Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Advent(Dec. 16): Turning Around

The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 
“Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
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.
Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it.
Jonah 1:1-3,17; 2:10, 3:1-3

Jonah was chosen to be God's servant, in bringing God's message of salvation both to his nation of Israel and  to Nineveh.

When God called him to go to Nineveh, the enemy of his beloved Israel, it was too much. It appears Jonah's fear of the Ninevites added to his reluctance to accept God's call to go to that Gentile and pagan city. Jonah's lack of faith in God's ability to protect him is very clear. So Jonah left his home, family, friends and most of all, his ministry and took off for parts unknown.

Jonah, probably knew deep in his heart that he could not run from God and that obedience to God is always the best course,  but the sin of rebellion makes one irrational. One might suppose Jonah thought that God might just over look his rebellion. He was to shortly learn the hard way that God can not be ignored and he can not be avoided.

Those who try to run from God will always find their efforts to be in vain. Many spend a lifetime, running to all parts of the world, but as Jonah, they will find it in time to be a futile effort.

Still God pursued Him, not willing for him to be a castaway. God was chastening His child that he might be brought to repentance and back to a place of fellowship and service.
Finally, Jonah submits himself humbly to God, seeing the utter futility of his rebellion.
“I called out to the Lord, out of my distress,
    and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
    and you heard my voice.
 For you cast me into the deep,
    into the heart of the seas,
    and the flood surrounded me;
all your waves and your billows
    passed over me.
 Then I said, ‘I am driven away
    from your sight;
yet I shall again look
    upon your holy temple.’
 The waters closed in over me to take my life;
    the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped about my head
     at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land
    whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought up my life from the pit,
    Lord my God.
 When my life was fainting away,
    I remembered the Lord,
and my prayer came to you,
    into your holy temple.

Those who pay regard to vain idols

    forsake their hope of steadfast love.

But I with the voice of thanksgiving

    will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
    Salvation belongs to the Lord!”
(Jonah 2:1-9)

The prayer of Jonah reads like one of the Psalms. It is a poetic prayer of thanksgiving to God for deliverance. It records how Jonah in his time of distress immediately turned back to God. He was God's prophet, and he knew God personally. (source)

"Sometimes it's only when you see that you have very little in your hands that you can take hold of God's very big hands. Could there ever be a bigger, better gift than getting more of God?

A beautiful song and prayer!!! 
I've heard/sang it many times in my youth at church. The words seemed so appropriate for this post.
You always get the greatest gift when you turn around and go the right way, right toward the smiling ways of God."

Our God is, as Jonah ironically laments, “…a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love…” (Jonah 4:2) And He will go to stunning lengths to draw people to himself: like taking on flesh, being as born as a helpless baby in smelly cattle pen, hanging on a bark-covered cross by nails pierced through flesh, descending three days into the very pit of hell, to buy back people as wicked as any Ninevehite–just like me. Yes—he is a God abounding in love—mind-boggling, staggering love.(source)
God seeks to restore fellowship to all His children that stray, and all we must do is simply and honestly repent of the sin, confess it as sin to God and He promises to forgive and help us keep from continuing in that sin. ( I John 1:9).

Come back again, as I share Day 17 of the Advent the book, "Unwrapping the Greatest Gift".(All quotes listed are from the book, unless indicated.)
I will be sharing each story in this beautiful book, as well as some of the breathtaking pictures. Won't you join me? Stop by each day to see the stories shared. If you would prefer I email you each days post, please leave your email in the comments section or send me an email at 
and let me know. I will make sure each post is sent to you.
To view the whole series on one page, go HERE

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