Sunday, November 10, 2019

When our desires conflict with God's

Jonah Chapter One

  The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.  

    The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep. So the captain approached him and said, “How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.”

     Each man said to his mate, “Come, let us cast lots so we may learn on whose account this calamity has struck us.” So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, “Tell us, now! On whose account has this calamity struck us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?” He said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.”

     Then the men became extremely frightened and they said to him, “How could you do this?” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. So they said to him, “What should we do to you that the sea may become calm for us?”—for the sea was becoming increasingly stormy. He said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you, for I know that on account of me this great storm has come upon you.” However, the men rowed desperately to return to land but they could not, for the sea was becoming even stormier against them. Then they called on the Lord and said, “We earnestly pray, O Lord, do not let us perish on account of this man’s life and do not put innocent blood on us; for You, O Lord, have done as You have pleased.”

     So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging.  Then the men feared the Lord greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.

     And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.

We have been studying this book in our Sunday School Class.  I see so many parallels to Jesus it's incredible.  However where I see God taking Jonah is where He often takes all of us.  Where He wants to go and it's where we don't. 

We pray for health and healing. Over and over again. God delivers and it through a means we don't care for. So we keep asking. 

There's a story of a person in a flood area. They are praying in earnest for to be saved.  The water rises and rises. A man in a boat goes by.  Asks if they want a lift out of the area. They say no, God's going to save them.  They keep praying after the boat leaves.  A helicopter stops over their house.  Tries to pick them up. They wave it off hollaring that God's going to save them.  Finally the water goes way up and the person dies.  

They face Jesus and are upset. "Why didn't you save me?"

Jesus replied "I sent a boat and a helicopter what more did you need?"

Jonah was very much against the people of Nineveh. He hated them. His people hated them.  Yes He loved God but he hated those people.  Heard a very appropriate saying in a movie. When a man has no room for forgiveness in his heart living is a worse punishment than death. Jonah didn't want what God wanted and he figured going the other way would get him out of it.  The Lord had other ideas.  Not only would He turn Jonah's rebellion into something good, He would impact those on the ship he was fleeing in.  They would, through this experience, turn to God.

Jonah was still obstinate in the belly of the whale.  It was after two days he finally broke down.  He finally understood His Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. 

The people of Nineveh had the change of heart that the Lord hoped for.  It didn't last but that generation got it. Jonah still held out for to see judgment.  It came but not at that moment.  We don't know the rest of Jonah's story but we know He is now in the presence of Jesus. So are many from Nineveh. 

The Lord Jesus still had saved some. The same promises he gave concerning Sodom and Gehmorrah applied here. Enough were found to spare it.

Each of us must choose our thoughts concerning people and obeying God.  We can choose to be rebellious or choose to be obedient. It's in our lap.  The choice is ours.

Joseph could have harbored the same anger and hate as Jonah concerning his brothers but he didn't.  He chose to forgive and to obey. 

So God didn't answer that prayer request in the way you wanted.  Get over it.  Ever consider that there's more at stake than you?  It may be impacting you but it impacts everyone around you.  When an explosion happens it goes out 360 degrees plus upwards.  I have many answers to prayer that didn't come the way I expected.  The end result is God was honored in the way it came out,  not me.

Think about what you are going through.  Is God going to be honored by your actions?  If we are indeed to let our light shine before men that they glorify God because of it then so should it be. 

If God gave us everything we think we deserve, we would be dead.  Because there's no Godly wisdom in what we want. We are selfish and self-centered. 

There is wisdom in what God wants when we leave the choice to Him.

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