by Buzz Dahlen
Most people know the story of Jonah and the whale. Most people know that Jonah was swallowed by a whale and spent three days in its stomach. Most people do not know why…
The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD. Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, "How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish." Then the sailors said to each other, "Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity." They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him, "Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?" He answered, "I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land." This terrified them and they asked, "What have you done?" (They knew he was running away from the LORD, because he had already told them so.) The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, "What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?" "Pick me up and throw me into the sea," he replied, "and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you." Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. Then they cried to the LORD, "O LORD, please do not let us die for taking this man's life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O LORD, have done as you pleased." Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him. But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights. Jonah 1
God told Jonah to go tell the Ninevites the truth. Jonah knew that if he told them the truth they would repent. He did not want them to repent; he wanted God’s judgment to come down on them, because the Ninevites were the enemy of the Israelites. Jonah knew that if the Ninevites repented, he would have to change his attitude toward them, he would have to stop hating them.
Many times God tells us to go and do something, address someone, but we are willing, so much so sometimes that we do the exact opposite of what God wants. We do this because we know we will have to change our attitude toward that thing or person.
God will have His way. When we run, God follows and causes storms to arise in our life. He causes out escape to fall apart. He causes us to be thrown over board. Then he provides a way to get us where we are supposed to be. It may not always be the mode of transportation we might have chosen, but He gets us to where we are supposed to be.
What is God telling you to do? What is it that you are unwilling to change your attitude about? Maybe you find yourself in the midst of a storm. Maybe things are falling apart around you. Maybe you feel like you have been thrown overboard. Maybe you feel like you are in the belly of a whale.
All I can tell you is, trust God and do what He wants you to do, not what you feel like doing.
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