I follow along with this great online community called SheReadsTruth. It's been wonderful to study besides this group of women. Recently they began doing blog shares on Fridays. This is where all the lovely ladies of She Reads Truth can link to their blog on whatever passage we've been studying.
We are studying Jonah. You know him, the prophet who ended up in the whale. Maybe like me, you don't know how he got there. Maybe even like me, until recently you didn't even realize this was a bible story!
Some quick things to catch you up (this is a super short book, only 3 or so pages- take a read if you never have). Jonah heard the voice of God telling him to travel to Nineveh to tell the people pretty much that God was angry at them. Johah, terrified of the wicked city instead got on a boat and took off in the opposite direction! What I find interesting is that they call out that he paid the fare to get on the boat away "from the presence of The Lord"... He actually paid money to run away from God's calling. I wonder if I've ever done something like that unknowingly.
On the trip to Tarshish on this boat we find Jonah peacefully sleeping while a wicked sea storm is rising. He must have been pretty content thinking that The Lord would just pick someone else to go to Nineveh instead. But God doesn't really work that way.
What I love most about this story, maybe more than Jonah's repentance later on, is the fact that while Jonah was rebelling, God was meeting new people. Here in this story it says that "Every man on the boat cried out to his god" for relief from the storm. When the gods of these men didn't respond they awoke Jonah and told him "Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish." Suddenly, these men seem to be willing to put their faith in anything that would work.
Jonah confesses that he was running from The Lord. He knows this is exactly why the storm is happening and tells the men to throw him overboard so they can be saved from God's wrath. The men who were now afraid of God and not wanting to kill Jonah tried to row to land, but the storm continued to worsen.
The next thing is quite amazing. We see these men call out to God themselves! Subliminally here I see that they are declaring God's sovereignty, admitting He is the one in control. "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 pleases You." After this prayer they throw Jonah overboard where the storm immediately stopped. (Jonah as you know, ends up in the belly of the fish). Because of the storms immediate calm the men feared The Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows.
How incredible. Because of one man's attempt to run God was able to call more people to himself. Remember at the beginning of this story that every man had his own god. Now not only are they declaring He's sovereign, they are offering Him sacrifices and making vows to Him! In less than maybe an hour The Lord had reached men that He may not have reached if Jonah had obeyed. There truly is beauty in God knowing our every step, even when it's the wrong one. This story is a perfect example that He works all things together for good.
I can see examples of this in my own life, where I took the wrong step or went down the wrong path and God still provided blessings. The joy of God is that He sees our steps before we take them so He has so intricately woven in blessings even when we're on the wrong path. He never leaves us. Amen for that.
How about you? Have you ever felt God working even when you know you didn't do what you were called to do?