Written on December 20, 2014. By Shari Norvell
Day 19 – December 19
“The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.’ But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish [Spain].” Jonah 1:1-3
Jonah did not see it coming. He was a Hebrew man of God, raised in the traditions of his forefathers. When Jonah was young, he dreamed of becoming a servant in the house of the Lord. He thought that one-day, he might become a rabbi or a prophet. He saw himself ministering to the people, teaching them on His word, and showing them the goodness of God. Needless to say, when the Lord called him to preach in Nineveh, Jonah was shocked. In his days (760 BC), it was unheard of for a Hebrew to preach to gentiles! Jonah’s expectation of his calling and destiny in the Lord was not in line with the design of the Lord. Because of this, he ran. Jonah’s plan was to serve a portion of the Hebrew people. This was a good plan. God’s plan for Jonah was to lead 100,000 families (500,000 people) to Yahweh’s Love through repentance. This was the BEST plan! Later in life, Jonah became a prophet to King Jeroboam II of Israel, restoring the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Sea of the Arabah in accordance with the word of the Lord (2 Kings 14:25). God’s plan was so far ￼ beyond what Jonah expected that it is astounding! But Jonah had to trust Him to see it through.
There is an song by Kutless called Run. It begins with these words:
Why do you run why do you hide oh don’t you know I
just, just want to be with you.
It is amazing how quickly we can become enslaved to something. The something can be the most incredible, unspeakable, unimaginable thing. For Jonah, the "thing" became a job instead of a journey. When Pappa came to job, He wasn’t giving him a job interview or a resume filler. He was inviting Jonah to go on a trip WITH Him.
Pappa simply wanted to be with Jonah. Face to face every step of the way. No map needed, just His presence.
Jonah didn’t like the itinerary, so he changed the destination altogether. Though his travel arrangements changed, God’s plan did not. Jonah went looking for a plane and Pappa put him on a boat, in the form of a whale. I’m so glad Pappa doesn’t let us go!!
When Jonah tried to escape, Pappa became his hiding place. The belly of a whale became a temple. God will meet us wherever we and take us where we always wanted to go. Inside the whale for three days, Pappa resurrected Jonah’s heart. And when the stone was rolled away, Jonah no longer had a task to perform but a people to see, an invitation to give and a God to reveal.
Once the whale reached port, Jonah was birthed. He was unveiled, face shining, just like Moses when he came down form the mountaintop.
With face aglow, Jonah no longer needed to confront a people. Instead, he encountered them with what dwelt inside. For just as he was released form the whale, what he consumed inside needed release.
The forth candle of the Menorah represents God’s glory revealed. It describes the golden room filled with an altar of incense, the Bread of Presence and gold lamp stands. It is a call to the reflectors of His glory.
For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
Tonight is about increase. His increase within us that can’t help but spill out because we are not an impoverished people bound to a taskmaster. But we are a generation freed by that which we carry from the treasury of inheritance and reward.