You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide – The Saturday Morning Post by Pastor Ted Stahl

Today’s Reading: Jonah 1-4, Proverbs 24, and Revelation 5-8.

Today’s Passage: Jonah 1.

Good Morning! It’s amazing how much we can see of ourselves in Jonah. The Book of Jonah is one of my favorites. Right-off-the-bat Jonah is given his marching orders from the Lord. Right-off-the-bat Jonah runs off in the other direction. Sin will take you quickly from the presence of the Lord. Remember what Samuel told Saul? Samuel said, “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” (1Samuel 15: 22-23).

Also notice, back in Jonah, verses 4-6, that God sent a tempest in the sea, and a great wind. The sailors thought they were going to die. Notice two observations here. When we sin, it affects those around us. And also notice where Jonah was: he was in the side of the ship, fast asleep. When we sin, it not only affects others, but how we affect others: his soul winning hit an all time low: while those on deck were facing the wrath of God, Jonah was asleep.

So, while Jonah is asleep, what are the people on deck doing? They are running around deck, throwing things overboard, trying to lighten the ship.

When they cast lots, and found that Jonah was to blame, they asked him what they should do. “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. Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.” (Jonah 1:12-13). Jonah knew that the wages of sin was death: he knew that someone had to die to save those on the ship. The crew did not believe Jonah, and worked hard to save the ship. Of course you know: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). And you should also know that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6); and that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). Wait, wasn’t that the task given to Jonah: to give people the Word of God?

God wasn’t done with Jonah yet. After the crew threw Jonah overboard, the Lord not only calmed the sea, but sent a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.

Not only does our sin cause us to run from God. Not only does our sin affect others. Not only does our sin cause our soul-winning to come to a halt. Our sin causes us to be separated from God: we find ourselves in the belly of the fish: dark and lonely. In those places are the times we usually turn back to God. 1John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

A good example of this happened to David. Psalm 51 says, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.” (Psalm 51:1-15).

This is what Jonah did in chapter 2, and the Lord caused the fish to vomit Jonah out onto dry land. And, of course, Jonah went on to witness to all of Nineveh, and they turned from their evil ways. God spared that city of 120,000 souls.

Peace. (Psalm 51:12-13).

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