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“But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord”  Jonah 1:3

“Now the Lord prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah….Jonah prayed to the Lord God…..So the Lord spoke to the fish and it vomited Johan onto dry land”.  Jonah 1:17, 2:1, 2:10

Why Jonah?  Why you?  Why me?  Who knows that mind of God?

I have no idea: why Jonah?  Yet it is clear in scripture, God chose Jonah.  Here’s what else is clear; God was not going to be denied.  Jonah tried to deny God.  It is important that we understand that Jonah knew that he had a calling from God.  Jonah had no ambiguity about whether God wanted him to go to Nineveh; but, even with that calling, Jonah was bound and determined he was not going to go.

Why was Jonah so set against doing God’s Will?  Why did he try to run from God?  Later in this scripture we get a sense of what Jonah’s mindset was.  You see at this point in time; Jonah was not about God.  Jonah was not about the Ninevehites.  Jonah was about Jonah.  God had told Jonah to go and preach Nineveh’s destruction because of their sin.  Jonah was going to go put his name out there predicting the fall of Nineveh.  But we learn that Jonah had his doubts.  For he went and preached God, the sins of Nineveh and their coming destruction.  And what did the Ninevehites do because of that preaching?  They repented.  Starting with their king who took off his kingly robes and sat in ashes and sackcloth, the entire city repented.  So God forgave them of their sins and was merciful and did not destroy the city.  Here’s the interesting thing; God’s mercy really made Jonah angry.  It seems that Jonah was more intent on having the words of destruction happen that he preached then, seeing the Ninevehites hear God and be saved.  Jonah felt he looked foolish.  Now back to the beginning of the story.  Jonah knew that this was a possibility; so he ran.  He ran from God.

Have you ever felt that you’ve run away from God before; or maybe today your trying to.  I know I have.  I know that there have been times and even today where God is calling me to a task.  The challenge is that the task God is calling me to accomplish requires a significant change; and that change the world would look at as risky if not just plain foolish.  So I run. It’s not as if I get on a boat and physically try to flee as Jonah did.  For me it is more as if I try to ignore in my heart and soul what God is calling for me to do.  I try to go on in the worldly way, trying to fool myself into thinking this is the prudent and wise way to be.  Yet like for Jonah, there are storms in my soul.  My entire being, physical, mental, emotional is stressed as if trying to survive a major tempest.  Understand, God has not forgotten, nor forsaken me.  Actually it is just the opposite.  Why He has chosen me, I can not say.  However, He is not about to be denied.  I am the one in denial if I think I can thwart His plans.

So I feel that I am in need of a fish.  To be whisked away by a God sent messenger, without the ability to resist to find myself thrust out, arriving in the place where God intended; at times would seem like such a blessing.  Yet in reading the story of Jonah, I’m not so sure.  Because even though Our Heavenly Father was very merciful with Jonah, Jonah never still really bought in.  At the end of that gospel story, Jonah is still bitterly depressed, sitting in the desert.

Contrast that Dear Sisters and Brothers with Abraham.  He was called by God to do a very risky thing.  However, Abraham did not run from God, he ran to God.  Abraham bought into the word of God and the world could not overcome the Word or Abraham.

Here’s the thing; you, like I, may feel that you are in need of a fish from God.  You may be trying to flee from God and feeling the effects of trying to hide from Him.  You may be wishing, crying out for help, thinking that it might be nice for God to send some sort of deliverance, some sort of vehicle, like Jonah’s fish to miraculously transport you to God’s destination.  Well truth in fact is that we already have a fish, or at least He who is often shown as the sign of a fish to rely on; and that He is Jesus Christ.  For Jesus Christ did not run from God’s plan.  He did not rebel at the thought of coming down to earth.  He did not shy away from dying for our sins and in a similar fashion as Jonah, after three days Jesus Christ returned to be our salvation.

There are many in the world and some within the faith that doubt that the story of Jonah could actually happen.  It is beyond credible that God could bring about the miracle of the fish and allow Jonah to live within it for three days.  Yet I ask which is the bigger miracle; the story of Jonah, or the story of a God who so loved the world He created, even though much of it hated Him, that He sent His Only Beloved Son, to die for His wayward creation, simply so they could live with Him forever.  Which story takes more love, more mercy, more power?

Have you ever felt like you needed a fish?  Thank God the Father Almighty that He has supplied that and all else we need.  Let us not be like Jonah and stay outside looking in.  Let us be like Abraham, David, Esther, John and yes Jesus Christ, saying yes to the calling of Our Heavenly Father and relying on the sacrificial body and blood of the Lamb of God to see us through.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we admit that we are made fearful by Your calling.  We so often find that Your calling is against what the world would have us do and we ask for your forgiveness when we try the world’s answer first.  Pour Out Your Spirit on us Dear Father, restoring our focus on you and strengthening our spirit to follow You.  We are so thankful for what You have provided us; He who is Immanuel, who is shown in the sign of the fish, who as He did to the thousands, will supply every want and need when it seems impossible that could happen.  That in following Him, we would live lives of praise to Your Name we pray.  In the Name of Jesus Christ.  Amen

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