Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. (Jonah 1:1-2 KJV)

There it was – a direct invitation to serve the Lord. We aren’t told he was a religious man. There’s nothing to indicate He worshipped the Lord, but he certainly recognized who was speaking, and responded.

But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. (Jonah 1:3 KJV)

Jonah attempted the impossible – flee the presence of the Lord. It didn’t work then, and it doesn’t work now. It may seem strange, but this helped me understand that God does not need us.

Nope, just as He didn’t need Jonah specifically as the person who was the only one to go to Nineveh, God doesn’t need any one of us. He can call on so many committed to following Him to accomplish any purpose that any single one of us is not a stumbling block to His work. If I do not do the service He has for me, another will be called.

However, He cares enough for each and every one of us to provide discipline so that we understand what we are supposed to do. For Jonah, it impacted the lives of others:

But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god,(Jonah 1:4-5a KJV)

He was not among Godly people. The mariners came from a wide variety of people around the sea, each with their own deity, but their prayers were insufficient.

And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. (Jonah 1:9-10 KJV)

Why didn’t God select another and simply ignore Jonah? My thought is, discipline. Jonah did understand that the words he heard from from the LORD, the God of heaven, which made all things. Here, in this verse, he gave a powerful witness to the men aboard the ship. Perhaps God used that witness as a ripple through time, but it convinced Jonah, too. Toss me overboard was his answer to the crew – and they did.

That wasn’t God’s answer, though. God provided life for Jonah, and enough time to reflect, change his mind and head for Nineveh.
Still, the thought echoes – God didn’t need Jonah, but He wanted him. He desired Jonah’s presence specifically. He desired the companionship of Adam and Eve, too:

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8 KJV)

Why? He told us that, too:

We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19 KJV)

He does not need us, He wants us. Enough to die for us:

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, (Revelation 1:5 KJV)

I give thanks for that love, and return it to the best of my abilities.

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