fish swam by. Jonah was gone.
“The Hebrew God is real, men. Let’s worship Him.”
You probably thought the story of Jonah was about a disobedient prophet, didn’t you?
I think it’s more about God getting the attention of Gentiles.
The men on that ship sure found God in a big way. So will the folks in Nineveh once God gets Jonah where He wants him.
Running away from God won’t stop His will from being done. It will only delay it.
It will also affect others in the process, sometimes positively, like here, or more times than not, negatively by reaping consequences of turning away from God.
I’ve seen people claim to not feel good about a decision they’re making, but they carry it out knowing it’s against God’s will because they feel a peace about their decision.
I have news for those misguided folks. God’s truth expressed in the Bible trumps all peace we work up to fit our agenda every day of the week.
Jonah thought he would thwart God’s plan by running the opposite direction. When that failed he expected his death by drowning to end the conflict.
God’s will cannot be stopped. He could have used another prophet to carry out His agenda, but He didn’t.
God chose a way that would not only show his control of every aspect of creation, but would also lead to an object lesson about how long Jesus would remain in the grave after His death.
You see, everything worked together to accomplish God’s ultimate plan in spite of Jonah’s lack of cooperation.
Is there something in your life you’ve been fighting God over?
Have you been running away from a task you know you need to do for God’s work to be accomplished?
Is there something in the Bible you don’t want to agree with even though you know it clearly states it’s God’s will?
I hope you know you can’t win over God. He will win in the end if not sooner.
Too many people quench the Holy spirit’s work in their life to fit in with the crowd they run around with.
There’s no better place to be than in God’s will.
Crowds are made up of individuals led by fickle emotions and whims.
God is the Creator who has a plan for every aspect of His creation.
The more people who work with God’s plan the better this whole planet will be.
Turn your will over to fit God’s will.
I’ll see you later. Wade