Have you ever read the book of Jonah? (I encourage you to read it). The Lord commanded the Prophet Jonah to go to the city Nineveh and preach. Nineveh was a wicked city (probably just like our world today). But Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh because he believed that if he went there to preach and saved the people they would come back and overturn Israel. Jonah was from Israel and it was Nineveh’s greatest enemy. So Jonah decided that instead of doing what the Lord wanted him to do, he would run in the opposite direction and head to Tarshish. Tarshish was a place where God had yet to reveal himself to the people. Jonah thought that if he ran away there he would be getting away from the Lord, his people, his assignment, and his calling that was placed upon his life. (I need you to stay with me; I believe that describing this story will bless someone on today). Jonah did not want to risk his connection to his people, to save Tarshish. So Jonah goes to Joppa to get on a boat that would take him to Tarshish, but while on the boat a great storm came. Jonah knew that the storm was from the Lord, so he decided to get the men on the boat to throw him over. (The things we will do to get away from our assignment). But see just when we think we have done everything to keep us away from God’s will for our lives, a big fish swallowed Jonah. Jonah stayed in the belly of the fish for 3 nights and 3 days. Jonah finally repented of his sins and God allowed the fish to vomit (Jonah 2:10 NIV) him onto dry land. Jonah then obeyed the Lord’s command, which caused Nineveh to fast and pray, and their city was saved from God’s destructions. (WOW)
Isn’t it amazing what God can do through one person? God shared with me that there are so many people that he has called to change the world today, but like Jonah so many are running, and some people think they are running but they are stuck. Stuck just like Jonah in the belly of the fish! You are wondering why things have not come together. Many of you are wondering why you cannot get a break. But God is saying that you are stuck in a NASTY situation because you have not done what He has commanded you to do. Some of you are thinking, I cannot imagine being in a fish’s belly, but only if you would open your eyes you would realize that your situation is WORSE! See it only took Jonah 3 days and 3 nights to realize that he needed to pray and repent of his sins and go do God’s will for his life, but some of you have been stuck in the fish’s belly for 3 years and 3 months.
But God brought us together on today to say, Stop Running, Stop being STUCK, and REPENT!
Jonah 2: 1-2, 9
From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. He said:
“In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.
But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD.”
So on today if you are like Jonah, scared to let down your people (many of you are stuck because you are wondering what others will think if you do what God has called you to do). If you are running, remember that God is EVERYWHERE! Jonah did not want to do what God had commanded him to do so much that he tried to drown himself. But God needed him so much that he SAVED him with the fish. And I hear God saying that so many people are trying to do anything to get so far away from God. God shared with me that someone who will read this has contemplated suicide; all because they are afraid to do what God has called them to do!
I encourage you to spend time with Jesus on today, while you are in your HORRIBLE situation. I hear God say, that once Jonah repented he was removed from the fish’s belly INSTANTLY! And I believe that God wanted someone to hear that, to know that if you repent, he will remove you INSTANTLY!
But after Jonah was instantly removed, he immediately did what God asked him to do and the city was SAVED!
God can do wonderful things through you; maybe he did not call you to save a city. But maybe through your obedience your FAMILY will be saved. Through your obedience maybe your FRIENDS will turn away from drugs. Maybe if you are obedient your enemies will be saved (yes we should want them to be delivered too).
So will you pray and ask God to forgive you for running today?
God, we come to you just like Jonah in the belly of the fish. And we ask, Lord, forgive us for running from you. For disobeying your commands; for refusing to do things that you have instructed us to do! God we know that you are the true and living and God. Lord, we know that you have called us for such a time as this. ON today, just like Jonah, we will make good what we have vowed to do for you. Lord, we ask that you give us strength and courage to do your will. We know that through this courage we can change our families, friends, relationships, enemies, church family and whomever else you have called us to minister to. Lord, we will continue to give your name all the honor and all the praise. In Jesus name! Amen!
Heading to Nineveh,