Summary: Obeying the voice of God the first time you are told
There is much to be said and much to be learned about a preacher named Jonah. God had a message to send the people of Ninevah and the mouthpiece He chose to use decided to go a different way. How many times in my life I have chose to go the wrong direction when God spoke. In the first chapter and the third verse we see that Jonah paid the fare of the ship going to Tarahish and went down into it. Jonah paid his own money to go against the will of the Lord, but this wouldn't be the last wage Jonah pays for his sin. A snowball effect of destruction started upon Jonah as he chose not to listen to what God would have him do. The next thing we see is that the ship has set its course with Jonah in the ships belly. All of a sudden here comes the storm, all brought on by one man's disobedience. Here is a good place to interject and reaffirm that the discisions you make can and will effect others. As the mighty temptest rose and the winds blew contrary to the ship we get to see who the men of the ship call upon in their time of trouble. With the use of the words their gods lower case g we can see that they don't call upon the one true living God. This reminds me of a man named Elijah who stood atop of mount Carmel facing off against the prophets of Baal. In both instances we see a people calling out on a god that fails, and never can or will deliver anything even themselves. But back to Jonah the ship master finds Jonah asleep in the belly of the ship and asks him what meanest thou O sleeper? Knowing that destruction was imminent the ship master (be it last ditch effort, time of desperation, or what have you) he tells Jonah to call upon his God or else they will all perish. Sadly enough sometimes even we as God's people, instead of calling on God first look to Him as a last ditch effort. I will glory God now and say thank God for grace and mercy!!! Jonah is woken up with a huge storm around and panic from the people. Jonah knew he had placed innocent people in harms way, simply by disobedience to the God of Heaven. The men in their desperation ask Jonah what is his occupation, of what people is he, and so on. Jonah gives an answer and that answer is
“And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.”?Jonah? ?1:9? ?KJV??. Now this next part of the story is heartbreaking as a child of God and I will tell you why after the reading of the next verse.
“Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.”
??Jonah? ?1:10? ?KJV??
For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord...... Men that didn't serve Jonah's God, witnessed Jonah running from the will of God. Knowing that the Hebrew were the children of God these ship stewards witnessed a child of God refusing to do what God wanted him to do. The next few verses we witness these men did everything in their power not to cast Jonah over, but ultimately this had to happen to spare the ship and them that were upon it. Fear fell upon the men of the ship and they offered vows and a sacrifice unto the true God once the storm around them became peaceful waters. God can definitely take a negative and use it as a positive to impact His kingdom. I'm reminded here of what God told Jeremiah behold I am the Lord, God of all flesh is there anything to hard for me? Of course there isn't anything to hard for the One who created it all... Jonah was a witness to those mean in one way or another and we know it was a negative witness, yet God still got glory. As the chapter finishes up we find this verse
“Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”
??Jonah? ?1:17? ?KJV??
The Lord prepared a great fish.... It always amazes me the tools God uses to get the attention of man. He used an ass, a burning bush, the list goes on and on. God prepared this fish as God always does for us. God will always equip you for the journey He sets you out on. It's up to us to listen and be willing and allow God to use you. Moving into the second chapter we see a glimpse of Jonah in a place so miserable and so bad, he calls it hell. We see a repentent Jonah that has found what the wage of his sin caused, but he knows where to turn. Jonah turned toward God's holy temple and God heard Jonah's cry. What a beautiful picture of an omnipresent God that if called upon can hear us no matter where we are. Toward the end of Jonah's prayer he says I will pay that, that I have vowed. Had Jonah only listened the first time God spoke, he wouldn't have had to pay for his decision of disobedience with his own money and possibly his own life. As the second chapter closes out we find