As we look at the book of Jonah, starting with chapter 1, we see a man who feared to witness to a group of people called the Ninevites. It is recorded that 1“the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he 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 the Lord.” (Jonah 1:1-3) So at first glance. we see that Jonah was called to witness to a very wicked city, who’s wickedness God saw and was very upset about. However, this was too much for Jonah to do, as he thought. Therefore, he went the opposite direction, even to Tarshish, in order to flee from doing what God called him to do, even from His presence. Now, do you think this worked for Jonah? Absolutely not. It was when he entered that ship is that the waters in the sea began to rage, even to the point of the ship almost being destroyed by a mighty tempest. However, the crew on the ship knew something was up and asked Jonah, 1“tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.” (Jonah 1:8-10) Now, even these nonbelievers knew that Jonah made the wrong decision by running from him. Where people not in the faith can see when we also are running from God and not doing His will.
It was then that the people on the ship tried to direct the ship safely to shore, in order to get out of harm’s way, but were unable to. And then they did something that was incredible. These unbelievers gained the faith that even Jonah didn’t have and began to pray. It is written, 1“wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O Lord, hast done as it pleased thee. So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows. Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:14-17) It is astonishing when nonbelievers come to faith and they themselves become even more on fire for God than people that have been in the faith for years. Think of the men in the boat who prayed and made a sacrifice for God afterward, to people that come to faith and are excited to serve God. Then, look at Jonah and see how he was not excited at all about doing evangelism, for he feared God in a way that he ran from His presence. Wow. My friends, what we see with Jonah is so similar to what we see today. People are not desirous to witness the truths of God with their family, friends, or others on the streets. Doing this puts fear into people’s hearts, so they flee from this calling like Jonah did, instead of running towards God and becoming a willing servant. This happens all the time when people see homeless people on the side of the ride and drive right past them. But this doesn’t have to continue. Be like those on the ship and call upon God and start doing His will today. This will change your entire life, in bringing you closer to God.
Let us pray:
Oh Lord, I pray that You will raise up warriors in Your kingdom. People that hunger for Your words and love to be led by Your hand. I know that this type of person is hard to find nowadays and I pray that You will stir up this type of faith in individuals that say they believe in You. We need more people who are willing to step out in faith and not just keep what they know to themselves. How can we say we believe in You when we are so ashamed to share the gospel with others? As Christians, the gospel of Jesus Christ, which involves the cross and the resurrection, is the power of God which saves us from destruction, as it is said in 1 Corinthians 1:18. We are not ashamed of the gospel, because in it comes Your mighty power. If Your presence is with me, then there is power and great authority from on high. I am grateful to have You in my life, and will never again run from what You have called me to. At first it may seem difficult to stop and share the gospel with people on the streets and even stop and help the homeless, but You are the one that gives us this boldness. Just like Jonah, You were willing to be there for Him, if He would just give You a chance. Praise God, that something happened to him, while he was in the belly of the fish. I just pray that more people will also come to a realization of what they are doing for and against You now. And if there is sin in their life, come and cast it out immediately. Sin is what deters so many people from serving You, and it is very sad that people allow these willful sins to linger in their lives. If people would just live out their lives for You, then they would also gain the gift of the Holy Spirit and no longer fear what people think of them. I love You, Lord. Your ways are true, and I pray that more people will start doing what You say. I give You glory, this day and forever. May Your ways become my ways. Amen.
Let us read the Bible:
Note: Any Numbered References, found above, are listed below.