Jonah 1New King James Version (NKJV)
1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
4 But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.
5 Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo thatwas in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep.
6 So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.”
7 And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, “Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?”
9 So he said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, “Why have you done this?” For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. 11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?”—for the sea was growing more tempestuous.
12 And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.”
13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they cried out to the Lord and said, “We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lordexceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows.
17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Jonah was called to tell the people of Nineveh the error of their ways. He chose to run from this responsibility and hide from God. Just think about this, Jonah was fleeing from the presence of God. How in the world can we flee from the presence of God? Please understand God has called each of us to a particular work. He did not call us to sit on the pews, He called us to be about the work of the kingdom. You cannot do the work of the kingdom with a lazy heart and feet that follow in lazy attempts to do Christ sized work. Have you ever had the idea that you could somehow buy your way out what God has called you to do? That is what Jonah did. He bought a ticket to what he thought was a far away land, far away from God. So how do we pull a Jonah? Well it is pretty simple, for example, God tells you to go serve meals to the homeless this Christmas, so you buy can goods galore and turkeys to boot and drop them off at your local shelter, with a smile on your face, but disobedience in your heart. You were told to serve the homeless a meal, not buy a ticket out of God's presence. God tells you to visit the nursing homes this holiday season and bring love to those hurting and missing their love ones, so you buy $500.00 worth of gowns, robes, socks etc. and deliver them to your church so the youth group can deliver them to the very place God told you to go. Once again why are you trying to buy your way out of God's presence? You are missing His blessing by doing what you want instead of what He wants. Do what He says not what you say. There is a journey overboard waiting and the belly of a fish that is prepared to hold you for as long as it takes for you to say yes Lord, Your Way Jesus. Do what Jesus says, when he says to do it, with the right heart attitude. It is all He will accept.