ďRUNNING AWAY FROM GODĒ†††††††††††††††††††††††† By Pastor YAU
prophet: The book of Jonah is about a
prophet who rejected Godís call to deliver His message to the wicked people of
2) Some runaway people: Why do many people run away from God? Is it because they are angry, disappointed, despaired, disobedient or a combination of the above? The story of Jonah should cause each of us to be honest about our feelings toward God. Do we harbor anger against God because of His leniency toward people we feel deserve punishment? Are we upset because God didnít do things the way we want Him to? Or we run away from Him because we want to live our life our way and donít want God either to see or to interfere? You can run but you cannot hide from God. One day you have to face God as Jonah did and answer all His questions.
REASONS TO RUN AWAY:
need God: By far this is the most
cited reason, spoken or not, why people run away from God. People want to do
things their way and they have enough confidence that they will make it without
help from anyone especially God.
They do things
their way: Most people who run away
from God want to do things of their life their way. They recognize that God is
bigger, higher and wiser and if they allow God to get involved in their life,
they may lose their ĎgripĒ or ďcontrolĒ. They will trade the wisdom and
benefits of having God with their independence. ďIt is my life and I want to do
it my way.Ē Even it sounds attractive but it truly is eloquent and boastful.
These people ignore the fact that God has the ultimate control of their life
and everything about them they like it or not. They also ignore that God has
His purpose in their life and they are responsible to fulfill Godís purpose
instead of their purpose. ďIn those days
3) They have enough of Him: These are people who had tried God and got fed up with Him either God didnít do things they want or the way they think God should. God did not meet their expectation. Jonah is one of these people. Many disillusioned Christians and preachers or once dedicated believers got so discouraged in seeing things in this world, in their church or in people whom they once trusted so much but betrayed their faith and the list goes on and on. They feel they have enough of God in the past and from now on it is their turn to run their life. They were either upset or angry or just give up on God, His justice and power. Moses and Elijah were in this group. They will tell God: ďPlease leave me alone.Ē
4) They have itchy ears: ďFor the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itchy ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.Ē (2 Timothy 4:3-4) Since the days of Paul, Christians who had itchy ears had turned away from the truth to many false teachers who will say things they loved to hear. In the 2,000 years of Christian history, countless Christians who had itchy ears had turned away from God and His truth to follow their itchy ears. Many have fallen into the traps of false religions like Islam and New Age movement or cultic practices like Falungon.
LESSONS FROM JONAH:
Yes, you know
what your do: Many runaway Christians
would deny that they are running away from God when they do. They will make all
kinds of excuses that they are not really running away from God. The truth is
that they are. Letís see when God called Jonah,
2) Yes, youíll pay the price: Most of the times when Christians run away from God they always think that it pays to run from God than to follow Godís way. But Jonah did pay a heavy price. He paid three-times. He paid the fare to board the ship, he paid with all he had for his rebellion and he also caused others to pay for his sin as well. If we learn this lesson sincerely, we would think twice before we try to run away from God next time: we have to pay a dear price for not obeying God. Remember the song, ďGodís Way is the Best WayĒ? There is no short cut or a better way than to obey Godís way.
Yes, youíll be
back: Godís plan to save the souls in
Yes, youíll still
be effective: Some might think that
when Jonah went back to
REASONS TO STAY:
1) God has a purpose. There may be a few who do not believe the importance of a purpose of life, most people do and are diligent in search of a better purpose for their life. As in the Book of Jonah, God has a purpose for the prophet and He also has a purpose for each one of us who believes in Him. Stay with God means stay within the purpose He has set for our life. A life with Godís purpose is a life much bigger than for self and higher than for personal gain. As Jonah was instrumental to save the souls of a city and a nation, we may be instrumental for a much greater goal when we stay with Godís purpose in our life.
2) God gives second chances: Even as willful as Jonah who ran away from God and His purpose, God never runs out of His mercy on Jonah. Using miraculous ways to bring Jonah back, God restored him and his mission as he was called before. Men may change their trust on us once we failed, but God never will. King David made statements on the faithfulness of God toward us many time in the Book of Psalms. All we have to do is sincere repentance of our failure and sin, God will always forgive and restore mercy on us. God is generous in giving us another chance.
God brings in results: Some Bible scholars, using the figure on , set the population of
4) God is gentle and kind: With great anger and disappointment on God, Jonah argued with God again and again. He hoped and prayed that God will just destroy all his enemies without any mercy. When God didnít do what he wanted, he asked God to let him die. To this disgruntle, disobedient and displeased servant, God demonstrated His kindness and gentleness in explaining the reasons behind His action or inaction. Instead of rebuke or stern lecturing, God was so patient with Jonah. He tried to make him understand why He did what He did. You canít find any master more patient and gentle than God. So, donít run but stay with Him.
1) Make a good choice: Under any circumstance, run away from God is always a bad choice. You may not understand all there is in His plan, or may not agree on His reasons, stay with Him and you wonít be sorry.
2) Make no excuses: If you have run away from God already, donít try to find excuses to stay away from Him any longer. Repent and ask for his forgiveness. God is always merciful and kind. He will always offer you a second chance.
3) Make a best decision: Donít run your life all by yourself. You are not all powerful or all knowing. You need God, if not now then must be in eternity. Make that decision to accept Him as your Lord and Savior now. Ask Him to forgive your sins and give you a new life.