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January 01, 2024

Ep.1314: Do I Show Up When God Calls, or Do I Run and Hide?

The book of Jonah and standing for God even when we don’t feel like it

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What lessons can we learn from the men on the ship to Tarshish?

What lessons can we learn from Jonah's prayer from inside the fish and how the Ninevites responded to his message?

What lessons can we learn from the plant, worm and wind at the end of the account?

Theme Scripture: Jonah 1:1-2

We all have heard of the biblical account of Jonah and the whale. Because it is so unique and dramatic, it has been an often-repeated story with many lessons - and rightfully so. What many don’t realize is the magnitude of the events and teachings surrounding this amazing circumstance. First, one point of clarification: it wasn’t a whale, it was a “great fish.” When we examine how and why Jonah came to be in the unlikely position to be swallowed by that fish and what happened afterwards, we end up with a powerful story of God’s will versus our preferences. The bottom line here is that Jonah is an example of what NOT to do when tasked with godly responsibilities. However, he’s also an example of what TO do. Let’s unfold this account and see how both of these descriptions can be true.

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Jonah was a prophet of God, and as such, he was bound to go where God told him to go and speak what God commanded him to speak. This was a pretty straightforward setup. You simply do as you are told. There were many prophets before him and many who followed. All of that being said, Jonah had a problem. Actually, he had a lot of problems. God told him to go and preach to the city of Nineveh because they were evil and idolatrous. They were also bullying and taking advantage of God’s chosen people. God told him to tell Nineveh that because of their evil, they would be destroyed in 40 days.

Jonah went in the opposite direction

So, Jonah got up and went. The only problem was, he went the other way. That’s right, he ran away from God and His command. He got on a ship and basically tried to hide from God as he was making his escape. Not to state the obvious, but trying to hide from God is about as effective as a little kid covering their own eyes and thinking you can’t see them. Jonah would find this out in a dramatic way as he ended up in the belly of a fish that God had prepared. No more running, no more hiding.

He was successful yet miserable

Jonah finally did go and do the job that God had commanded. What’s hard to comprehend is how he was so angry at the wholesale repentance of the entire city. Jonah had successfully brought them to honor and worship God, and yet his own emotions and personal hatred for them robbed him of the joy of such a miraculous change.

Check out our January 1, 2024 podcast, “Do I Show Up When God Calls, or Do I Run and Hide?” for more. We dig into Jonah’s experiences along with his emotional and tragic reactions. We examine how God answered these with several uniquely prepared responses. Don’t miss this story! It’s an amazing drama about the enormous inconsistency of human nature and how God can give us the pointed and needed lessons to overcome ourselves.


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