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Friday, October 13, 2017

Jonah: A Very Fishy Story

October 13

(Jonah 1:1-17 NIV)  "The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: {2} "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." {3} But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. {4} Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. {5} All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. {6} The captain went to him and said, "How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish." {7} Then the sailors said to each other, "Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity." They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. {8} So they asked him, "Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?" {9} He answered, "I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land." {10} This terrified them and they asked, "What have you done?" (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.) {11} The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, "What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?" {12} "Pick me up and throw me into the sea," he replied, "and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you." {13} Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. {14} Then they cried to the Lord, "O Lord, please do not let us die for taking this man's life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O Lord, have done as you pleased." {15} Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. {16} At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him. {17} But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights."

God told Jonah to go east. Jonah went west. We’ve all done it. Some people are doing it right now. We call it reluctance -- God calls it disobedience. When Jesus calls us and we say, “I’m not sure”, we are really saying, “No thanks.” Our reluctance/disobedience will often bring some kind of storm in life… a storm which can threaten to sink our ship and drown us. As we are going down, we tend to blame God, but most of our storms are manmade. Our decisions put us on the wrong boat, going in the wrong direction, on the wrong sea, with the wrong crew, for the wrong reasons… and we wonder why our life is so stormy. Then, in his mercy, God sends some kind of big fish to get us. If we’re going to tell fishy stories, God will provide the fish. Even in our disobedience, God graciously provides a way for us to do his will. It may appear like judgment, but it is God’s grace. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

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