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    by Gino Geraci

Commentary on Jonah 1:10-16
Date Posted: October 25, 2007

Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, “Why have you done this?” For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?” – for the sea was growing more tempestuous. And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.“ Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them. Therefore, they cried out to the Lord and said, “We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You.” So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from it’s raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows”

As I was studying this passage, I wondered why Jonah didn’t just simply repent right at that point? Why didn’t he admit that he was a prophet on the lam from God, who had been given an assignment to go to Nineveh with a message from God? He could have chosen to repent, and told the sailors that if they turned the boat around and went back to Nineveh, they’d be fine. If he had simply made the decision to turn from his sin and turn back to God, the storm would have abated. But he didn’t do that; instead, he asked them to throw him overboard.

At that point, Jonah made the decision to jump ship. It wasn’t the sailor’s idea to throw him overboard; he asked them to do it. In fact, they didn’t take Jonah at his word and attempted to row hard to return to land. Often people who run from God don’t care who gets hurt in the process. At least it was commendable to Jonah that he willing to admit that the sailors weren’t at fault.

Sadly, Jonah was in rebellion to the point that he would rather be dead than obedient to God. This should cause all of us to pause, because you know that people are in serious trouble when you present them with the choice to be obedient to God and live, or disobedient to God and die, and they choose death.

What is your Nineveh?

Dare I ask you, “What is your Nineveh?” What has God asked you to do that you are reluctant to do? Has he asked you to express love, forgiveness, or reconciliation to someone? Has He asked you to go home? Is it serving in the church or going to the mission downtown?

Nineveh represents the place of obedience to God. It is the place of the clear revelation of God in your life. It can be as simple as loving your wife, or respecting your husband. It could be showing kindness and patience to your children. Maybe it’s faithfulness to the Lord and the calling of God on your life. Nineveh could be the place where your hatred and judgment have caused you to neglect God’s love, compassion, grace, and mercy.

Nineveh can be anything you turn into an enemy that keeps you from serving the Lord. It can simply be resistance to the Lord’s gentle urging and calling to change your behavior and become obedient in your actions. Nineveh can be, where, in the quietness of your heart, you rebel, and refuse to obey God when He asks you to give something up, or to let go of a fantasy that brings a certain level of satisfaction into your life. Whatever else Nineveh might be, it is the call of God on your heart and life to make Jesus Christ Lord, and to put Him first above all else.

If God has asked you to abandon a sin, leave an ungodly relationship, or turn from the circumstance you find yourself in, are you willing to do it? The thing that sent Jonah running from God was unwillingness to obey the call of God on his life to a group of people that he hated and despised. What do you suppose initiates the footrace in your life?

Rather than just thinking about it, consider writing it down, and praying about it, asking God to reveal to you why you are running away from what He has asked you to do.

© 2007 by Gino Geraci

(Jonah 1:10-16 NKJV).

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Biography Information:
Gino Geraci is the founding Pastor of Calvary South Denver.

He has served as a police chaplain for several police departments and currently serves as a Police Chaplain for the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Department. Gino has provided emergency service support in many national tragedies. He was a first responder at Columbine High School, Ground Zero in New York, and Platte Canyon High School.

Gino has appeared on scores of national and local radio programs as a guest, including television appearances with Lee Stroebel's Faith Under Fire. He currently hosts a daily radio program with Salem Media in Denver, Colorado area.

Gino is a much sought after conference speaker. He has conducted leadership conferences, Bible conferences, and emergency service support conferences with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Samaritans' Purse, Gospel for Asia in India and Sri Lanka, the Bible League in Africa, Food For The Poor in Jamaica, Mike McIntosh Crusades in Mexico, Somebody Loves You Bible Conferences with Raul Ries in Chile, Columbia and Peru, and pastor's conferences in much of the continental United States.

Gino is currently the pastor of Calvary South Denver where he continues to minister, preach, teach, and serve.
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