Saturday, June 21, 2008

Going God’s Way

Ok. So Jonah is told to Arise and Go to Nineveh. And he arose to go to Tarshish. He was the original marathon runner. He was told to go 500 miles northeast, and he goes 2500 miles southwest. He first heads to the port city of Joppa so he can catch a ride to Nineveh. A ship, actually. Joppa was a port town in Judah on the coast of the Mediterranean sea. At the time it was still called the Great Sea. (They hadn’t seen the Pacific yet!) Tarshish was a port city in Spain, on the opposite end of the Great Sea. Two things we know about Tarshish: it was known for its iron goods. The word tarshish means “to smelt.” No doubt the boat Jonah boarded was a cargo ship. It would take cargo, olive oil, wool, and timber from Lebanon to Spain in trade for iron goods like weapons, tools, and ore. The second thing Tarshish was known for was that it was considered to be the far end of the world. Timbuktu. China. Outer Mongolia. It was far. About as far as you could get, in fact, in the opposite direction that God wanted.
Jonah had decided that if he went to Outer Mongolia, he would not have to preach to the Ninevites. But the first leg was to Joppa. “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.”
So he went to Joppa, and what???!! He paid the fare. Wow. I could camp out here for a long while. But let us get right to the heart. This was not like going to Hartsfield International Airport and catching a flight to LA. It was not everyday that a boat was sailing to Tarshish. But when Jonah was running from the LORD, there was a boat waiting to set sail. What am I driving at? Simple. If you are ready to run from God’s will, the devil is waiting to provide the transportation! Thinking of cheating on your wife? The devil will make sure that some hussy comes strolling by with high heels and short skirts, with more make up on than Tammy Faye Baker! Thinking about scamming some dough from your employer? The devil will make sure that the boss never checks your expense reports. You get the idea. The second thing I see here is that when you run from God, you pay the fare. When you run with God, He pays the fare. I cannot even begin to express to you how many times God paid the fare. Nor how many time we had to pay the fare. Sin is like a box of choc.. oops. Wrong analogy. Sin is like a credit card. You can run up a tab with no pain. But one day the bill comes due.
Think about Moses’ mother, Jocobed. She trusted God and put her baby in the Nile river. Pharaoh’s daughter found the child and paid Jocobed a salary for nursing her own child! Run with God…He picks up the tab. And I think about the time Patty and I had bills due and no money. I prayed about it so earnestly. We were attempting to go God’s way. The day before our mortgage payment was due, the money was in our account! It was a God thing. Psalm 37:3 says, “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” We have had our share of issues, but verily we have always dwelt in the land and been fed. I want to go God’s way. What about you?

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