He'll Be There

“Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I flee from Your presence?  If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.  If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 139:7-10 NKJV).

            God told Jonah to arise and go to Nineveh.  Well, he did very well with the first part of the command; he arose, but he didn’t go to Nineveh.  Instead he went to Joppa.  He found a ship going to Tarshish and “went down into it from the presence of the Lord” (Jonah 1:3).  To leave the presence of God is always a downward road.  Jonah had forgotten what David knew when he wrote “Where can I go from Your spirit?  Or where can I flee from your presence?”  There was then and there is now no escaping the presence of Almighty God.  There is absolutely no hiding place.  We cannot go where He is not.

            Jonah really turned his back on God in rebellion and refused to carry out the call of God to go and warn Nineveh of impending destruction because of their wickedness.  He descended into the lowest part of the ship and went to sleep!  You would think that he would be deeply troubled by his rebellion, but he lulled himself to sleep by thinking he could flee “from the presence of the Lord.”  He slept through his disobedience.  He didn’t even know a storm was brewing. 


            If Satan can rock us to sleep and sidetrack us from the call of God, we won’t be alert to the storm.  Samson found that out when he woke up from his nap in Delilah’s lap after she had cut his hair, breaking his Nazarite covenant.  He arose and shook himself as before and was shocked to learn that he had compromised his strength for the lust of the flesh. 

            God will use whatever means necessary to awaken us to the danger of being wayward.  The sleeping Jonah wasn’t aware of the danger he and the ship’s occupants were in and had to be awakened by the ship’s captain. They had already cried out to all the gods they knew and abandoned their cargo to the sea trying to appease the demon storm.  The pagan captain, who didn’t even know Jonah’s God, had to tell Jonah to call on his God to save them. 

            Our disobedience makes God look powerless and weak to unbelievers.  Those who don’t know Him judge God by what they see in us.  Paul said we were letters read by all men.  If the church goes to asleep, it will appear that God is sleeping too.  He is the Head and we are His body and do His acts here on earth in the visible presence of the world.  Our heads make decisions, but they need our bodies to carry out the actions.  The body of Christ must be busy about the Kingdom’s business, obeying what God has instructed us to do so the world will know God is not asleep but sees and knows all.


            When Jonah realized he was the cause of the storm that was about to shipwreck them, he made a decision to be cast overboard to save the ship and passengers.  He was no longer sleeping!  We can take comfort in what happened next.  God knew that Jonah was going to attempt to hide from Him in the ship, so He had a “great fish” prepared to rescue Jonah.  It didn’t seem like a safety net during the three days he was jostled in the fish’s belly amid the sea weeds in the depths.  He cried out to God, “I have been cast out of your sight.”  He was in deep trouble and knew it.  Then he “remembered the Lord."

After his ordeal in the depths of the sea, Jonah was ready to pick up his ministry where he left it —preach God’s warning to Nineveh.  God’s first choice for Jonah was for him to go directly to Nineveh, not the circuitous route he took.  We could save ourselves a lot of pain and serious trouble by obeying God at the onset of His call.


            God’s first choice for us is “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2 NKJV).  He is a loving Heavenly Father and wants the best for us.  Initially, God blessed Israel “coming and going” (read Deuteronomy 28).  When that didn’t turn their hearts to serve Him exclusively, He allowed them to be tried and tested by different undesirable means for the purpose of winning their hearts and loyal worship which would be for their own salvation. 


            Jonah could have avoided the whale’s belly by just doing his job.  He could have had the satisfaction, without the sea trauma, of knowing he was instrumental in leading the whole city to worship His God.  They called a fast from the lowliest peasant to the king and repented, causing God to extend mercy and grace instead of judgment because of Jonah’s sermon.  Jonah could have completely avoided walking the plank into the ocean into the gaping mouth of the fish and ending up “in the whale’s belly.”

            Thankfully, mercy lets us pray in the whale’s belly.  We have all been “cast out” because of our sins.  It is tragic to think about people who are lost in the bottom of the sinking ship, fast asleep, doomed and destined for eternity without God and totally unaware of the danger because they have ignored God.  We need to awaken them to the danger and show them how they can be rescued before their ship sinks.  God will hear every prayer no matter how deep the fish has taken us and Grace will bring us to the shore with restoration, not because we deserve it but by His Grace and Mercy.  Jonah wasn’t saved because he deserved it, but by Grace and Mercy in action.  God knew where he was all the time and held him in His love until he woke up.


            Don’t wait so long in rebellion or hesitant service that God has to let your ship sink or have a great fish swallow you.  Avoid the whale’s belly by obeying the call of God to go first to Calvary and if necessary to Nineveh.  The next stop will be Home!


  Points to Ponde

Everyone is called to be a witness for Jesus.  God assigns our stations, and then it is up to us to go where duty calls and faithfully serve.  That doesn’t necessarily mean Africa or some other foreign place; it may be where we get up in the morning or where we work or play.

Obedience makes it easier to serve at our post.  Obedience is a sweet savor to God and makes life sweet for us!  Hardships may come and, we might find ourselves sailing on a rough sea with great fish; but to know we are in God’s will produces peace in the midst of the turmoil.  It might be necessary to dump some of our “stuff” overboard, but we will just be rewarded more abundantly.

The circuitous route Jonah took, like Israel on the way to the promise land, was due to his disobedience and lack of faith in God.  He didn’t follow the Plan, but he thought he was safe going to Tarshish “from the presence of the Lord.”

Jonah ended up where he was supposed to go but not before he had gone through a “whale” of a lot of trouble.  He found it wasn’t possible to go “from the presence of the Lord.”

Other people are dependent on us to fulfill our ministry faithfully, even if they don’t know it.  When we fail God, it affects other people’s lives as well.  We really are “our brother’s keeper.”

Like the prodigal son who “came to himself” in the pig sty, Jonah reckoned with his dilemma in the belly of a fish, fighting seaweed.  It was time to move.  God was ready with the remedy as soon as Jonah was ready to obey.

Jonah could have been home much sooner if he had taken a direct route to Nineveh instead of trying to go to Tarshish.  He didn’t make it to his intended destination; God rearranged his itinerary.

The sin of disobedience will take you farther than you wanted to go, charge you more than you intended to pay, keep you longer than you intended to stay and require more from you to leave than you expected.

God is a second-chance God, again and again.  All He wants is a repentant heart that loves Him even when it’s going the wrong way, but willing to reverse the direction.

David was a man close to God’s heart because God saw him as a man “who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22).  We may not do it perfectly, but if we are willing and obedient to follow the Lord, He will see us as perfect; because He sees Jesus in us. 

Don’t be afraid to go where He sends you; He’ll be there!

"Vaja con Dios"  (Go With God)!





He’ll be there when our friends are gone.

He’ll be there when we’re all alone.

He’ll be there when harsh words are spoken.

He’ll be there when our hearts are broken.

He’ll be there.

He’ll be there when we sometimes stumble.

He’ll be there when our dreams all crumble.

He’ll be there when the earth is quaking.

He’ll be there when fear has us shaking.

He’ll be there.

He’ll be there when love again abounds.

He’ll be there when our friends are all around.

He’ll be there when our hearts have mended.

He’ll be there when our star has ascended.

He’ll be there.

He’ll be there when our steps are sure.

He’ll be there when our faith is pure.

He’ll be there when the our world calms down.

He’ll be there when our faith comes ‘round.

He’ll be there.

He’ll be there when the trumpet sounds.

He’ll be there when we leave the ground.

He’ll be there when all the saints arise.

He’ll be there when we reach the skies.

He’ll be there!

He’ll be there when all our trials are o’er.

He’ll be there!

He’ll be there when we walk Heaven’s shore.

He’ll be there!




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