But the LORD sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. Jonah 1:4 (NKJV)
Jonah did just about everything a person can possibly do to avoid the call of God on his life. When he heard the voice of the Lord say to him, “Go and preach to the people of Nineveh,” Jonah fled for Tarshish instead:
Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish…found a ship going to Tarshish…paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish... (Jonah 1:3 NKJV)
That’s the equivalent of living in Detroit, being told to go to Washington D.C., and going to San Francisco instead! Also, traveling somewhere by sea in biblical times was a serious risk because the art of shipbuilding was nowhere near where it is today. So when the Bible tells us that Jonah boarded a ship for Tarshish, it speaks of how committed he was to stifle God’s call on his life.
Watch what comes next, though: “But the LORD.” We all know what happened. Jonah never made it to Tarshish. God wasn’t about to let his man off the hook that easily. He sent a storm that led to Jonah being thrown overboard, and then sent a great fish to swallow him. And it was there, in the belly of the fish, that Jonah finally submitted and yielded to God’s call on his life.
Don’t miss the turning point in the story. It was the “But the LORD” that really reversed the flow of Jonah’s life. He did everything he could to avoid God’s call. And yet, God’s relentless pursuit became a deciding factor.
We may be running from God’s call on our own lives, but take note: He has a way of relentlessly pursuing those He’s called and putting them in a position to answer His call. It may not involve a giant fish, but it will involve the One who has a plan for our lives and is committed to seeing us experience it.
Think About It…
What does this passage reveal to me about God?
What does this passage reveal to me about myself?
Based on this, what changes do I need to make?
What is my prayer for today?
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17 (NKJV)
Consistency breeds security. If you're an employer, you take comfort in knowing that you have consistent employees working for you. If your car needs to be fixed, you're going to take it to a mechanic who has consistently performed well. And if you're a coach, you'll probably draw up a play at the end of a tight game that puts the ball in the hands of your best and most consistent player.