by Christopher Harbin

So What's the Difference?
Christopher B. Harbin
Psalm 62:5-12; Jonah 3:1-10; Mark 1:14-20; 1 Cor 7:29-31

What’s the difference in being God’s change and avoiding it?

It had been a wild ride. He had tried to escape, but escaping God has always been a hopelessly futile proposition. When God called him to Nineveh, Jonah fled in the opposite direction. As fast as his legs could carry him, he took off, flying down to the port to find a boat. It didn’t matter so much where it was headed, just so long as it took him further away from Nineveh!

In the marketplace and along the pier, Jonah searched until he found a ship sailing opposite from God’s directions. They were a rough lot working the ships, but better to cast his lot with them than to accept what God wanted of him. After all, the sailors were just merchants looking to make some money. Nineveh was a hated enemy territory. Its people were widely known for cruelty against outsiders. The stories of violence against their enemies would make the sailors--so ready to face the terrors of the deep--cringe in fear.

Jonah knew he could not hide from Yahweh. Any prophet worth his salt knew that. Even so, he figured he could at least give God a run for his money. The sea was considered an enemy of God’s created order. Perhaps he could slip far enough away into this enemy territory that Yahweh would leave him alone. If God saw how far away Jonah had gone from the intended task, maybe God would give up the chase and leave Jonah in peace. This mission to Nineveh was just too much to accept. It called for too great an adjustment in Jonah’s life. Anything would be better than what Yahweh was asking!

He had grown up with the Ninevites as enemies of his people. They were cruel, sadistic, and vindictive. Their brand of violence sent shivers of terror in the hearts of the surrounding nations. No one wanted to cross them, except with a sword. Come on, who would want to go and ask them to repent and tu ...

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