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Rowing against the waves


Jonah 1:13-16 “13Instead the sailors tried even harder to row the boat ashore.  But the stormy sea was too violent for them, and they couldn’t make it.  14Then they cried out to the Lord, Jonah’s God.  “O Lord,” they pleaded, “don’t make us die for this man’s sin.  And don’t hold us responsible for his death, because it isn’t our fault.  O Lord, you have sent this storm upon him for your own good reasons.”  15Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the stormed stopped at once!  16The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him.”NLT


There are so many messages in these four verves that I could preach on them for a week; verse 13- the power of God, verse 14- the plea of the humbled and frightened sinner, verse 15- the majesty of God, verse 16- the spiritual awakening, and then there is- God using one persons disobedience to bring others to salvation.  But I want to look at all four verses together and put them in perspective to our daily lives.  How many times do we try to row our boat one direction and God’s mighty power is holding us back because He knows what’s best for us or maybe what danger is around the corner that we are not aware of?  How many times do we plea with God, “O Lord, I’m doing my part, I’m rowing as hard as I can, now I beg you to do your part.” (By the way, where did the saying, “God helps those who help themselves” ever come from?  I can’t find it in my Bible.)  How many times when we are trying to row our boat from point a to point b and the storm is carrying us from point a to point c, do we recognize that God is still on the throne and still in control?  I challenge you to take a look at the direction you are trying to go in life, the goals you have set.  Have you sought God’s will and asked for his direction?  If it seems like you are being pulled a different direction, maybe that is God intervening.  How many times when God answers our prayers or does a miracle, do we not recognize it and take it for granite?  How many times when God brings us through the storm and causes the waves to cease, do we say “God, thank you for being in control, I offer all I have and all I am to You because You are my God” and then go through with it?  I heard a preacher give an illustration once of a man who fell overboard at sea and cried out to God, “Please save me I’m drowning.  If you help me God, I will serve you always.  I will go to church every Sunday.  I will give 10% of all I have to the poor.  I will not cuss or drink anymore.”  About that time he realized that the whole time he was pleading with God, the waves had carried him very close to shore.  So he yelled out, “never mind God, I don’t need your help after all”.  That sounds funny, but take a good look at your life, do you ever have times when you’re being carried to shore and think it is just by chance?