Read Jonah 1:1-17
Don’t be surprised if sometime, somewhere, someplace, when you least expect it, someone steps up to you and says, “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!”
That was the tag line for a popular TV hidden camera show a few years ago where people were put into crazy situations to see what their reactions would be. The master mind of the show was a man named Alan Funt who, at the height of the craziness, would pop in and say, “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!”
That must have been Jonah’s thought on this crazy day of his. God told him to go to a city whose people he detested and to tell them about God’s love! That was the LAST thing Jonah wanted to do as he was praying for their destruction, not their redemption!
So, what did he do? He thought he could run away from God. Instead of going towards Ninevah, Jonah headed the opposite way, only to wind up on a ship during a terrible storm with a frightened crew who eventually threw him overboard where he was swallowed by a whale!
Cue Alan Funt!
However, there are several lessons we can learn from Jonah’s bizarre day!
- You can’t run away from God! He is everywhere! Psalm 139:7-8
Where can I go from your spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go to the heavens you are there.
If I make my bed in the depths you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me!
Your right hand will hold me fast.
2. God didn’t give up on Jonah and He won’t give up on us either. God had a specific task He wanted done. Jonah, it seems, was the best man for the job. No one else would do. Even though Jonah was rejecting God’s plan for him, God wasn’t rejecting Jonah. He promises to never leave us or forsake us either! He will be there to protect us in the storms of life and rescue us from some bad situations of our own making. Sometimes we have to be “swallowed up”, so to speak, to teach us a lesson. but He will be right there to comfort, guide, and give us strength if we will just seek Him.
3. God works all things for good for those who love Him. Unbeknownst to Jonah, because he was already in the belly of the whale, his reluctant testimony was enough to convert the sailors who were worshiping false gods to the one true God.
Jonah THOUGHT running the other way was all his own plan to avoid going to Ninevah; however, I think God had this detoured route to Ninevah planned the whole time. How else would the sailors learn about God if Jonah hadn’t rebelled and wasn’t on their ship?
What is God wanting you to do? Who does He want you to witness and show His love to? Is it someone you don’t like? Will you do it willingly or will you need to take the “scenic detour” like Jonah?