Scripture Read: Jonah 1 - 2
Title: Jonah and the Great Fish
(H) Highlight verse: "But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from presence of the LORD." Jonah 1:3
(E) Explain: Jonah is a tale of struggles and disobedience; the struggles of giving up selfish desires and giving in to God’s call on our lives. It is about the struggle of living according to our ways verses God’s ways. Jonah is like many of us in so many ways. He was a chosen prophet who was called by God to do something that he didn’t want to do and he simply refused to do it. In other words, he was a disobedient, stubborn ole man who had no interest in leaving the comforts of his home (his bubble) and going to a city and telling them to repent... or else.
In the opening verse, Jonah is commanded by God to get up and go to Nineveh (an evil city) and give them a warning of His impending judgment. This was a problem for Jonah because he didn’t want to go. As we will soon see, he flat out refused to go. God was calling him to action… He said, “Get up Jonah, and go!” God was about to mess up his life, so to speak. Suddenly Jonah’s uneventful and ordinary life was about to change. He didn’t like this, so he did get up, but he ran away from God.
(A) Application: Running from God is pointless, but I think we can sort of understand why Jonah did. The good news is that God, in his mercy, understood why he did what he did; as I believe he understands our struggles and reservations to doing what he has called us to do. But the best part is God will always give us the tools we need to accomplish the difficult tasks he sets before us. God isn’t going to change his plan just because we refuse or rebel.
We will never know true freedom and we will never fully understand God’s plan for us unless we make the effort to get out of our bubbles and be willing to go where God calls us. Some of these places or callings may be scary, dangerous or just plain uncomfortable. But the point of this passage is are you available to God when He does call you? Are you willing to go and do for His Kingdom? Are you willing to abandoned your comfortable and safe life in exchange for following His will?
(R) Respond: LORD, may I be willing to abandoned the safety and comforts of life in exchange for following your will?
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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