Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD.
But the LORD hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep. So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.”
(Jonah 1:1-6 ESV)
An Application For Missions: "Understanding and knowing God is paramount in our missional work"
The context for this passage sets up with Yahweh commanding Jonah to take a message of hope and redemption to the nation of Nineveh. However Jonah's response, not unlike our own at times is to flee. He attempts to run away from the presence of God, so that he can run away from the command of God.
It is paramount to note some of God's attributes from this passage to understand our application.
1. God's Omniscience - God knows everything 1John 3:20. "In one simple and eternal act, he fully knows himself and all actual and possible things. He knows all things that exist and all that happens" Wayne Grudem. In this passage "evil has come up before me"
2. God's Omnipresence - God is unlimited with regard to space. "He does not have size or spacial dimensions; he is present in every point of space with his whole being. He cannot be limited by material space because he created it" Wayne Grudem. In this passage Jonah tries to flee God's presence because he believed, wrongly, that God's presence was limited to the land of the Hebrews.
3. God's Omnipotence - There are no limits to what God can do. "Nothing is too hard for you" Jeremiah 32:17. He displayed his power over the sea in this passage causing the great storm to stall Jonah.
Let's apply the application in our understanding of God. If we truly understand and believe the God of the Scriptures then we are rooted, not by emotions or needs, but by the character of God to fulfill the task of spreading His glory among all nations. Let Him who is always faithful be our strength and endurance for serving. No matter what task God has called us to.
It was seven years ago today that I set foot for the first time in Iceland. I remember that day like it was yesterday. When I boarded the Iceland Air plane and sat on the tarmac at the BWI (Baltimore, MD) airport, my heart raced with the joy. I had been praying for Iceland for four years and now for the first time I would get to see the country I had come to have such an affection for. The opening line in my journal for the trip was “God please show me why you have placed the country so heavy on my heart.”
Seven years later, I ponder all that God has allowed me to share in and I weep with joy in this truth. “God has been and is working among the Icelandic people.” My joy has been seeing God do more that I could have ever imagined. I am, along with many others, grateful to share in this journey.
This week Cami and Ben completed their first week of public school in Iceland. They have been welcomed with open arms. Our prayer is that God will allow friends they make today to become brothers and sisters in Christ over the next several years.
Thank you for your prayers and support as we serve in the northern most capital of the world, Reykjavik, Iceland.