Monday, October 31, 2016
Running Away, Reflection on Jonah 1
Things are not going well in Nineveh, but Nineveh is a long way away. And foreigners live there. Foreigners who do not worship the Lord our God.
As far way as Nineveh is, God cares anyway.
The Lord calls Jonah: Go right now to Nineveh. Tell them how wicked they are.
Jonah responds immediately to God's call--by jumping on a ship traveling in the opposite direction.
The Lord does not give up. The ship is caught in a big storm. Everybody on b0ard is praying--to many different gods. They have not had the opportunity to know about the Lord our God.
Jonah sleeps through the disturbance until the captain wakes him up. He demands of Jonah, "Start praying to your God. It might work." The crew has a different solution, "One of us on board must be to blame. Let's cast lots to see who is the cause of this storm."
The lot falls on Jonah. In response to their query, Jonah tells them about the God of heaven, sea, and dry land. And he tells them that he, Jonah, has been fleeing from the Lord.
After some deliberation, they finally consent to sacrifice Jonah in hopes that this act will pacify the Lord. They throw Jonah overboard, but God is not ready to give up on this reluctant prophet.
Questions to consider:
Have you slept through challenges?
Are there groups to whom you are unwilling to approach?
How far are you willing to go--literally or figuratively--to avoid answering the call of the Lord?
Considering how ready the sailors were to believe Jonah, why did it take a disaster for him to speak out? Would they have been ready to believe him without the emergency?