I wanted to share a devotion that I recently read from Christine Caines, Living Life Undaunted. It is a bit lengthy, but I found it thought provoking.
“But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that part. After paying the fare, he went aborad and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.” Jonah 1:3
How many times has God spoken to us through His Word and asked us to do something that we did not want to do? Perhaps he asked us to be the first one to apologize to our spouse even when the argument was not our fault, or to take a meal to a sick neighbour when we already had made other plans, or perhaps even to five away a pair of brand-new shoes before we had worn them once?
We seem to be able to readily obey God when it is convenient, or when we like the task or the person that God has asked us to help. But our human nature resists wanting to obey the Lord when we simply do not like the thing he has asked us to do or the people to whom he has sent us.
God had sent to Nineveh, but Jonah so disliked the people of that city that he literally went and paid the fare to sail on a ship going in the opposite direction. It’s easy to judge Jonah for such blatant rebellion, but the truth is we often do exactly the same thing. God tells us to go one way and we choose another. God asks us to do one thing and we do the opposite. God asks us to say one thing and we say another, and on it goes. Before long we are travelling in the opposite direction to where God sent us and are thus totally out of the will of God for our lives.
Jonah had to pay the fare to get on the ship because there is always a price to pay for disobedience. If you want to run from the will of God, you will always find something or someone to help you go the other way. The devil will always make sure that a “ship” will be in port to take you as far away from the will of God as possible. Never forget that the price of regret is always much higher than the price you pay to obey.
Jonah subsequently jeopardized the lives of the other sailors because when we are doing what we should not be doing in places where we should not be our actions always impact others. Eventually Jonah found himself in the belly of a fish and it was in this place of confinement that he cried out to God. It is often in places of great frustration and containment, when we feel trapped and see no way out, that God does his greatest work in us and launches us into our purpose. He needs to bring us to a place where we finally stop running long enough to be still and to hear his voice again.
The good news is that the Word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time. I love that about Jesus, that he always gives us another chance. No matter where you have been, you have a chance to get back on track. If you have been running away from the will of God, let this be the moment that you decide to stop running and come back to Him. Today is a good day to get off the boat taking you the wrong way and get back on course with your destiny.
Nursery/Mini Church Ages 0-5 - Day 4
Kid’s Church Ages 6-11 - Day 2
Pre Teen 12+ - Day 2