Summary: As believers we need to realize the dangerous position in which we put ourselves when we decide to reject God’s will and run from His plan.
What Happens When We Run – Rejecting God’s Will
Attention: I had neatly folded my clothes, at least as neatly as an eight year old could have, and I had placed them in a little bag. I headed to the kitchen to get some food and then out the door I went. You see, I was running away. I felt that I was doing more chores than my brothers and I certainly couldn’t understand why my friends got paid do their chores but I didn’t. So I decided to run away. And so I headed out the door and began to walk and I walked and walked for about 100 yards and started to realize I had made a mistake. So I turned around and went home. Sometimes the comforts of home are not appreciated until they are no longer around
Need: Perhaps many of you also experienced a similar episode in your childhood or your children have tried it. But I think we all reach points even now when we wish we could just run away. For one reason or another the pressure of life gets more than we think we can handle, stress at work, at home, with family, etc. But it is also true that we often run away in a spiritual sense. We find ourselves in situations where we feel led to act a certain way or perform a certain function God wants us to perform yet we run. We decide to ignore God’s request on our life and we head out in our own direction. However, when we get down the road there is always that moment where we realize we’ve made a mistake. And the key is whether or not we decide to turn back.
One of the best examples of a person running from God is the story of Jonah. Turn with me to Jonah in the Old Testament. It is a fascinating story that most of us know because it is the story of a man being swallowed by a fish. Now many modern day scholars don’t believe this was a real story but a parable. And like in most cases, they just can’t believe the supernatural. However, I believe Jesus clearly teaches this story as true by comparing Jonah’s time in the fish with his time in the grave. So that is proof enough for me. For the next four weeks we’ll be in this book and gleaning some valuable lessons about loyally following God’s desire for our lives. In chapter 1 we have the story of Jonah running. I believe it reveals some important principles about what happens when we reject God’s will. So what happens when we run from God? This text gives three results of running from God.
This sermon this morning is for the runaways. For those of us who have tried to throw off the hand of God in our lives and plow our own course. Take time this morning to discern where you are. Are you running from God?
1. When we run we reject God’s call (1-3)
Explanation: It was a day just like any other day. Perhaps the prophet had just woken up from a nights sleep only to hear the voice of God. Shaking the sleep off and trying to concentrate he thought he heard God telling him to go to Nineveh. Jonah quickly sized up the situation and realized that Nineveh was the last place he wanted to go. Those people were the sworn enemies of the Jews and they didn’t deserve God’s message. So he got up packed a bag and headed for a ship to go to Tarshish. Instead of going to Nineveh which was about 500 miles east of Jerusalem, he tried to go to Tarshish which was about 2000 miles west of Jerusalem. By running away he was rejecting the call and will of God for his life. Jonah was not dumb or ignorant. I do not believe he actually was trying to run from God. What he was doing by running was telling God no. He would not go to Nineveh but go the opposite direction. It was not a running from God but away from God’s call. He did not want to go where God told him to go mainly because he disagreed with God’s assignment. But his running was a second step because in his heart he had already disobeyed God. When we run we are telling God no and rejecting His call on our lives.