14. Wherefore they cried unto Jehovah, and said, We beseech thee, O Jehovah, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood; for thou, O Jehovah, hast done as it pleased thee. 15. So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea; and the sea ceased from its raging. Jonah 1:14-15
As I was spending time with the Lord, He gave me the above mentioned scripture out of Jonah.
He began to tell me, if we know we are obeying God and yet there seems to be storms all around us and the sea is raging we must see who is in the boat with us.
2. Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. Jonah 1:2
God had commanded Jonah to go to Nineveh to release a word of warning. Jonah, however, did not want to obey God and began going in the opposite direction of where God wanted to send him. He hopped on a boat to a completely different destination.
We find in the case of Jonah, and I believe with anyone who is called of God, it is not so easy to disobey the command of God.
3. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of Jehovah; and he went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of Jehovah.
4. But Jehovah sent out a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. Jonah 1:3-4
God pursued Jonah in the storm. Jonah’s self-will brought God’s storm into the lives of those on the boat with him.
So I’ll ask you are you going through a storm that God is pursuing YOU in? Or, do you just happen to be on the boat with someone He is pursing?
Either way you have to determine what needs to be done to stop the storm. In Jonah’s case, he had to be tossed overboard. Basically, everyone had to abandon Jonah and leave him to God. You can run from God, but God has plans to get your attention if you do. How about some down time in the belly of a great fish?
17. And Jehovah 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
Our human emotions in a storm situation can get us all killed. The people on the boat with Jonah did not want to abandon him. Jonah insisted they throw him overboard. He knew it was because of him everyone else was in the storm. When the men on the boat cast lots to inquire of the Lord, the Lord told them who the source of the problem was.
7. And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.
When the Lord shows us in the storm the source of the problem, we must obey God and turn the individual who is the source of the problem back to God. We can not keep them in the boat with us, or we will perish with them.
Interestingly enough, Jonah didn’t perish when the men threw him overboard. God immediately stopped the storm and took over Jonah’s care. He incarcerated him for a few days, with the bones of this great fish acting as his jail cell, and then had him spit back out onto dry land. He didn’t get spit back out into the ocean. He got placed back onto dry land where he could get his footing again.
1. Then Jonah prayed unto Jehovah his God out of the fish's belly.
2. And he said, I called by reason of mine affliction unto Jehovah, And he answered me; Out of the belly of Sheol cried I, And thou heardest my voice.
3. For thou didst cast me into the depth, in the heart of the seas, And the flood was round about me; All thy waves and thy billows passed over me.
4. And I said, I am cast out from before thine eyes; Yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.
5. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul; The deep was round about me; The weeds were wrapped about my head.
6. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; The earth with its bars closed upon me for ever: Yet hast thou brought up my life from the pit, O Jehovah my God.
7. When my soul fainted within me, I remembered Jehovah; And my prayer came in unto thee, into thy holy temple.
8. They that regard lying vanities Forsake their own mercy.
9. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that which I have vowed. Salvation is of Jehovah.
10. And Jehovah spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
What were the weeds that were wrapped about Jonah’s head, all the thoughts and worldly images (greed, lusts, perversions, drugs, alcohol, idolatry, people) that prevented him from yielding to God; selfish, rebellious behavior that continuously fought against God. God had to get Jonah into a quite place, a place that would be a sensory depravation center; a place that would cause him to faint and cease from resisting God. Then Jonah, remembered God. It wasn’t until God cut off everything else in Jonah’s life that He was able to get Jonah’s attention. God had to allow the affliction in order to get Jonah back on track and pointed in the right direction. Jonah had to acknowledge that salvation is of Jehovah. We can’t do it ourselves. We can’t run away from God. He will pursue us.
So I’ll ask the question again, are you being pursued by God as a storm or are you on the boat with someone who is?
If you are just on the boat, separate yourself from the person who God is pursuing and toss him into the raging sea so God can rescue them.
If you are the one running from God, what kind of storm will it take for you to throw yourself into His hands? To finally recognize He is the only one who can save you from your mess? Let me tell you, God has a way of getting our attention when He wants it.
Listen, there are storms that come from being righteous and then there is God in hot pursuit of us. If you have people praying for you, watch out. We know where we stand with God. We may be able to fool others, but we can’t fool ourselves or God.
Are you sitting in a jail cell right now? What is the storm that brought you to this place? Did people try to intervene in your life? Did they try to warn you? Did they tell you, you were heading in the wrong direction? Yet, you weren’t going to be told what to do. Being headstrong, defiant, rebellious and proud got you where you are right now. That’s what Jonah was. The scripture says “they that regard lying vanities Forsake their own mercy”. God created the circumstances that got His attention. But when you continue on in the deception you give up your right to receive God’s mercy on your behalf. You can be mad at God or repent and recognize you are fortunate that the God of all creation loves you so much to pursue you. He loves you so much that He will not allow you to miss what He has for you. It’s time for you to humble yourself before the mighty hand of God. Stop fighting God and start yielding to Him. He is love. Everything about God is love, even His storms. He sees you as who He created you to be. He wants you to see yourself that way too.
What should you do next? You can’t use God as a “get out of jail” free card. He knows when you truly mean what you say; it comes from your heart. Jonah cried out to God and repented. God is Holy; He is righteous, Awesome and All-powerful. He could squash us like a bug if He wanted to, but He doesn’t. He created us for His good pleasure, to bring praises and thanksgiving to Him; to have a relationship with Him. Not as some distant Unknown God, but as a personal Father. A Father, that loves us and wants us to personally know Him. A Father, that hears our prayers and cares what we have to say and what is going on in our lives. A Father, that speaks to us and wants to reveal Himself to us.
God is worthy of our love, affection, obedience and loyalty. You were placed here on this earth for a purpose, a purpose God created you for. Only He can revel to you what that is. It’s time to awaken from sleep. It’s time to awake to your call, your purpose and your destiny. Awake! Awake! Awake! O sleeper, Awake!
Repentance is recognition and turning away from your sin. You first have to recognize that your life is filth before a Holy God. He can not even look upon it. Then you ask Him for His forgiveness from your sin. You accept that Jesus went to the cross and shed His blood to wash away your sin so that you may come before a Holy God. Then thank Him.
How do you know if you have received the Lord’s salvation? His peace will flood your being. You will fill clean. You will not want to participate in sin anymore. You will suddenly want to know everything you can about your Loving Father.
Lastly, ask Holy Spirit to fill you. He will lead and guide you into all Truth. He is the spirit of Truth. He will comfort you and teach you. Get a bible, before you read it ask the Holy Spirit to show you what it means. Now you are on your way to finding out who you are and what your purpose and destiny is. Holy Spirit will reveal it to you as you spend time with Him.