Monday, November 28, 2011

Jonah, Get Off My Boat!

We all know his story very well and we can read it in his very own 4-chaptered book in the Old Testament section of our Bibles. 

Jonah... and Nineveh. Jonah... and the big fish. Yes, we know him so well who was running away from God and got swallowed by a big fish as a consequence to his rebellion. Yes, I'm talking about that Jonah. The Jonah I want to meet one day in heaven and ask about his short-lived adventure in the belly of the fish. 

However, this post will not be about Jonah's consequences and how important it is for us to realize that we can NEVER run away from the Creator God Himself! I'm here to post about a different perspective that we often overlook when we ponder upon the life story of the son of Amittai.

Seldom do we look at Jonah's story from another point of view and seldom do we take the focus off of him and that big fish that swallowed him. So for this post, I'd like to readjust the spotlight and focus it instead on the mariners that were with Jonah in the boat that sailed to Tarshish.

Why the mariners, you ask? Well, it's because there's something very important we all must understand about rebellion against God. And no, it has nothing to do with sitting helplessly in the belly of a fish for three days and three nights! 

It all started with a simple "No!" answer to God's call. Jonah decided to turn around and walk away from the God He can audibly hear. Jonah decided to close himself up to the calling that God has placed in his life. 

He deliberately REFUSED to listen to what God wanted Him to do. And so the little rebellion is now taking place. His father would have smacked him in the head and reminded him of how BIG His God is, hopefully putting back sense in Jonah's decision-making skills, but we wouldn't read that in the story. And so Jonah boarded the ship to Tarshish as he tried to convince himself that he can flee from the presence of the Almighty God.

Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. 3But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. (Jonah 1: 1-3, KJV)

We all have these moments... deliberate moments of rebellion against God. We all wanted to do it OUR WAY and we oftentimes love to cling to what WE WANT TO DO instead of listen to what GOD wants us to do. And so every so often we are, like Jonah, boarding ships that sail to the other end of the world. And we oftentimes convince ourselves that we can somehow get away from God. 

But rebellion against God doesn't really go unpunished and unnoticed. I'd like to focus more on that "unnoticed" part because we all know what consequence or "punishment" we might find ourselves dealing with in our rebellion against the Almighty Father.

Jonah's rebellion didn't only affect himself. The Word of God clearly gives a picture of what we oftentimes get when someone IS deliberately rebelling against God. 

But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.5Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten itof them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. (Jonah 1:4-5)
Unfortunately, Jonah wasn't the only one sailing to Tarshish when that mighty tempest hit the ship. He was, in fact, just catching a ride in someone else's boat. These mariners allowed Jonah to ride with them to Tarshish. But take a look at what's going on here. 

It was THE MARINERS' SHIP that was on the brink of destruction! And it was THE MARINERS' WARES that were cast forth and sacrificed into the sea! Where was Jonah again? Uhm, the very person who got all of them in trouble had the audacity to go down into the sides of the ship to lay down and be fast asleep. How convenient! Don't you realize that we oftentimes find ourselves doing just that, too, in our rebellion against the LORD? 

We oftentimes have the nerve to just sit down and deliberately DO NOTHING about the sin in our lives and we leave things like it is as we continue with our spiritual slumber! We become INSENSITIVE to the chaos that we're causing other people to experience and we grow numb to the consequence of our rebellion against God!

Now, let's shift gears and focus on those poor mariners. Don't we see this happening in our lives sometimes? We allow people to come into our lives only to be included in the consequence of THEIR rebellion against God! 

We suddenly experience a mighty tempest and we see our lives being tossed and fro and was like to be broken just because we allowed people into our boats who are actually rebelling against God. We find ourselves LOSING OUR peace and losing a portion of what we have just because we've opened our lives to people that shut their ears on God! 

And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. (Jonah 1:7)
Certain evils that are happening in our lives can be a result of other people's rebellion. We should be discerning to know if the troubles we currently face are a consequence to OUR deliberate disobedience or the deliberate disobedience of others around us. 

We must examine ourselves and acknowledge and confess our sin if the rebellion is stemming directly from our own hearts. But we must also ask God to intervene if we discern the rebellion to be stemming from others we invite in our lives. 

We face many tempests in life, that's for sure, but we ought to be mature enough to discern if OUR own rebellion against God is what's causing it, or if we need to ask God to throw out the rebellious spirits off our boat!

If indeed the rebellion is OUR own doing, we ought to be discerning enough to know WHEN to yield to God's call for obedience and stop causing trouble to others around us. And like Jonah, we ought to come to a point in our lives where we say...

"Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you." (Jonah 1:12)

Dear LORD,

Search me and know my heart and see if there is any rebellion in me that's causing others to experience a tempest in their lives. Forgive me for causing others to sacrifice much and to lose their peace for my sake. I confess my sin of rebellion against you and pray that you will change my heart and heal the wounds that I've caused others around me. May your Spirit deal with me alone and form me into Your likeness more today.

I pray that you restore the Peace in the lives of those I've messed up because of my disobedience to you. And I pray that you protect them from any harm that may arise because of me. Protect them and spare them the consequence of my rebellion against You. I accept responsibility and accountability to the sin I have against You, Lord, and I pray that you will restore my ability to be sensitive to your calling in my life. May you restore my walk with You that I may become a blessing to others instead.

I seek only to glorify Your Name, O LORD. May you empower me with Your Spirit that I may bring You only Honor, Praise, Worship and Thanksgiving in all that I do in this lifetime. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Blog Widget by LinkWithin