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Second Chance God (2 of 4)
Series: See Jonah Run
1. In government circles it is known as "WITSEC." That stands for "Witness Security" program or what you and I would know as the "Witness Protection Program." It was established in 1970 and allows for the United States Attorney General to provide for the relocation and protection of a witness of a federal or state government against any organized crime. The witness is given a new name, a new location, $60,000 a year for the first year and opportunities to find new work when they are relocated in their new home. Witnesses are never allowed to travel back to their home towns or contact unprotected family members or friends. According to the United States Marshal's Service, no one who has followed their procedures has ever been harmed in any way. The purpose of the Witness Protection Program is to ensure that people will indeed testify and tell the truth of what they see and what they know.
2.Thousands of years ago, a prophet, by the name of Jonah, founded his own witness protection program. He put himself into it, not in order to testify, but to keep from testifying. He found out the hard way, as many of us have, that you can run from God, but you can't out-run God and you can't hide from God. When we last left Jonah, he had been thrown overboard and swallowed by, what the text calls, "A Great Fish." Many have called this fish "a whale", but we don't know whether his jailhouse was a whale-house or not. We really don't know what kind of fish it was.
3.I heard about a college professor who didn't believe this story about Jonah and the Fish and in fact he didn't even believe the Bible. Out of curiosity, he heard that a pastor was preaching on Jonah so he went to hear him. After the sermon was over, he walked up to the pastor and said, "I have a question for you: How do you know it was a whale that swallowed Jonah?" The pastor said, "I don't know whether it was a whale or not, but when I get to heaven I'll ask Jonah." The skeptic said, "What if Jonah is not in heaven?" The pastor said, "Then you can ask him."
4.I don't know what kind of fish it was. If God is God, then Jonah could have been swallowed by a minnow, but I am not going to allow us to make the mistake that too many make by focusing on the fish. People are fascinated by what was going on inside this fish when the real story was what was going on inside of Jonah.
5.In a sense, Jonah is about every one of us, because at one time or another all of us have run from God in some way, some form, or some fashion. Perhaps you are on the run today, because of something you did in the past such as a mistake you made and you are running from guilt. Perhaps you are on the run, because of a relationship that didn't work out and it was your fault and you are running from grief. You are running from God, perhaps, because you are afraid of doing something you know He wants you to do or you are running fr ...
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