Tag Archives: Hebrew

Running Away with Jonah

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A you familiar with the story of Jonah? Jonah is a short book (four chapters) in the Old Testament in the Bible. It tells the story of Jonah in the days when Nineveh was a scourge upon the earth. Nineveh was the capitol city of Assyria, and they weren’t treating the Jews rightly.

Jonah was a prophet of God, and he was pretty used to hearing His voice. One day, however, God spoke to him to give him a message that he didn’t want to hear. God wanted Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh to tell the people to repent. God wanted them to repent so He could forgive them.

Jonah hated the Assyrians and despised the people of Nineveh. He couldn’t believe God would even consider forgiving a people so evil as they. Jonah was upset. He was willing to give God’s messages to the people of Israel, but he wanted nothing to do with these Ninevites.

He decided that what God had asked of him was too much. He would go just so far for God but no further.

So Jonah ran. He got in a ship sailing for Tarshish in the opposite direction from Nineveh. He figured he could run from God, but God is omniscient and omni-present, so it wasn’t a successful venture.

Out on the sea God caused a violent storm to come upon the ship. The sailors tried to figure out who was responsible for this unnatural storm, and the lot fell upon Jonah. Jonah confessed to his running from God and told them that in order to stop the storm they had to throw him overboard. Jonah knew that being thrown overboard into the ocean would mean certain death for him.

The sailors reluctantly agreed and threw him overboard. Immediately the sea calmed down. As Jonah sank deep into the sea a giant fish swallowed him. Jonah knew he had messed up royally. God had shown him the way to go, and he had not been willing. So, in the belly of the fish, Jonah prayed.

After three days God caused the fish to spit Jonah out on the shore. Then, God called Jonah once again to go to Nineveh. This time Jonah went, although he was still wishing for the demise of his enemies.

When he spoke the word of The Lord to the Ninevites they repented and prayed to God clothed in sackcloth and sitting on ashes (signs of genuine remorse). Jonah went up on a hill outside of town to watch God smite them, but He forgave them instead. Jonah became furious.

Jonah couldn’t see how the forgiveness of God is greater than our understanding. He couldn’t see the plans of God. He was filled with hatred and vengeance toward these people.

Did Jonah ever come around? Read the book and find out.

Lets look at ourselves in the meantime. There have been many times I’ve heard people say that they know God wants them to do this or that, but…

When we know what God’s will for us is, and we reject that will, then He is no longer the King of our lives. We have dethroned God and placed ourselves on that throne. We are very much like Jonah.

The may be decisions you are called to make in life. Will you make them? There are moral choices you are called to make. Will you make them?

We live in an age where the people in most churches live lives very similar to that of the world. When confronted with a direct command from scripture, it is not uncommon for them to say “yes, I know, but…” Is that what God wants of us? No!

The Hebrew writer tells us that if we know the good we should do, and we don’t do it, we sin. Paul tells us in Romans 6 that we are to quit sinning on purpose expecting grace to cover us. Does grace cover us? Yes! But should we abuse that privilege? No!

You are called to live a life like Christ. When faced with the hardest time of his life – the crucifixion – he didn’t tell God he wasn’t willing to go through it. He loves you too much to go against God’s will for him, though we know he really struggled with the pain that was to come.

Look at your life. Find the areas where your life doesn’t match up with the life God has called you to live. Pray to God for help in changing direction. And find people you can surround yourself with that will help you along the way. You don’t have to live like the world. Your witness will be much more effective when you make this change.

May you stop giving God ultimatums. May you follow Him with wild abandon. And may the world watch as you live in joy and peace from knowing God’s love and grace all the more.

If there’s anything I can do for you, or if you would like to comment on this article, then please feel free to shoot me a message at http://www.mrdobbs.org. Blessings to you as you follow Him.

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James Taylor and the Bible

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Have you ever had a time in your life when you felt like life just isn’t fair, and you’re discouraged? Have you ever been faced with a decision where you couldn’t see the consequences of any choice? Have you ever felt utterly alone in this world? Have you ever wondered what your purpose is set out to be; where does God want you to go; what does He want you to do?

I would say that if you answered yes to any of those questions you are extremely – normal.

We all feel that way at some time or another. Today I want to remind you of some promises from God for you as you journey through life.

First of all, remember Abraham. God told Abraham to go, but He didn’t tell him which way or how far. He just told Abraham to trust God, and He would lead him to the place He would give his descendants.

Abraham left. I don’t know if he walked out his tent and went left or right, but whichever way he went was the right way. Abraham was seeking to follow God, and God did not disappoint Abraham by abandoning him.

God gives us the same promise today. Whatever situation you are in, God wants you to know He is with you, and if you follow Him, then you will be going the right direction and doing the right thing wherever you land. God is trying to bring you peace no matter the circumstances.

Let’s look at a few passages that reflect these ideas:

Isaiah 30:21 “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'”

God is trying to show you that He is with you wherever you go. You merely need to be listening for his voice. We tend to worry that we made a wrong decision, but God is affirming you. He is telling you that He is still with you and helping you and guiding you even in your decisions – even after your decisions.

Matthew 6:31-34 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

The secret to finding contentment in Christ comes from a change of focus. If you are focused on all the physical needs you perceive, then you will easily become discouraged when troubling times come. If the answers aren’t clear, then a physical-focused mind becomes muddled. But if the mind is focused on the Kingdom of God and being in His righteousness, then there is peace in knowing that He is in control and will take care of all your needs. It is when we understand this passage that we can more readily trust in the Isaiah passage.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

This is an amazing passage. God blanketly says here that everything is going to be ok. He wants you to know that even if you make a decision that you don’t think was best He is still working it out for your good. You can go to the bank on that. This is a promise from the God who cannot lie. You have been called, and as you love him (more than a feeling – its an action) he works all things out for your good.

Whew! That’s a load off! That means that even if you chose a job that may not be the best you can still be blessed in that. Maybe you made some bad decisions earlier in life that you now regret. God is working to make all things good for you. He’s awesome like that.

Lastly, in Hebrews 5 the writer quotes God as saying “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Maybe you feel all alone in life. There is disaster on every side. You are not alone, and He will never leave you. Even when you draw away from Him, He never leaves. He is very much like a good parent that, though the child does wrong, He still loves the child and desperately wants the best for that child.

That’s the God we serve. That’s the God I want to serve.

James Taylor sang a song that many of you know, “You’ve Got a Friend”. If you know that song, then think about the lyrics. It’s a song of a friendship that would sacrifice anything to help the other out. That’s a pretty great image of our God, and He has already sacrificed everything to help us out. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

I hope that this has brought you some encouragement in your life. We all need encouragement from time to time, and the promises of God are true and bring life. Share this with your friends; chances are that they need to hear this message too.

If there’s anything I can do for you, please feel free to contact me at jddobbs@verizon.net or through my blog at http://www.mrdobbs.org. God bless you…wait, He already has.


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