Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | February 17, 2010

Asleep with the Truth

Reflections on Jonah 1:3-10

Jonah heard God’s call but responded by running in the opposite direction from Nineveh. He did not want to deliver God’s message nor did he want God to show mercy to the notoriously cruel Assyrians. Jonah therefore “went down” to the coastal city of “Joppa” and boarded a ship bound for “Tarshish” (Jonah 1:3) — a city at the southern tip of Spain. God however, did not allow Jonah to run away from his responsibility. Instead, He “sent a great wind” (Jonah 1:4) to intercept the Tarshish-bound ship (see Ps. 135:7 and 104:4). The sailors, probably Phoenicians, became frightened by the “violent storm” (Jonah 1:4). Each sailor “cried to his own god” and then “threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship” (Jonah 1:5). The sailors hoped their prayers combined with practical action would save them from the storm.

Jonah did not hear the panicked cries of the sailors on the upper deck of the ship because he was sound asleep “below deck.” Sadly, God’s only representative aboard the ship was sleeping while others cried out in vain to their false gods for salvation. Today, multiplied millions of people are crying out in vain to impotent gods for salvation. Moreover, millions of people in our world speak a language with no Scripture — not even one book of the Bible in their language. Imagine being a member of one of the people groups that doesn’t have a written copy of God’s universally relevant message. We must not sleep in self-security while so many people have little or no access to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jonah was roused from his sleep by the captain of the ship (Jonah 1:6). The sailors, fearing greatly for their lives, determined by “lots” (see Prov. 16:33) that Jonah was responsible for their “calamity” (Jonah 1:7). They asked Jonah a series of questions (Jonah 1:8). Jonah identified himself as a “Hebrew” (Jonah 1:9), the term by which Israelites were known to foreigners. He told the sailors everything that had taken place between him and the Lord (Jonah 1:10).

Running away from God’s call is tragic and foolish. Like Jonah, believers hurt themselves and others when they disobey God’s call. Some believers run from specific missionary callings. Still others refuse to run with God on mission. Evading our responsibility to share the gospel has tragic consequences. Today, three of every four persons in the world have not accepted Christ as Savior. One of the three unsaved has never even had the opportunity to hear about Him. Every hour, 1,400 people die without ever having heard about Jesus Christ. I am thankful that the person who shared the gospel with me did not evade his responsibility. We must do no less. We must hear and heed God’s persistent call to join Him on mission. What we do with the truth of the gospel is a matter of life and death for those still waiting to hear. So, don’t run away from God and don’t fall asleep with the truth.


Responses

  1. Omar I have not forgot the people of Haiti! Before I missed getting my passport I felt the burning in my heart to not let the world forget these people. I still want to serve the Lord in what ever way I can to help in Haiti. I do not have to see their pain to feel it and I do not have to endure their hardship to help but I want to do something for the Lord in this instance. Some reason I feel I need to be there sacrificing for my Lord I know people can do so much here so reason I feel I dont know why I feel there is something for me there that needs to be done. I dont even know what it is even if its to hold one child or clean one wound or warehouse supplies and one family be helped. My heart cries for them !

  2. Omar, Thank you so much for sharing your adventures. Since moving here to Katy I often questioned God. What did you bring me here for, surely it was not just to have a bigger house and more stuff. After going to India and then signing up for the Perspectives class, my eyes and heart have been opened up to so many things. God is changing and challenging me and I am grateful and excited to continue to Go Beyond!!

  3. Omar-

    Thanks for the posts. I’m keep reading and thinking that I have ‘Nineveh’s here in Bangladesh. Here had many islands/river banks, there were no one’els entered yet and shared Jesus. i will go to those people and share them God! Might be we can do the same, as we did in river in ‘Brahmaputra’ and ‘Jamuna’

    we could do the same, or we could take books and distributes as we did at Sandwip.

    Thanks for inspiring me.

    Mortuza
    Bangladesh

  4. Amen, amen, amen! Ready to go again on the next assignment!


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