Updated: Sep 5, 2020
“But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord, He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish…Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once. The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered Him a sacrifice and vowed to serve Him. Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.” Jonah 1:3-4;15-17, NLT
5th Sunday-“Taking Flight But Finding God !”
There are times when the law of unintended effect will bring us to a place where we thought we had avoided. But we end up somewhere God intended us to be. We humans are wired with a “fight or flight” mentality. We realize it is futile to “fight” God’s directives, so we find ourselves “fleeing” from responsibility. This describes Jonah, the reluctant prophet of Israel. Jonah was from a border town in Israel, where his prejudice for others was apparent. When God commissioned Jonah to go and preach salvation to the people of Nineveh, Jonah’s racial animus was obvious. God told Jonah to “Get up and go to Nineveh. Announce my judgement against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.” Nineveh was near the city of Mosul in today’s Iraq. This was a journey of 725 miles, a long trek, for Jonah to preach God’s salvation to a people for whom there was mutual hatred. Jonah quickly decided to flee in the opposite direction some 3,000 miles. Our opposition to God’s proposition, will inevitably cause the Lord to intervene. God induced a violent storm, which threatened to destroy the ship Jonah was on. In the storm Jonah and the ship’s crew realized; he, was the cause of the impending disaster. Jonah repented, was thrown overboard, but God gave him safety in the abdomen of a great fish. Sheltered in this sanctuary, Jonah came to terms with his disobedience. Once freed, he went back Nineveh; he preached, and a city was saved.