In The Word
Read: Jonah 1-2
1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
4 The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. 5 Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep. 6 So the captain approached him and said, “How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.”
7 Each man said to his mate, “Come, let us cast lots so we may learn on whose account this calamity has struck us.” So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.8 Then they said to him, “Tell us, now! On whose account has this calamity struck us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?” 9 He said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.”
10 Then the men became extremely frightened and they said to him, “How could you do this?” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. 11 So they said to him, “What should we do to you that the sea may become calm for us?”—for the sea was becoming increasingly stormy. 12 He said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you, for I know that on account of me this great storm has come upon you.” 13 However, the men rowed desperately to return to land but they could not, for the sea was becoming even stormier against them. 14 Then they called on the Lord and said, “We earnestly pray, O Lord, do not let us perish on account of this man’s life and do not put innocent blood on us; for You, O Lord, have done as You have pleased.”
15 So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.
17 And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.
2 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish, 2 and he said,
“I called out of my distress to the Lord,
And He answered me.
I cried for help from the depth of Sheol;
You heard my voice.
3 “For You had cast me into the deep,
Into the heart of the seas,
And the current engulfed me.
All Your breakers and billows passed over me.
4 “So I said, ‘I have been expelled from Your sight.
Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.’
5 “Water encompassed me to the point of death.
The great deep engulfed me,
Weeds were wrapped around my head.
6 “I descended to the roots of the mountains.
The earth with its bars was around me forever,
But You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God.
7 “While I was fainting away,
I remembered the Lord,
And my prayer came to You,
Into Your holy temple.
8 “Those who regard vain idols
Forsake their faithfulness,
9 But I will sacrifice to You
With the voice of thanksgiving.
That which I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation is from the Lord.”
10 Then the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
Jonah had made a commitment to God to serve Him. However, when the Lord asked him to go reach out to Nineveh, a city known for its sin and cruelty, Jonah didn’t want to go. Instead, he went away from the presence of God. He walked away from his commitment to God and thought that if he ran from God, God would leave him alone. Well, as we have read, God didn’t leave Jonah alone but sent a storm to stop him. Jonah knew that the storm was sent because of his disobedience to God, but he said and did nothing. As a matter of a fact, he went down to the bottom of the boat and went to sleep. Was he hoping that he might wake up and find that the Lord had given up His pursuit to turn him around? Notice that not only was Jonah causing trouble for himself but also to all of those he had connected his life to. God was so adamant about turning Jonah around that He spoke to the idolaters on the ship and pointed out that Jonah was the reason for the storm. The men on the ship threw Jonah over board only to have God send His own method of transportation to get Jonah back on track.
Have you made a commitment to follow Christ? Will you do whatever He tells you to do, or do you try and run from the responsibility of your commitment to God? Do you think that somehow God will forget about what He has asked of you? Don’t wait for a storm to turn around, for you may not like the transportation God will use to get you back on track. Don’t run from God’s presence, but run and go with it.