Saturday, October 30, 2010

Perception - CS - Jonah

"And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish for three days and three nights..." Jonah 1:17

So this one is pretty easy. God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh and cry against it. Jonah runs to Joppa to catch the first boat to Tarshish. God sends a storm, God sends a fish and Jonah ends up in Nineveh.

Of course I skipped a lot of details. But we're looking at a perception here and it's fairly obvious to find. Not only did Jonah chose to disobey, but he ran away.

That's the perception I want to look at today. His action of running away reveals his heart - plus the fact that the scriptures tells us what he was thinking...twice:

"But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord." Jonah 1:3

Jonah believed he could run away from the presence of the Lord. So that makes God...ummm...what? Not omnipresent, wouldn't you say?

David, on the other hand, had the proper perception of God's presence when he wrote: "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there, if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me." Psalm 139:7-10

Even though it's written a few hundred years before Jonah, it kind of sounds like David was writing about him, doesn't it?

David understood that you cannot flee from the presence of God. He is everywhere. Jonah, on the other hand, had to learn this lesson the hard way. But it made me stop and think, do I honestly believe that God is everywhere - that He is with me all the time and knows everything I am doing, saying, thinking? Do I act like I believe this?

How different would our lives be if we truly lived with this reality! Our conversations, our entertainment, our free time - would these things be different? Or do we have this perception of God that we can actually flee from the presence of the Lord? That He can tell us to do something and we choose not to do it, and then run away from His presence?

In both Eve and Jonah's stories, our main characters disobeyed God's command. Their perceptions caused actions. So do ours and the way we act communicate what our perceptions of God are.

So, do we think God is a liar? (Eve) Do we think we can hide from God? (Jonah)

Hmmm...where will she go next?

(By the way, I like this picture because it doesn't look like a whale but truly like a big fish!)

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