(This week’s devotions are based on Sunday’s message: Grace for All…Grace Pursues – LISTEN HERE)
Disruption because of disobedience.
Virtually every day on the news there are stories of people who acted in senseless violence or evil and have affected the lives of people in a negative way for the rest of their lives. Drunk drivers kill innocent families. Disgruntled employees shoot up their previous employment injuring and killing people. The headlines are many.
One can only imagine what was happening in the city of Nineveh that “came up before the Lord.” The Lord saw their wickedness and that is why he sent Jonah to go preach against it. Was everyone in Nineveh wicked? Perhaps not, but many were perpetuating evil and many were suffering as a result of it.
But it wasn’t just the disobedience of Nineveh that was before the Lord. The disobedience of Jonah nearly cost the sailors their lives.
What the captain thought was a few extra dollars to take Jonah to Tarshish led to a frantic effort to save the whole ship from wrecking. In the process, they had to throw cargo overboard, devaluing their trip across the Mediterranean.
Yet, in the process, the Lord was still recognized as the true God because when they eventually through Jonah overboard, the storm stopped, something their cries to their gods could not do.
4 Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.
But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. 6 The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish.”
7 Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.
8 So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”
9 He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”
10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)
11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”
12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”
13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried to the Lord, “O Lord, please do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O Lord, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.
Here’s two reflections to take with your day.
- As much as we think our disobedience of the Lord may not affect other people, it certainly can. We act in an unloving way to our spouse, the day doesn’t go so well. We are dishonest at work, our employer loses our productivity or some of their product. We post a thoughtless message on social media, and someone is crushed by the negativity of your message. The Lord gave us the Ten Commandments not only to guide our love of him and others, but to protect us and also for us, as we keep them, to be a blessing to others.
- God, in his amazing way, still will be glorified, even when our performance fails miserably to glorify him. In the case of the sailors, they knew the God from whom Jonah was fleeing was superior to their gods. God can be glorified when his justice is carried out and sin is exposed. God is glorified when sin is confronted and the sinner is brought to repentance, is forgiven and works to restore what is broken. Sometimes God is glorified through tragedies brought on by evil as people turn to him seeking understanding, peace and comfort in their difficulty.
As we will see, God in his grace will save and restore Jonah even after his disobedience. God’s grace is not a license to disobey, but it is a comfort to know his grace is for all, even the disobedient.
Apply: What disobedience is God calling you to repent of today? What results of sin you’ve committed might the Spirit be moving you to restore?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your mercy that calls out our disobedience, brings us to repentance and once again showers us with your grace. AMEN.