Per my promise, you are about to embark on a journey that I took during this past Lenten season through various books in the Bible. Although Jonah was next to the last book during the journey, I shall begin sharing the things I learned here first and work my way backwards and then finish up with the end. You know me… I take the less traveled winding road to gain a better insight. So let’s start from mid-end. 😛
Most of us have heard the story as a child. God tells Jonah to deliver a message to the city of Nineveh. He flees from God by boarding a ship going to Tarshish, which was in the opposite direction of Nineveh. While aboard the ship, he sleeps below the deck and a sea storm is raging. Sort of like on Gilligan’s island when the “tiny ship was tossed”…. God sent a storm raging in the sea that tossed the ship to and fro. The other passengers on the ship became afraid and started praying to their gods. No such luck in stopping the storm until they asked Jonah to pray to his God to save them. Lots were cast and the lot fell on Jonah. Jonah was cast into the sea and the sea became calm. He ended up in the belly of a great fish, was spit out upon land after 3 days, repented and delivered the message from God to the people of Nineveh.
- Compass- (n) – a device that is used to find direction by means of a needle that always points north: something that helps a person make choices about what is right, effective, etc.
- Destiny – (n) – : what happens in the future: the things that someone or something will experience in the future: a power that is believed to control what happens in the future
- Rend- (v.intr) – to perform an act of tearing or splitting: to become torn or split: to come apart
Lesson 1 – We allow our compass (our heart and mind) to direct us according to our will, not God’s will. We as Christians cannot travel two different roads at the same time when serving God. The Holy Spirit revealed to me something deep. Every event in the bible gives us an example of people choosing between two roads (paths)….one towards God and one away from God. There are no in between roads my beloved ones. Let your compass direct you to take the road less traveled to God and make all the difference in your life and others when it comes to serving God.
We as children of the Lord have a habit of fleeing in the opposite direction when we receive direct instructions from God. In this day and time, God speaks to us directly via the Holy Spirit. You know the Helper and Comforter that Jesus sent? He that translates our prayers to God? Yeah…that Holy Spirit! We have a habit of taking the more traveled road leading away from God and are easily led to follow the directions of others. We…yes you and I, have a wobbly directional destiny compass. Think about this before going in an opposite direction leading away from your destiny. As a Christian, we are supposed to stand out from the rest. People should be able to see a distinction between those who serve God the Creator of all beings and things, and those who do not serve Him. Amen? Weren’t the people on the ship who prayed to their gods able to make the distinction between their gods and Jonah’s God? (v. 6) (TYHS) Why do you think God refers to you, me, we, they, as “My People”? As a Christian, do you think God wants you to live an eternal life in hell? Those who are faithful and that reverently fear Him have nothing to worry about when traveling the road towards His destiny for you.
Here’s proof in the pudding, if you can’t find an answer from deep within and be sure of where you will end up.
(The Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people.) So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.’ Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.
Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name. “On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.
Lesson 2 – I have learned that it takes others (both Christians and Non-Christians) seeing God in action with others in order for them to “rend” their heart to Him. I use to think that seeing Him work in my life through answered prayer was enough for me. I guess I didn’t pay close attention to the effect it not only had on me, but on others also. Now I know. God is The Master at getting your attention to turn towards Him in order for you to receive what He desires for you, i.e. life more abundantly. (Read Jonah1:6-16) Storms, regardless of its tenure or endurance are necessary to get our attention. Take Noah for example, and he was a righteous and blameless man per Genesis 6:9. (TYHS)
My entire journey revolved around me rending my heart to God. (Joel 2:12-13) My heart needed to be torn apart to get to the inside of all matters concerning me and how I relate to various people in the Body of Christ, family, enemies, and friends; to understand what I truly needed to do concerning self and my relationship with Him. My desire was for Him to have mercy on me; to remove me from certain situations, tasks, and job; to let me know what my destiny is according to His will and to prepare me both mentally, emotionally, and financially; to see through others more clearly by their actions (not judge) so that I may unyoke myself away from and pray for those more zealously who practice fake-I-tis while claiming to be a Christian; to be more honest in my communication with others and not leave anything out that cause me to appear as telling lies( I’ve learned that lies of omission are still lies even if it is not intentional or information shared is misunderstood); teach me how to deal with non-communicative people when communication and feedback is needed from others in order to accomplish tasks or to know where one stands concerning me; and to listen and hear more clearly when the Holy Spirit is speaking through others who have put their destiny in His hands and those that faithfully desire to serve Him.
The truth is that we don’t pay much attention to the paths we choose, even those who are followers, shepherds, leaders, or teachers of the WORD. Nor do we realize most of the time beloved, that WE are indeed fleeing God when choosing a path not destined for us. God doesn’t just choose you to follow a path to benefit just you. His desire is for others to turn to or return to Him. He desires ALL to be saved upon His return. Sometimes it involves you being the messenger.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
The Old Testament Daily News
“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods!
Our Heavenly Father I pray for myself and those who are reading this. Let it be far from us to forsake YOU. When we flee from our destiny and go off in the opposite direction, forgive us and put us back on the right road. From this journey shared, I pray that we now realize we are serving other gods and not you when we choose to flee. Have mercy on us in the comforting name of Jesus. Amen
Before I close, allow me to share with you a poem by Robert Frost that came to mind. I think it’s quite comparative to this lesson.
|The Road Not Taken|
|TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,|
|And sorry I could not travel both|
|And be one traveler, long I stood|
|And looked down one as far as I could|
|To where it bent in the undergrowth;|
|Then took the other, as just as fair,|
|And having perhaps the better claim,|
|Because it was grassy and wanted wear;|
|Though as for that the passing there|
|Had worn them really about the same,|
|And both that morning equally lay|
|In leaves no step had trodden black.|
|Oh, I kept the first for another day!|
|Yet knowing how way leads on to way,|
|I doubted if I should ever come back.|
|I shall be telling this with a sigh|
|Somewhere ages and ages hence:|
|Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—|
|I took the one less traveled by,|
|And that has made all the difference.|
|Two road diverged in a wood, and I|
I took the one les traveled by,
|And that has made all the difference.|