Sunday, August 4, 2019

Cannot Run

Cannot Run
August 5, 2019
Romans 11:29  ". . .for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable."

The story of  Jonah was, and is, one of the most famous stories in the Bible. While it was not a story, as Jesus believed the recount of the fish tale to be true, there is more to be gleaned than most people realize. Recall that the Lord equipped Jonah to be an evangelist and told Jonah to preach salvation to Nineveh.  Jonah refused, flat out denied the Lord's request and ran the opposite direction. He ended up on a boat toward anywhere but Nineveh and the cargo ship he was on encountered a storm. The storm appeared out of nowhere and was so severe the crew on the shipped realized they may not make it. The crew started to throw all their precious cargo overboard, their livelihood in jeopardy if it did not get it delivered. But Jonah knew; he knew the Lord was chasing him. 

That night on the waters, before Jonah ended up in the belly of the fish, he put the lives and livelihood of those men on the boat in danger. Those men ended up losing their cargo intended for delivery and it was Jonah's fault. But the storm got worse and the men did not know what to do. Jonah knew his disobedience was causing the storm, the storm that put his life in danger and those around him. Jonah understood he was bringing the danger to all the men and the ship. He knew that if he stayed on that boat, that all would be lost. He could have been a hero and jumped overboard to save the lives of those on the boat, but he was a coward. He ran from the Lord and endangered all those he encountered. He could have jumped overboard to save the men and the boat, sacrificing himself, to spare those around him from suffering but he was too selfish. Even easier than that, he could have repented right there on that boat and I suspect the Lord would have calmed the storm. The Lord caused the storm on those waters to get Jonah's attention, but Jonah still tried to run from it. 

The men finally threw him overboard and the fish swallowed him up. Jonah was alive in the belly of the fish, realizing he was being digested alive, likely gasping for air at times. Jonah could have repented that moment, upon realizing he was being eaten alive, but he did not. Jonah had to rot in the belly of that fish for three days before he would repent from his disobedience and agree to follow the Lord's direction and request for his life. Jonah realized he could not run from the Lord and if he tried, the Lord was intent on chasing after him. The Lord's call on Jonah's life could not even be stopped by attempted suicide from the boat's deck. Jonah was content to be eaten alive, death was preferred from repentance or obedience. 

But the Lord did not allow Jonah's attempt at death or the disobedience. The Lord was patient with Jonah in the belly of the fish, sustaining Jonah even though Jonah preferred to end it all, similar to Judas after betraying Jesus. Jonah could not shake the Lord's call, it was irrevocable. Your calling, too, is irrevocable. You cannot out run or out last the Lord. He is patient and willing to chase you to the ends of the earth until you are willing to submit. Jonah could have submitted upon being swallowed by the fish, but it took three days for him to finally come around. Jonah could have even repented on the deck of the boat instead of forcing the men to  throw him overboard. The men on the boat lost their payload in the cargo that was thrown overboard; Jonah's disobedience cost those men a lot of money. Your disobedience does not only impact your life, but the lives of those around you. If there is something you know you are supposed to do for the Lord, it is wise to do it right away.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Jonah 1

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