I have spoken before of Jonah, but surely some Biblical encounters of people who endeavor to thwart the plan of God for their lives is worthy of additional consideration.
There have been experiences in all of our lives when we have felt like running. Like Jonah, we have sought other directions than that of the Holy Spirit. Though the reasons may be justified in our thinking, they invariably lead to difficulties, small or great. One of the greatest problems is that we might get comfortable in our present circumstances, and just plain do not want to listen to His leading into some endeavor that requires major adjustments in our thinking.
Jonah was like that! He “hated” to think that he was called of God to go to Nineveh and preach. His reasoning was that God would do something through his preaching that would bring about repentance to the Ninevihites, show them mercy, and not pronounce judgment on them. You talk about bitterness toward others and what its roots will produce!
Most preachers would be looking for such an encounter. It would raise their esteem before others, secure additional support, plus give them “legitimate bragging rights”, which we usually refer to as “justified pride”.
Oh! Oh! Jonah is in trouble, just like any who try to run from the Lord. He takes the opposite direction and heads for Tarshish, and “the presence of the Lord”. Most people in this quandary would recognize that such action is impossible, but when you endeavor to justify your decision with such ignorance, you can almost always justify it.
When Jonah tells them to throw him overboard, he now try’s to punish himself! However, God interrupts his plans and sends a life-boat in the form of a “great fish”, gets his attention, and sends him on his way to Ninevah. From what I read, that experience in the “great fish” was not an adjustable mattress or comfy pillow experience. It never is for anyone trying to thwart the will of God!
Three days of preaching and behold, REVIVAL! Jonah heads away, takes a nap and wakes to find it more comfortable than his “life boat” experience. Now He grumbles to God. Some people cannot be satisfied with God and His working! Jonah complains. (Take a look in the mirror!) God lets him reach the end of his rope.
At the end of Jonah’s experience, mumbling to himself, and God, in a shady spot he says in effect: “I knew you would do this! You never do things my way!”
And there you have it! “My way” always seems right!” God in His graciousness straightens us out with what He wants. But Oh the bumps along the road when one try’s to “run away” from Him and His instruction!