Running from God

December 14

Running from God 

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 140:1-8 | Jonah 1:1-4:11 | Rev. 5:1-14 | Proverbs 29:26-27

Today’s Scripture Focus: Jonah 1-4

But  Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. [2] He prayed to the Lord, “O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity (Jonah 4:1-2 NIV).

Have you ever run from God or from a mission to which he has called you? I think most of us have. I think that the book of Jonah is popular because we all can relate to the reluctant prophet. I’m always amazed that God chose Jonah instead of a more willing prophet. But then I remember God chose me too. When I consider the parallels of my life and his, I’m thankful that God uses imperfect people to accomplish his tasks.

Jonah’s story reminds us that God is relentless in his pursuit of us. While we may try to run away, he patiently waits for us and straightens our paths. He may not always use violent storms and big fish, but he has many tools at his disposal. He is incredibly patient with us.

Jonah’s story reminds us that God has a compassionate heart for the entire world. When the enemies of Israel—the people of Nineveh–responded with repentance, God was indeed gracious and compassionate. While the focus of so much of the Old Testament is God’s relationship with Israel, Jonah reminds us that God cares about the rest of the world too and intends on sending us to share his grace and compassion with them.

Jonah’s story reminds us that God uses imperfect people to accomplish his purposes. In the process, he is shaping and forming our character. Jonah’s mission to Nineveh was probably as much to change Jonah, as it was to change the city of Nineveh. I wonder how much of the time the same is true of us. God calls us to a place of ministry or to a task more for our sake than theirs. In it all, God in his wisdom accomplishes his purposes in spite of the imperfections of his servants.

Be encouraged, if God can use Jonah to accomplish his will, he can use you too. Don’t be reluctant to answer his call. Allow him to use you–imperfections and all.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your being patient with me when I’ve tried to avoid a mission you’ve called me to—or run in the other direction. Thank you for straightening my paths and opening doors. Use me now where you’ve placed me to accomplish you will. Amen.

About pastorjeffsneighborhood

Born and raised in Minnesota, I have served in churches in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and California. I am a graduate of Crown College (MN) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR). I have also done additional graduate studies in New Testament Studies at the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA). I am also a graduate of the College of Prayer. Having served as the Academic Dean and Program Director at Horizon Institute of Los Angeles for several years, I have returned to the pastorate and serve as Pastor of Big Trees Community Bible Church in Arnold, CA.
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