Friday, November 22, 2013

Jonah 1:7-12

v. 7-12 "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.'"

Casting lots was used to settle disagreements in the ancient world.  Proverbs 18:18 says "Casting the lot settles disputes and keeps strong opponents apart."  The men wanted to know why this stranger had brought calamity upon this ship.  They wanted all the details so they could figure out what happened.  There was only one detail that mattered, Jonah disobeyed God.  This one thing was the reason for this fierce storm that surrounded them.  They knew Jonah was running away since he told them already.  They asked what he had done and his response was that he was Hebrew and worshiped God.  There was no admitting his part in this giant mess just yet.  

If someone asked you what should they do to calm down a violent storm at sea I doubt the phrase "throw me overboard" would come out of our mouths.  Jonah knew that his decisions had put this group of men into danger.  He had no wish to see them die on his behalf.   Only after the lot was case and it fell on him did he admit that it was his fault that this storm had come upon them.  Sometimes we are to confess out loud in front of others before it really sinks into our core.  How can we seek God's love and run away from Him at the same time?  We either have to come before Him fully or we will miss out on numerous blessing during our lifetime.  Jonah knew that he could not run from God.  For us to finally obey we must stop going down the path we were headed, pause to accept His will and be able to think clearly.  Then we can turn off the wide road of destruction and onto the narrow path.  If we want God's love and power in our life we must follow the tasks He lays out before us.  How can we say that we believe in God if we don't choose to follow Him completely?

How interesting that Jonah would choose to give up his live for this group of men who were not Jewish, yet his refused to possibly give up his life for the people in Nineveh who were also not Jewish.  We should not dare to put ourselves in God's place of judgment or we will be the one's judged harshly.  Believing we have the correct view changes when God shines His light upon it so that nothing is hidden in the darkness and only then can we truly see how twisted our view really is.  

We are Jonah when we choose to deny God's will for our lives, our Nineveh is a person, place or group that for many reasons we dislike or think unworthy of God's grace.  The storm is the mechanism that propels a final decision, being thrown into the sea is obedience at any price no matter the outcome.  God is full of mercy and grace, yet can we see it for all the judgments that we are continually putting out into the world. "Your life involves you but is not ultimately about you.  Knowing this allows you to be more willing to relinquish control over your life and yield to the divine intervention."  Priscilla Shirer

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