DAILY DEVOTIONAL FROM PASTOR WESLEY October 11, 2021
Lessons From a Man on the Run
The word of the LORD came to Jonah saying, Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me." But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. …The LORD hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below, lain down and fallen sound asleep. So, the captain approached him and said, how is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish." Each man said, “Come, let us cast lots so we may learn on whose account this calamity has struck us." So, they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. …He said to them, I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land." Then the men became extremely frightened and they said to him, how could you do this?" For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. So, they said to him, what should we do to you that the sea may become calm for us?". 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 on account of me this great storm has come upon you." However, the men rowed desperately to return to land but they could not, for the sea was becoming even stormier against them. Then they called on the LORD and said, we earnestly pray, O LORD, do not let us perish on account of this man's life and do not put innocent blood on us." So, they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging. Then the men feared the LORD greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows. And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights. Jonah 1
Have you ever tried to run from God? Most of us won’t try to escape physically by fleeing to another place, the way Jonah did. But we’re experts at ignoring God’s commands, distracting ourselves with busyness, and offering an alternative plan in place of full obedience. No matter how we rationalize and excuse ourselves, rebellion leads only to pain and suffering.
While running from the Lord, Jonah overlooked some essentials that we should all keep in mind. He incorrectly assumed that fleeing would be a way to avoid obeying God, but the Lord is not deterred by our attempts at manipulation. As David once wrote, He’ll pursue us even to the “remotest part of the sea” (Psalm 139:9).
Jonah also overlooked the fact that disobedience will, figuratively speaking, bring a person down. But notice that the reluctant prophet actually experienced this in a more literal way as well: After initially going down to Joppa, he proceeded down into a ship, and ultimately found himself plunging into the depths of the sea (Jonah 1:15).
Running from God is futile—there’s no hiding place because we are always visible to the Lord. So instead of trying to flee His presence, we should welcome it.
This is Dr. Michael Wesley, Sr.'s latest book on the subject of marriage. As a Pastor he has counseled many couples before, during, and after marriage so this has given him keen insight into the marital relationship. He himself has been married to the same woman for over 40 years so he has a wealth of knowledge on this subject. In this book Dr. Wesley covers that marriage comes from God, the keys to compatibility, the keys to staying in love, and even what to do if you feel you have married the wrong person. This is an excellent read if you are considering marriage in the future or even if you are currently married.