Running From God

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Remembering who Jesus is to you is very important. We don’t give Him credit for who He is if we choose to run away from Him or not pay attention to Him.

How often have you seen a person cause his or her own problems? It happens more often than we care to admit. A person who fails to know God’s Word often acts out of ignorance. It is also just as bad when a person knows the Word but chooses disobedience.

In either case, it boils down to trusting The Lord in every aspect of your life. Being obedient to who God is means trusting in Him. Failing to be obedient is the same as running away from Him.

The Scriptures we are basing this study upon:

Jonah 4:4
The Lord asked, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

We can get angry when God does not act in such a way that we expect Him to. Anger is something that can lead to an improper response that is rooted in sin.

Ephesians 4:26-27
26 Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and don’t give the Devil an opportunity.

Genesis 4:6-7
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you furious? And why do you look despondent? 7 If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

Satan gets a foothold when we have ongoing anger.

Psalm 139:7-10
7 Where can I go to escape Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I go up to heaven, You are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there.
9 If I live at the eastern horizon
or settle at the western limits,
10 even there Your hand will lead me;
Your right hand will hold on to me.

We sometimes think we can outrun God, just as Jonah did. You can’t get away from God. Running away only keeps you from getting matters straight in your life. At some point, you have to make the decision that you will not run from Him; instead, you will stay in His presence. The matter of casting your cares upon God truly has its benefits.

Psalm 16:11
You reveal the path of life to me;
in Your presence is abundant joy;
in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.

Do you understand that you don’t set your own path in life? God is the One who sets your plans and does not lead us into problems. You only need to be willing to go in His direction. You may not know everything about where you’re going, but you still have the assurance of His glorious presence. His presence will bring you joy and confidence.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Jonah was a prophet of God chosen to preach to people that were not very kind to him.

Jonah 1:1-2
1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because their wickedness has confronted Me.”

Jonah was fearful of the people of Nineveh and hated them. He hated them because of the cruelty of the people (Nineveh was the capital of Assyria – 2 Kings 19:17-19, 35).

Jonah had a hard time with this issue (he did not want to see these people repent because he was angry with them and not ready to forgive them) and decided to go in a different direction. God was showing his love for everyone–not just the Jews. God was acting in a way that Jonah could not accept.

Jonah 1:3
However, Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish from the Lord’s presence. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. He paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish, from the Lord’s presence.

In response, The Lord sent a great wind:

Jonah 1:4-6
4 Then the Lord hurled a violent wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose on the sea that the ship threatened to break apart. 5 The sailors were afraid, and each cried out to his god. They threw the ship’s cargo into the sea to lighten the load. Meanwhile, Jonah had gone down to the lowest part of the vessel and had stretched out and fallen into a deep sleep.

6 The captain approached him and said, “What are you doing sound asleep? Get up! Call to your god. Maybe this god will consider us, and we won’t perish.”

The Lord reveals who is responsible:

Jonah 1:7-9
7 “Come on!” the sailors said to each other. “Let’s cast lots. Then we’ll know who is to blame for this trouble we’re in.” So they cast lots, and the lot singled out Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, “Tell us who is to blame for this trouble we’re in. What is your business and where are you from? What is your country and what people are you from?”

9 He answered them, “I’m a Hebrew. I worship Yahweh, the God of the heavens, who made the sea and the dry land.”

The men on the ship knew what he was doing:

Jonah 1:10
Then the men were even more afraid and said to him, “What is this you’ve done?” The men knew he was fleeing from the Lord’s presence, because he had told them.

The captain and the crew of the ship were concerned about their safety and survival at this time, and Jonah offers himself as a solution in calming the waters. He took responsibility for what happened but note that he was not going in the direction that God had called him to do.

Jonah 1:11-16
11 So they said to him, “What should we do to you to calm this sea that’s against us?” For the sea was getting worse and worse.

12 He answered them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea so it may quiet down for you, for I know that I’m to blame for this violent storm that is against you.” 13 Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they couldn’t because the sea was raging against them more and more.

14 So they called out to the Lord: “Please, Yahweh, don’t let us perish because of this man’s life, and don’t charge us with innocent blood! For You, Yahweh, have done just as You pleased.” 15 Then they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging. 16 The men feared the Lord even more, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.

After being tossed overboard, God provided for Jonah–even in his disobedience:

Jonah 1:17
Now the Lord had appointed a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the fish three days and three nights.

God gave Jonah the opportunity to think over everything that just happened for those three days and nights while in the fish…and now he was in prayer.

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