Thursday, February 5, 2015

Runaway Fish Prophet, Part 2

The nasty looking sailor who had collected Jonah's money grabbed him by the arm. Another hand grabbed his other arm, and Jonah saw another, albeit nicer looking member of the crew holding it. Once all the cargo had been thrown overboard, he had slipped below deck before the captain could demand again that he call on the name of his God.

"You've got to come with us. We are going to cast lots." The first sailor said as they dragged him back onto deck. He tried to walk with the men, but they were a good deal taller then him. Combined with their speed Jonah stumbled forward more then walked.

The captain and the other passengers were waiting in the middle of the deck. The captain narrowed his eyes at Jonah, but didn't say anything. The entire crew as well as the other passengers all crowded together to form a large circle. Rain pelted them from all sides, and Jonah was convinced that the thunderous roar of the waves would drive him deaf.

Reaching into his worn cloak, the captain pulled out the dice. One by one, the others were eliminated. Until only Jonah remained.

Accusing eyes turned his way. Everyone started talking at once.

"Tell us why this evil has come upon us!"

"What is your occupation?"

"Where did you come from?"

"What country are you from, and who are your people?"

He cleared his throat. "I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, God of Heaven, who made the sea and the dry land." As he told them his story, the wind and sea seemed to get angrier.

Fear descended on the group faster then the pouring rain. The captain bellowed, "What have you done? You fled from the Lord? What are we going to do to you, in order to quiet the sea?"

Jonah looked out into the raging tempest. There was only one thing. "Throw me in."

Based on Jonah 1:7-12

This is a good example of owning up to your actions, even if it means you get thrown into the ocean.

Hmmm. Thrown into the ocean... Maybe it's better to keep things secret. Keep quit like Jonah did at first, possibly hoping the lots wouldn't land on him.

"Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy." Proverbs 28:13

At first glance, Jonah's decision to tell the truth probably didn't look too smart. I mean, he ended up being tossed into the ocean. And it's not like Veggie Tales where the vegetable man had a little life preserver. He was tossed into the middle of an ocean with no exit strategy. He was literally at God's mercy.

At the hands of God's mercy isn't such a bad place to be when you've messed up.

In 2 Samuel 24 after David had sinned by trying to determine his own might, God gave him the choice of three punishments. David picked that God would punish and judge him. He said, "Let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man."

David knew that God's judgment was better than man's judgment. Even if it doesn't always seem like it. Even Jonah experienced God's mercy. God could have left him in that ocean to die. God could have found someone else who was willing to do His will. Instead He sent a great fish to swallow him whole, and give him another chance to change his answer and his heart. Don't be afraid to go to God. Don't wait. No matter how badly you've screwed up, God still loves you. Having God's love and mercy always outweighs everything else.

V. Joy Palmer

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