Sunday, January 1, 2017

Danger to Bystanders

Danger to Bystanders
January 2, 2017
Jonah 1:15  "Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm."

Recall the story of Jonah and the whale, you remember how his disobedience rendered him into the belly of the giant fish.  Jonah didn't want to do what the Lord wanted, so he tried to escape the plan by running in the opposite direction.  Jonah didn't get on the boat to where he was supposed to be going, he got on a boat to elsewhere.  While on that boat to elsewhere, the Lord sent a punishing storm.  Jonah wasn't on that boat to elsewhere alone, there was an entire crew aboard, possibly ten other men, who all had mothers, fathers, wives, and children. Those men didn't do anything necessarily wrong to wind up in that position but nonetheless they were bystanders to Jonah's decisions.

Jonah's own actions put the lives of those men, and the future of those men's families, in jeopardy.  Jonah's sin didn't just affect Jonah, it affected many others who had nothing to do with the story.  But in the midst of the punishing storm, Jonah revealed it was his own fault the storm was raging around them, threatening their lives.  Jonah told them to throw him overboard and the storm would subside.  The men were honorable and did everything they could to survive and to keep Jonah alive, throwing over their precious cargo in order to save his life instead, but it didn't work.  Jonah didn't have the guts to just jump, he stayed in the boat continuing to jeopardize his life and the lives of those around him.  Finally the men were left without an option, they had no other choice but to throw Jonah overboard.  As soon as they did, the storm subsided and the men got their own lives right with the Lord.  

It is interesting that the men on the boat were innocent bystanders to Jonah's sin, yet they were in jeopardy of death because Jonah stayed in sin.  Jonah could have just repented during the storm but he didn't.  It's sad he didn't have enough courage to simply jump overboard himself; he was a coward in following the Lord's initial instructions, he was a coward to repent of his sin, and was a coward in staying on the boat, putting the other men's lives in peril.  Jonah thought of only himself and it put bystanders in danger.  The only way the story ended well for those desperate around him was to do what Jonah was too afraid to do himself.  That's when the fish finally came into play.  The Lord never intended to kill Jonah but had no other way to finally get Jonah's attention.

The Lord is trying to get your attention at the start of this new year.  While you may not be directly headed in the opposite direction of what the Lord has asked you to do, you are not fully living the Christian life the Lord has asked of you and it is messing with your life and the lives of those around you.  Even just holding out a little is still a sin and it still affects those innocent around you.  Be the man or woman you wanted to be when you were younger and have enough courage to get it right, fully right.  At the start of this new year, you may not have a resolution to change anything significant, but how about your obedience level to the Lord, how about being fully obedient to what the Lord has asked of you.  Your life may not be going well because there is still some sin you've been holding onto; it's time to have the courage to get it right.  No amount of a New Year's Resolution will fix something if your sin is holding your back.  Or maybe your life may not be going well because of those around you in sin; it's time to have the courage to confront them of their sin.  This is the new year when you obey God fully and your life is changed finally for the fullest.  This is the new year when you have the courage to live how the Lord intended for you to live.  Stop endangering your life or the lives of those around you; don't risk someone else throwing you overboard.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Jonah 1, 2 Cor 5:17

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