November 14, 2020

Fleeing from the Lord | Jonah

By Rev. Jeremiah Cheung

From Jonah 1:1-5

1:1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it because its wickedness has come up before me.”

3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.

4 Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep.

We all know the story of Jonah well, and we also like the plot because it’s like watching a movie with exciting scenes. But what we must ask ourselves is this: Why did Jonah flee from the Lord and what are the consequences of doing so?

Jonah was a servant of the Lord, he knew the Lord well, as evidenced by what he said.

  • Jonah 1:9 “He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” This is what he said to those on the ship. Since God is the God who created the sea and the dry land, can he run away from such a God?
  • Jonah 4:2 “He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.” He said that God is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, and rich in love —that is why he fled to Tarshish. We discover in this passage that Jonah only had a “head knowledge” of God. His heart and his life did not show a true understanding of the Lord. Isn’t this also our problem? We know the Lord with our minds but do our hearts truly understand God’s heart?

From the moment the prophet fled from the Lord, we see how his situation kept going from bad to worse. He left God’s presence, left Israel, and proceeded to Tarshish. He boarded a ship and went below the deck. Finally, he fell into the belly of a big fish and sank below the deep waters of the sea. How apt that the circumstances he found himself in mirrors the state of his life! In the second chapter, Jonah acknowledged that he was in the realm of the dead, that God is omnipresent, He is everywhere. Where can we hide from His presence? Turn around! He is waiting for us.

Next post: Fear and Awe

躲避耶和華 | 約拿書 


約拿書 1:1-5

1:1 耶和華的話臨到亞米太的兒子約拿, 說: 2 你起來往尼尼微大城去, 向其中的居民呼喊, 因為他們的惡達到我面前。

3 約拿卻起來,逃往他施去躲避耶和華, 下到約帕, 遇見一隻船, 要往他施去。他就給了船價, 上了船, 要與船上的人同往他施去躲避耶和華。

4 然而耶和華使海中起大風, 海就狂風大作, 甚至船幾乎破壞。5 水手便懼怕, 各人哀求自己的神, 他們將船上的貨物拋在海中, 為要使船輕些。約拿已下到底艙, 躺臥沉睡。

約拿的故事我們都非常的熟識, 而且也很喜歡裡面的情節, 因為好像看電影一樣, 非常的精彩; 但我們要問的是為什麼先要躲避神, 我們也要問躲避神的結果又是什麼?

約拿是神的僕人, 他對神有非常深的認識, 我們可以從他說的話來証明。

  • 1:9 他說, 我是希伯來人; 我敬畏耶和華, 那創造滄海旱地之天上的神。這是他對船上的人說的話, 但既然神是那創造滄海旱地之天上的神, 他可以躲避這樣的神嗎?
  • 4:2 耶和華阿, 我在本國的時候,豈不是這樣說麼? 我知道你是有恩典, 有憐憫的神, 不輕易發怒, 有豐盛的慈愛, 並且後悔不降所說的災, 所以我急速逃往他施去。他說神是有我有恩典, 有憐憫的神, 不輕易發怒, 有豐盛的慈愛的神, 但他卻逃往他施去。我們發現一件事, 先知只是在頭腦上, 知識上認識神, 但他的心, 他的生命卻不了解神, 這也不是我們的問題嗎? 頭腦上認識神, 但我們的心真的體會神的心嗎?

當知先離開神, 躲避神的那一刻開始, 我們發現他的情況真是每況愈下, 他離開了神的面, 他離開以色列往他施去, 他先在船上, 後又下到船的底艙, 最後下在大魚的腹裡, 沉在深水之下。環境是這樣, 他的生命也不是如此嗎? 在第二章他說他在陰間的深處。神是無所不在的, 我們又可以在那裡躲到祂的面呢? 回頭吧! 祂在等候我們。