Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, arise, go to Nineveh, that great city and cry out against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me. But Jonah arose 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 down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord – Jonah 1 : 1 -3.
Disobedience is one of the greatest barriers that can take one away from the presence of God. It brings separation between man and God. Jonah thought he can hide or run from the presence of God. There is no hiding place for a disobedience child. How many people are like Jonah today? When God tell you to do something, you will like to do another instead of obeying the instruction of God. Moreover it is a priviledge which one should be happy for. Disobedience can bring lost. Jonah paid for his fare which was wasted because the purpose was not meant.
But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. Then the mariners were afraid and every man cried out to his god and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down and was fast asleep – Jonah 1 : 4 – 5.
No matter our disobedience, when we try to run away from God, He will still always protect us because of His love and forgiveness but that should not give us the right to live in disobedience. At times, His rescue can become a difficulty or problem to the physical eyes but the purpose will come to pass. God sent a mighty tempest so that Jonah should know that he cannot hide from His presence. He was fast asleep even when the ship was almost sinking.
I remember sometime ago, myself and my family embarked on a journey of about four hundred and twenty kilometers (420km). When we were at ninety kilometers (90km) to our final destination, the vehicle we left home with stopped and we were on express road. We parked and prayed for God to take full control of the rest part of the journey. After a short time, we started the vehicle again and continued the journey. Friends, when God is protecting us at times we will not know. To cut the whole story short, the vehicle stopped in another four times more, it was in this last time we changed our prayer and thanked God because we know this is for a purpose. When we move from that point to about five hundred meters (500 mts), we saw a vehicle that just got an accident. One might say it is not because of that accident God used that fault generated by our vehicle to save us from the mishap. The funiest part of it is that we continued the journey and came back home and i still use the same vehicle to run another one hundred kilometers (100km) without the vehicle stopping again after which I took it to the mechanic because I need to change one of the bulbs. God want to protect us if we want Him to. He protected us from that accident not because we are perfect but rather because of His love for us.
So the captain came to him and said to him, what do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God, perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish – Jonah 1 : 6.
Many christians today are sleeprs. God is calling us today to arise and proclaim His goodness and His next coming to this world. We should rise up and take our responsibility. God placed a light in Jonah and He told him to go to Nineveh so that his light can shine there but, he said no. How many people do we tell about the goodness of God a day? That same light is in us today. We don’t have to be like Jonah. The bible says ”let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” – Matthew 5 : 16.
There is a set time and place for our blessing or breakthrough, are we ready to go to that place at the right time God want us to go?
And they said to one another, come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us. So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you? – Jonah 1 : 7 – 8.
Disobedience can make one to inflict punishmet on innocent people. Similar things like this happen today. Many souls has been lost because of the disobedience of one man.
So he said to them, I am a Hebrew and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land – Jonah 1 : 9.
Although Jonah disobeyed God, he was forced to introduce himself to the people because of the situation and he never missed out the opportunity he had again to tell them that he ”fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land”. How are we using the small opportunity we have today to declare the greatness, goodness, the grace and the love of God to those around us in our place of work, in our school, in our social gathering, in our home, street and among our friends? Because the word of God says that ”Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven” – Matthew 10 : 32.
Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, why have you done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. Then they said to him, what shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us? For the sea was growing more tempestuous. And 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 this great tempest is because of me – Jonah 1 : 10 – 12.
When one disobeyed God and the punishment comes, as a child of God, he should be able to discern the reason for such punishment because the word of God says that ”But to Israel he says, all day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people” – Romans 10 : 21.
Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them – Jonah 1 : 13.
The captain and his group tried to have compassion on Jonah because they don’t want to throw him into the sea as commanded by him, but our ways are not the ways of God. God want them to throw him out of the ship because He has arranged a rescue team for him. They could not see the team because God has done it in the Spiritual realm to show Jonah and the people around that He is God.
Therefore they cried out to the Lord and said, we pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man’s life and do not charge us with innocent blood, for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You. So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows. – Jonah 1 : 14 . 16.
They have no option other than to throw Jonah into the sea. Immediately they obeyed, they saw the power of God and they feared Him and offered a sacrifice. God want them to know that He is the controller of both heaven and earth including the sea. Our God is a God of mercy, love, forgiveness and full of grace. Despite the disobedience of Jonah, He still forgive him. God want us to recognise our weaknesses and ask Him for the strength to overcome it. You might say my sins or disobedience is far greater than that of Jonah so I don’t think that God can forgive me. Friends, the answer is YES no matter how great or serious that offence might be, God’s forgiveness is greater than that your sin or disobedience because it is written ” but where sins abounded, grace abounded much more.” – Romans 5 : 20b.
Lord, I thank You for the power of forgiveness, mercy and love. Give us the power to obey Your command no matter how difficult the situation might be in Jesus name.