Jonah 1: 1-3 Jonah Flees the Presence of the Lord
1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” 3 But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.
Have you ever been where we find Jonah at today? Having a great ministry and love for the Lord only for Him to ask you to do something for Him that you really don’t want to do? So we like Jonah, tend to flee the Presence of the Lord. As we continue to read thru Jonah, we find the Lord pursues Jonah. In fact, he makes life miserable for not only Jonah but for those who Jonah is hanging out with at the time. The Lord will pursue us as well, maybe not to the extremes that He did to Jonah but God loves us too much to let us just go away. This should be very encouraging to the child of God today, knowing that no matter what we struggle with God will be there. We can also be encouraged to know that God has a plan and purpose for our life just as he did with Jonah. And yes, that plan and purpose may include a few things that we really do not want to do! But remember, God’s plan in sending his son Jesus to die for your sins and mine. Jesus asked for the cup to be taken from Him but Jesus did not flee the Presence of the Father. He prayed not His will but the Father’s. Let Jesus be our example in all things, especially those things we really do not want to do.
Have you ever finished a big project, or closed the final chapter of a thrilling book and asked: What’s next? Where shall I go from here? What deserves my attention? What’s my next step in life?
The church in Colossae was asking those very questions. They wanted to know what the next step of the Christian life was and how they ought to proceed. Some among them were tempted to lay out “new plans” and “growth charts” that incorporated everything from mysticism to asceticism. But Paul speaks a careful word into the midst of their search…
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” 2:6-7
In the same way you received Jesus for salvation, walk in him for new life. Be rooted in Jesus. Let the roots of your life dig down into the ever-nourishing soil of our Lord Jesus. Be built up in Jesus. Build your life on the foundation of Christ’s lordship, not the shifting sands of speculation and philosophy (2:8-15) or of personal effort (2:16-23).
What are the steps to rooted-ness? How do you build your life on Jesus? By continually looking to Him. The path to rooted-ness is trod with continual looks of faith on Jesus. As we turn our backs to sin and selfishness to embrace and behold Jesus, we are transformed in His image and our walk becomes His walk.
The songs of corporate worship are for more than preparation for a coming sermon or a way to fill time during our gathering. These songs are God’s means of impressing his truth on our hearts in ways that are memorable and moving. So it is fitting that today we read of the greatness and granduer of God in Isaiah 40 and tomorrow we will sing it’s truth in the song Behold Our God. Prepare your heart for our gathering tomorrow by meditating on Isaiah 40 and the lyrics of the song below. [click here for video of song]
Behold Our God
Who has held the oceans in His hands?
Who has numbered every grain of sand?
Kings and nations tremble at His voice
All creation rises to rejoice
Behold our God seated on His throne
Come, let us adore Him
Behold our King—nothing can compare
Come, let us adore Him
Who has given counsel to the Lord?
Who can question any of His words?
Who can teach the One who knows all things?
Who can fathom all His wondrous deeds?
Who has felt the nails upon His hands?
Bearing all the guilt of sinful man
God eternal, humbled to the grave
Jesus, Savior, risen now to reign
Jonathan Baird, Meghan Baird, Ryan Baird, and Stephen Altrogge
© 2011 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)/Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI) see less
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. – Ephesians 5:15-21
To understand what the will of the Lord is, is to yield to the law of the Spirit of life. We do not have a visible path to walk, only direction from the One who wants us in His kingdom. In v.16 Paul says” making the best use of the time, because the days are evil”. Paul is reminding the church in Ephesus to remain in the faith and be cautious of plans made apart from Gods will for us. We are to love one another the way Christ loves us. It is only through His guidance that we will find our way home.
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? – Galatians 3:1-2 (ESV)
Do you base your standing before God on works or on faith? We must always remember that we are saved by faith, and we persevere by faith as well. At no time is our status before God ever based on our own abilities. If it were, we would have no hope at all. That is not to say that we are not participants in our continued sanctification. As Paul told the Romans, we should not continue to sin that grace might abound. However, the source of our sanctification and the strength by which we persevere is always dependent on the strength of God. With this in mind we should make it our task to fix our gaze on the power, splendor, mercy, and grace of God. We must rest in the finished work of His Son. And, we must find our delight in His ways.
Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things. – 2 Corinthians 11:5-6
Paul might have lacked the rhetoric that these super apostles (aka false teachers) possessed, but no amount of eloquent or persuasive speech would ever stand against the eternal Word that Paul preached. Paul is a great example of what happens when you arm yourself with the Word of God.
It’s important to remember that we need to arm ourselves daily with the truth. It is the only way that we will be able to stand against the enemy. By only putting on the armor of God once or twice a week, you leave yourself exposed to him who would spiritually destroy you. Arm yourselves daily with the word, it is protection from the one who was defeated on the Cross.
Father in heaven, thank you for the refuge that we have in the cross. We give thanks in the precious blood of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. – Psalm 91:1-4 (ESV)
The Easter season should be a very poignant time for Christians in that it represents the culmination of the hope we stand in. For, without the death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus, His birth would have much less significance. To be sure, while His life would have still been noble and righteous, it would have been absent of the ultimate saving quality that gives us our hope. Therefore, as we come out of this time of reflection on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord, let us exit the season with hearts that respond to all that He has done. Let us enter these next days with hearts that find shelter in Jesus. Let us dwell in His shelter and abide in His shelter. For it is only in the shelter of Jesus that we find deliverance from the sinfulness of this world. Moreover, it is only in Jesus that we find ultimate redemption and reconciliation to our Heavenly Father. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty”