“But the Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart. Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship. But all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold. So the captain went down after him. “How can you sleep at a time like this?” he shouted. “Get up and pray to your god! Maybe he will pay attention to us and spare our lives.” Jonah 1:4-6 (NLT)
Watching in Silence
In third grade, the class troublemaker disassembled a class display. I stood by innocently watching his mischief—then he ran away from the scene. I picked up one of the pieces to get a closer look—it was at that moment the teacher strolled by. Guess who got in trouble.
That was many years ago, but the lesson is still fresh in my mind—guilt by association is difficult to defend. My teacher refused to listen to my plea for justice. In her mind, I was the culprit. As Kent’s punishment was heaped on me, he stood across the room and watched in silence.
5 Characteristics of God
Jonah decided to run from God. Nestled down in the hold of the ship, Jonah felt secure. As Jonah headed away from Nineveh—away from God’s call—he hunkered down on a ship full of innocent by-standers.
God is about to get everyone’s attention—Jonah’s and the innocent people that surround him.
Before we get any farther in this story, it is important to understand some facts about God. Keep these facts in mind as you read the rest of Jonah’s story and as you look at the events in your life.
God Never Changes
He declared that in Malachi. Unlike the humans He created, God is consistent.
God is Sovereign
It’s an old word not used much anymore. In the vernacular, God can do whatever He wants without answering to anyone.
Those 2 characteristic are not necessarily good. We live in a world of rulers who claim to be sovereign and have only selfish, dastardly motives. God has to be more than simply consistent and powerful.
God is Love
Unlike all the rulers and other humans you know—God IS love. He never changes—He IS love. He rules with all authority from a throne of love.
God is Holy
Holy doesn’t mean that God is like the Church Lady. It means He’s set apart, wholly different. Being holy means He can’t tolerate sin, but in His love made a way to escape the power and penalty of sin allowing the believer to become holy and have a relationship with Him. God’s greatest attention-getting device was the cross where Jesus died. It’s where unholy humanity is made holy.
God is Not Like Human Beings
If there is one thing about God I could make everyone know and understand it would be this: GOD IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER PEOPLE YOU KNOW. God is not even like you. God does not act out of selfish motives. He does not play power games or cruel jokes on His creation. He is not a power-hungry god who wants to lord his power over his weak, groveling subjects. God does not act out in ways the flawed humans in your life do. God IS love. God is good. He knows all, controls all and when the circumstances around you don’t make sense, you must trust that truth.
God sent a huge storm and got everyone’s attention.
Father, give me the desire to know You more deeply. Help me not assign the character traits of humanity to Your pure and benevolent love, mercy and grace. Give me a desire to learn more about You from Your word—Open my eyes to know You.