Sunday, February 17, 2013

How Far Will You Go?

Why do we run from God?  Why is it that we know what we are supposed to do, but we do the exact opposite instead?  Jonah was a highly regarded prophet of God among the Hebrews in the Old Testament.  God told him to go Nineveh and tell them of their sin and that God wanted to show mercy to them.  He was to share God and urge this city to repent of their wickedness.  Instead, Jonah runs in the other direction, beginning a downward spiral into rebellion against God.

First, he goes DOWN to Joppa and found a ship getting ready to sail out to Tarshish.  Then, he went DOWN into the boat. (1:3)  His purpose in fleeing to Tarshish was to escape from the presence of the Lord according to the end of verse 3.  Then in verse 5 of chapter 1, we see that he goes DOWN to the lowest part of the ship to go to sleep.  When a huge storm rages and the mariners discover that it is because of Jonah, he tells them to throw him DOWN into the sea.  They do and Jonah sinks DOWN into the depths of the sea as the waters billow over him.  DOWN, DOWN, DOWN he goes, sure that his life is over.  Isn't that exactly the way we run from God?  One step at a time, each one taking us farther and farther away from God.  At any time along this path, Jonah could have stopped, repented, and turned back to God's task for him.  But each step of the way he gets deeper and deeper into his rebellion until it seems there is no hope of return.  Chapter 2 verse 2 tells us that Jonah was literally "deep in the world of the dead" (Sheol) in his attempt to flee from God's presence.  

According to Psalm 139:8, however, even in the depths of Hell you cannot escape the presence of God.  God sent the protection of a fish to swallow Jonah up from the depths.  After 3 days go by, and Jonah realizes that he's not dead yet, finally he prays to God and says that he will turn back to Him.  We could spend an entire blog analyzing his prayer, but that's not what I want to focus on today.  I want us to take a look at our life, our marriages, our families, our ministries, our walk with God.  Are you at the beginning of a downward spiral, or are you deep in the pits of Sheol?  Do you spend time feeding yourself with the Word of God every day?  Do you talk to Him on a regular basis?  Are you choosing to love your husband even when you don't feel loved?  Are you spending time nurturing your children?  Do you share God's love with that person that you think is too far gone?  Do you obey God in every area of your life, or are you living life for yourself?  IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO TURN AROUND!  

Don't be a Jonah.  Don't wait until "your soul faints" before calling out to God. (2:7) How much heartache Jonah could have avoided had he simply turned back the ship.  Open God's word right now and start reading!  Talk to God, repent for whatever sins have you spiraling down into the depths.  GET OFF THE SHIP!  God wants to work through you, He has a perfect plan for your life.  You just have to be willing to get off the boat, and turn back to Him!

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