Life is busy. There are so many distractions in our daily lives, that we can be easily be influenced by the realities they create for us. Instead of seeing a loving God sovereignly in control, we see the fallen state of our circumstances, and are driven to worry, doubt, fear, and anxiety. The truth however, is that God is good, and His sovereignty is too.
Throughout the Book of JONAH, we can see God’s appointing of events, circumstances, and outcomes that yield results that would seem otherwise unachievable with odds insurmountable. In a very short book, we see God sovereignly appointing the following:
- Jonah’s call to Nineveh
- A tempest to wreck the sailors ship
- The outcome of the lots that were cast
- A fish to swallow and save Jonah
- Calming the tempest and saving the crew
- The fish to throw up Jonah on dry land
- Jonah’s second call to Nineveh
- Salvation for the undeserved masses of Nineveh
- A plant to protect Jonah from the heat
- A worm to destroy the plant protecting Jonah from the heat
Let’s think about the above for a minute. If I told you I’m sending you on a mission, and on the way to help you achieve my purposes, I’m going to send a storm, some angry sailors, and a fish to swallow you, you’d probably look at me (understandably) like I’m crazy. How could that possibly be good for me? The answer?
God is always about more than just you, but He also cares deeply and plans carefully for every detail of your life.
Think about it. Jonah was trying to disobey a command from God to go and preach the good news to the lost. How successful was Jonah’s sovereignty? Not very. God ended up using his disobedience to bring even more people to Himself. Not only did the people of Nineveh repent, but the sailors on the ship did as well – the very ship Jonah was using to try and escape the will of God with.
What’s encouraging about this? God doesn’t treat us like we deserve. Even after Jonah was spewed out of the mouth of the giant fish, a situation purely brought on by Jonah’s sinful disobedience, God doesn’t chastise him for his insolence. Instead, God gently reminds Jonah of the task at hand. He repeats the command, word for word:
“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” – God to Jonah in 3:2
God doesn’t add, “Look, you really botched it the first time – let’s try this again.”, or “How about you listen to me for a change?”, or start with a :heavy sigh: with His lead in.
No, God demonstrates His complete steadfast and sovereign love for Jonah by affirming His love for him in what He didn’t say. Don’t think that Jonah didn’t notice that either. After hearing God speak to him a second time, he immediately obeys His command.
We have a lot of lessons to learn here:
- God is constantly redeeming our sinful actions for salvific purposes (the sailors conversion)
- God controls everything around us (the wind, waves, “random events” like the casting of lots, plants, wildlife, etc.)
- God’s love and sovereignty are deeper and stronger then ours will ever be (His response to Jonah after the fish)
God’s sovereignty truly is the better way. Let us rest in His plans and purposes for us today!