While worshipping Jesus yesterday, I felt He said, "There are many Jonahs out there running away from their destiny, and I Love them enough to send a whale."
The prophet Jonah was instructed by God to preach repentance to Nineveh. Jonah did not want to obey, and in response to God's command, he fled from the presence of the Lord.
Jonah 1:3 "But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from being in the presence of the Lord [as His prophet] and went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish [the most remote of the Phoenician trading places then known]. So he paid the appointed fare and went down into the ship to go with them to Tarshish from being in the presence of the Lord [as His servant and minister]."
God attempted to get Jonah's attention by sending a storm, which threatened the lives of not only Jonah, but also Jonah's companions. Jonah's response to the storm was slumber.
Jonah 1:4-6 "But the Lord sent out a great wind upon the sea, and there was a violent tempest on the sea so that the ship was about to be broken.
Then the mariners were afraid, and each man cried to his god; and they cast the goods that were in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. However, Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep.
So the captain came and said to him, What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call upon your God! Perhaps your God will give a thought to us so that we shall not perish."
The others on the ship cast lots to determine why the storm had come upon them and determined that it was Jonah who was the cause. Fearing for their own lives; they cast Jonah into sea causing it to cease raging.
Jonah 1:11 & 12 "Then they said to him, What shall we do to you, that the sea may subside and be calm for us? For the sea became more and more [violently] tempestuous.
And [Jonah] said to them, Take me up and cast me into the sea; so shall the sea become calm for you, for I know that it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you."
God's intention was to get Jonah back on the path to His destiny. It was not to cause him the pain or discomfort of being thrown into the sea; It was not to cause the obvious fear of having a huge sea mammal swallow him.
While in the belly of the fish, Jonah's confident cry for deliverance was met by a God full of mercy and loving-kindness.
Jonah 2:1-10 "THEN JONAH prayed to the Lord his God from the fish's belly,
And said, I cried out of my distress to the Lord, and He heard me; out of the belly of Sheol cried I, and You heard my voice.
For You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the floods surrounded me; all Your waves and Your billows passed over me.
Then I said, I have been cast out of Your presence and Your sight; yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.
The waters compassed me about, even to [the extinction of] life; the abyss surrounded me, the seaweed was wrapped about my head.
I went down to the bottoms and the very roots of the mountains; the earth with its bars closed behind me forever. Yet You have brought up my life from the pit and corruption, O Lord my God.
When my soul fainted upon me [crushing me], I earnestly and seriously remembered the Lord; and my prayer came to You, into Your holy temple.
Those who pay regard to false, useless, and worthless idols forsake their own [Source of] mercy and loving-kindness.
But as for me, I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that which I have vowed. Salvation and deliverance belong to the Lord!
And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land."
How many of us are fleeing from the Presence of the Lord? What causes us to want to hide from our only Source and Strength? Is there a storm raging? Do not automatically assume the evil one is responsible for it. God may have assigned it to wake us from our slumber. In addition, remember, if a whale of a circumstance swims into our life, God may have assigned it to get us back on the path of our destiny...all because He Loves us!
Holy Spirit, please search us. Is there any area in our life, which we attempt to hide from You? Empower us to turn our face fully towards You, hiding nothing and obeying in whatever You have instructed. Each destiny fulfilled in the name of Jesus. AMEN!!!