Nowhere to Hide
"The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 'Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because their wickedness has confronted Me.' However, Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish from the Lord's presence."
Timeout was called. There were only five seconds on the clock before halftime — enough time to run a good out-of-bounds play to score. Everyone paid attention in the huddle and knew the play. The ball was ready to go in. The play began, but Matt had a different plan. He received the ball and went to the basket, just missing the shot. He was so excited when he got into the locker room until a teammate informed him that he had shot at the wrong basket. Matt did what every good player would do in this situation: he hid as long as he could from the coach, which happened to be me!
God gave Jonah an assignment, but Jonah didn't want to do it and went the other way to get away from God. He boarded a boat going away from Ninevah and went to the bottom of the boat to sleep and to hide out from God. Jonah thought he could hide from God, but he quickly realized that that wasn't a good plan. A big storm, a bigger problem with the sailors and a three-night stay inside an enormous fish reminded Jonah that his disobedience needed immediate attention. God was gracious even though Jonah did not deserve it. He allowed Jonah to complete the task he had been assigned.
When I found Matt hiding in the locker room (as best he could), I told him the best place for him might be in the stands for the second half. While our team was warming up for the second half, I called over one of my captains and asked where Matt could be now. He told me that he was showering because he wasn't going to disobey another plan. As funny as it was, I quickly got Matt back to the bench, and he contributed to our team's success in the second half. Matt learned two lessons that day. One: listen more intently to coach. Two: you can run and hide, but coach will always find you.
Jonah learned those same lessons. When God calls and gives directions, it is important to listen, absorb and complete the task to the best of your ability. Hiding from God is not an option, but we like Jonah, tend to think we can do it. God doesn't like playing hide and seek with us. He doesn't want us to run AWAY from Him, but to run TO Him daily. Jonah and Matt learned the hard way. Don't wait for your visit to the belly of a fish to learn yours.
1. Are you hiding out from God?
2. Are you running AWAY from God's leading or running TO Him?
3. Today, how can you start following God's direction for your life?
Jonah 1:1 - 3:1
1 John 5:1-5