Absent from His Presence
Have you noticed that people we associate with who could be from work, school, home, friends, a neighbor, or a family member we can take for granted and not realize the influence or blessing they have been until they are absent. All of a sudden your routine goes haywire. How am I going to get my toddler or grandchild to day care without being late for that all important meeting this morning? Working remote has been so convenient for me, but my motivation and manager skills are waning, because you’re not at the office much anymore.
Jonah who was a prophet was a slacker and wanted nothing to do with God’s plan. He thought he was so spiritual and tapped into God’s presence. He could do no wrong. He had a smug spritual front he would put on at times. He could not stand the Ninevites who were evil, immoral, and violent, but God wanted him to go there and share His love and mercy to them so they would repent and turn to God.
You know what Jonah did? He started to make excuses and put on the classic religious front, “I am a Hebrew and I worship God” and took a boat in the complete opposite direction! He was running from God headed for Tarshish. He thought he was absent and far away from His presence, but Jonah realized he wasn’t. At least the sailors on the boat knew something was wrong in the midst of a wild storm out at sea. Jonah could not run away from God’s presence. When we are not right with the Lord, we have the human nature to run from God rather than to him. We try to avoid Him at all costs!
The sailors in the hurricane type storm had to throw Jonah overboard which he told them to to calm the waters. Jonah walked in disobedience, and God’s supply of His presence and blessing left him until he made peace with God. Eventually Jonah did as he prayed to God in the vast ocean waters.
“Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish. He said, “I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and he answered me. I called to you from the land of the dead, and Lord, you heard me! You threw me into the ocean depths, and I sank down to the heart of the sea. The mighty waters engulfed me; I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves. Then I said, ‘O Lord, you have driven me from your presence. Yet I will look once more toward your holy Temple.’
Jonah 2:1-4 NLT
Do you realize God longs to be with us on a daily basis and its not just about a once a week ordeal like going to church or putting on a spiritual front. It was Jonah pride and selfishness that got him in trouble in the first place.
The Lord desires that we make it right with Him and have fellowship with him. Besides we can’t fool God or ourselves for that matter! What happens is we start to live with a lot of pain and this can eventually rub off on others as we saw the sailors become effected. Remember my friend God is never absent from us, we may never lose the ‘reality of His presence’ as His child, but we can lose the ‘sense of His presence’ by doing our own thing running away from Him.
Jonah eventually preached to Nineveh and a great spiritual revival came that city.
May each of us examine our motives and stop making excuses for what the Lord is trying to say in our lives and ministry.
Have a good day and week my friend.