1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.
5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.
6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.
7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.
8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?
9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.
10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.
11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.
12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.
13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.
14 Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee.
15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.
16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.
17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
For many of us, this is a familiar story. Most of us have heard about Jonah and how he was swallowed by a BIG fish.
It's pretty easy to see that this story has a lot to do with God's will for us and how we need to follow it. There's a few things I'd like to go over about this.
Many of us quite often strive to do God's will. And quite often, we don't know what it is. So we go and look for signs... we want to know what God's will is. Will He show it to us? Lord, what am I to do with my life? Where would you lead me? Should I be a musician? Should I be missionary?
Sometimes, we spend too much time seeking this part of God's will for us and not enough on the parts of His will that are obvious. It was easy for Jonah sure... God spoke too him. God would simply say "go, do this" and Jonah would listen... well, most of the time.
Quite often we find ourselves longing to hear God's voice that clearly and we get frustrated when we don't hear it.
Friends, God has spoken His will to us in its entirety through His word. To put this all quite simply, His will is written in His word. If you live ALL that His word tells you, you will be following His will and everything else will fall into place. I can assure you of that.
So, if you want to know God's will for your life... your purpose... why are you here, etc... Stop looking here and there, open up the bible and read God's will. There is much we still have to learn from it. Many areas that we ALL fall short in.
38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
See, we aren't the only ones who have looked for signs... Now, these men were seeking a different kind of sign. They were seeking proof that Jesus was who he says he is. I can promise that it is still quite similar. We often seek signs... We want "proof" of where God wants us. You know, sometimes God chooses not to point the way as clearly as we would like. There are some things we might need to stumble around in to figure out. Guess what... That is ok. What if God wants you to be a missionary and He hasn't shown you exactly what to do? Well, trust Him. It will all work out if you trust Him. Stop worrying about getting a sign to show you EXACTLY what He wants from you.
Instead, focus on His written word, His written WILL for your life. Are you living by His straight forward, in your face, God breathed will? That my friends is the most important thing to Him and to you. If you end up at McDonalds for 40 years trying to figure out where God wants you... I promise, as long as you are fulfilling His spoken will for your life, then you are on the right path. You are just where He wants you to be.
I can also promise that if you are NOT living up to His written will for your life then you will NOT be able to see that mysterious future will for your life. God will not reveal such things to someone who is living in sin, who's vision is clouded.
God's will for your life right now is to live in the now. He has certain commands that He wishes you would follow.
I have met some people recently that are outright defying some of those commands and they know it. I've met married people that are dating other people online and think nothing of it. This has been on my heart lately, and it does sort of tie into all this so I must write about it today. God's will for you is not to sin. Some people think that we can't have fun if we don't sin, and other silly things like that. My friends let me tell you God has rules in place for us not for His sake, but for ours. When we do things wrong, when we sin, we can end up inside a whale. We might think that God is punishing us. I do believe that in most situations it is not a punishment at all... We are quite deserving a punishment at times, but the misery we find ourselves in is often a direct result of our actions. God is our father and He knows what is best for us.
A parent might tell a child not to eat too much junk before dinner... or stay out of the road... If you ate too much and felt sick, or played in the road and got hit by a car, those consequences are not punishments for what you did. Simply a result of a bad decision. The same is with sin. God doesn't give us rules to obey so that we might be His puppets. He KNOWS what is best for us. He KNOWS that if we follow His will that things will go a lot smoother. It isn't a system of "follow these rules and you'll be rewarded, disobey them and be punished...". It's really just how life works and God has taught us the best way to live life. I sure hope my random thoughts are making sense.
God's will is not as complicated as we make it out to be...
Personally I think we need to stop seeking signs that point us to our future and put more focus on the will of God that is right in front of us.
If you do turn or run from God's will for your life, I do pray that when that whale spits you out you will understand it all better than Jonah did.
Dear Lord, thank you for today and all the wonderful things you have done for us. Lord help me to stop worrying about my future. Help me to seek and know your will THROUGH your written word. Your word is perfect and tells me all I need to know in life. I pray that I would strive to do all that you have asked me to. I pray that when I do run from it that you would send a big fish to swallow me and spit me out, and that I would see the error of my ways and turn back to you. Lord give me strength and wisdom to do all that is in your will for my life... and help me to trust you have the rest of it in control. Thank you for that Lord.
A new subject or passage each week for all to discuss.
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