Scripture: Jonah 1:1-17
When God asked Jonah to go to Ninevah and deliver his message to the Assyrians who were, according to the story, wicked and evil, Jonah was afraid to go, thinking that the Assyrian people would attack and harm him for crying out to them for their evil and wicked ways. Instead of doing as God asked, Jonah chose to run and hide from God, thinking that God would not find him.
So Jonah found passage on a ship with other people and mariners that he did not know, trusting that the crew would take him to Tarshish (Spain) and he would be further from the presence of the Lord.
The Lord became upset with Jonah for not obeying his message and set out to punish Jonah, causing the sea to rage in fury, with strong winds and huge waves making the ship toss around on the sea, frightening everyone. The captian and crew became fearful for their lives. The people who Jonah thought he could trust turned on him and threw him into the sea to please their gods, hoping to make the sea calm and quiet again.
Jonah was immediately swallowed up by a huge fish. In the belly of the fish, Jonah had time to think and, to his surprise, he learned that God loved everyone, not just the Hebrew people. Jonah prayed to God, asking for forgiveness and asking to be released from the belly of the fish.
Getting lost in our own lives and daily activites, we sometimes forget to speak to the Lord. But when we are looking for hope, guidance and forgiveness, we can pray and come to the Lord. At times this has happened to me and no doubt to other people. Not only do we need God, but we also need each other in this life.
So when the Lord asks you to follow a plan of action that He has set out for you, do not be afraid. Do not hide. Do not run away like Jonah did.
By Larry Katzell
O God, thank you for the funny little story of Jonah that contains so much wisdom for our lives. Help us to hear your voice and not be swallowed up in the noise of our world, forgetting you and all that you mean to us. AMEN