WHEN ENOUGH IS TOO MUCH
Have Your way in me, Lord Jesus.
Read Jonah 1
Jonah Flees From the Lord
1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.
4 Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.
But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. 6 The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.”
7 Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”
9 He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)
11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”
12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”
13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.
17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhen do you feel God has asked too much of you? Recall your feelings and reactions.
Jonah saw God’s generous compassion when, as a prophet, he was sent to help restore Israel. God had required Jonah to work with Jeroboam, the wicked and unrepentant king of Israel (2 Kings 14:23–27). Now God wanted Jonah to challenge Nineveh to repent. Was even Israel’s vicious enemy (Nahum 1:11; 2:12, 13) to be forgiven? Surely God was asking too much. Jonah could not stand in God’s presence and disobey. Angry, he left.
So begins the beautiful story of God’s love for all people, demonstrated in His pursuit of both Jonah and Nineveh. Neither deserve, but both need, God’s forgiveness. Note God’s extraordinary compassion towards Jonah – he ran, but God followed. Even Jonah is aware of God’s presence and orchestration of events (8, 9,12b).
At times I too have felt angry with God, feeling He was asking too much of me. My response was different from Jonah’s. However, by maintaining a busy regime that kept God at a distance, I turned away from God just as much. I complained, but didn’t want to hear. Like Jonah, I often need to change. Thankfully, as with Jonah, wherever we run, God follows. God’s patient support lovingly untangles my wrong thinking. Then I see my part in the problem and change becomes possible.
How might you and God be at odds today? Is there something to learn? Know His deep love for you and pray that you will hear Him openly today.
God, it isn’t always easy to obey You, You know how weak I am. Infuse Your strength into my life today so that I can honor You.