Read A Lesson from Jonah, by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop at One Place.
1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, 2 "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me." 3 But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
4 The LORD hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. 5 Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep. 6 So the captain approached him and said, "How is it that you are sleeping ? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish."
7 Each man said to his mate, "Come, let us cast lots so we may learn on whose account this calamity has struck us." So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, "Tell us, now! On whose account has this calamity struck us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?"
9 He said to them, "I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land." 10 Then the men became extremely frightened and they said to him, "How could you do this ?" For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. 11 So they said to him, "What should we do to you that the sea may become calm for us?" - for the sea was becoming increasingly stormy. 12 He said to them, "Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you, for I know that on account of me this great storm has come upon you."
13 However, the men rowed desperately to return to land but they could not, for the sea was becoming even stormier against them. 14 Then they called on the LORD and said, "We earnestly pray, O LORD, do not let us perish on account of this man's life and do not put innocent blood on us; for You, O LORD, have done as You have pleased." 15 So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging. 16 Then the men feared the LORD greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows. 17 And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.
Jonah's response to the command of God is very typical of all of ours, isn't it? We run, we hide, but all we really manage to do is jump from the frying pan into the fire. There is much to be learned from the story of Jonah. You may continue the story here. What lengths Jonah goes to in order to evade God's directive! My goodness, but we weave a complicated and unhappy web when we run from God's bidding! Is there a lesson for us in the story of Jonah?
Stephen Arterburn speaks of this today at One Place:
"Look back at the choices you’ve made to try to do things your way. Think about the nights you’ve laid awake with a knot in your stomach, full of fear and anxiety about things that most likely weren’t going to happen anyway. Think about the times you’ve chosen to numb yourself with food, alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping, or something else that wasn’t really the answer you were looking for or needed. When you “sobered up” you felt a little more empty than the day before.
"What Jonah needed to do; what you and I need to do, is to humble yourself and surrender our wills to God. It’s a daily task that will grow a little easier the more you do it. Start today. Don’t go through what Jonah went through. Learn from him."