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A Big Fish Story - Part 1 of Jonah

Fight, Flight, or Flow? - Jonah 1

There are four keys words and three key principles looking at Jonah 1. I will explore: Flee, Storm, Sleep, and Fish.

The three principles are that you can choose, lose, or cruise.

First, God called Jonah and Jonah fled from God. At least he attempted to flee. God never leaves us without choices. we can choose fight, flight, or flow with His purposes. Fight becomes less and less of an option the more we know God. Flow requires surrender of our will to His. too often, we choose to FLEE.

The principle here is


John was given a mandate from God. It was a call. It was not really an option, but, like any human, it presented an opportunity for choice. jonah's firs choice was to FLEE.

F - FROM God.

The flight is always away from Gid.  You can't resist God's will and enjoy the same fellowship as ever.


It is an absurd idea that we can run from Him. The psalmist said that even in Sheol, God was there.

E - EFFECT on others.   

 As Jonah endangered others, so do we when we disobey. We create chaos all around us.

E - EVIDENT - You can't really hide it. It all hangs out.

There is another acronym possible that helps us understand some of what causes us to have a flight impulse and run from God.:

    F - FEAR - We fear what we don't know and what we do know.
    L - LISTENING to the wrong voice within/
    E - EGO that has gotten out-of-control.
    E - EFFORT- We just don't want to give it.

Fight, flight, or flow, YOU CAN CHOOSE.

Second, when Jonah fled, God sent a STORM. God wasn't being vindictive. He was being insistent and persistent. The principle of YOU CAN CHOOSE must be understood in conjunction with a second principle: YOU COULD LOSE! But you still have choices. God uses storms sometimes to influence our choices. They may come in various ways:

S - SINKING SAILOR SYNDROME - You could go down.

T - TEMPESTS - Sometimes rocking on the waves gets attention.

O - OUTCRY - Sometimes others notice first and cry out to you.

R - REBUKE - Sometimes those same people come to you and speak truth.

M - MAYBE - God will help attitudes around you.

Jonah ignored the storm and went below to sleep. He was oblivious. Unlike Jesus' sleep of perfect peace through the storm, Jonah's was the sleep of denial. look at it. How do we resist the voice of God in storms? The text tells us:

S - SLUMBER -It was real, literal retreat into unconsciousness.

L - LYING to self and others.

E - ESCAPE from reality, but it is not possible.

E - EJECTION becomes the only option.

P - PEACE comes only through surrender.

Note that Jonah, with the option to CHOOSE, would rather LOSE than go to Nineveh.

Third, we see a FISH. the fish is a reminder that while we can always CHOOSE and we may LOSE, we can also CRUISE with the flow of God's purpose and will. You can choose to cruise.

Jonah had resisted profoundly and he was in for a grace cruise. Having been ejected from the ship by his own choice and the reluctant consent of the crew who, by the way, became his first unwitting converts, he is flailing in the water. Then God prepares a FISH and Jonah was on its menu!

F - FIRST time we have ever seen it happen - and the last.  Besides that, Jonah has just had his first converts - the crewmen.
I - IN the water and going down. Jonah was hopeless.
S - SOVEREIGN God decides to give him another chance.
H - HEAVENLY intervention rescues John for a time of refocus.

What is your FISH? You can cruise in it for a while by grace, but even it will bring you back to the point of choice. will you choose fight, flight, or flow?


What is your fish story and how has it transformed your life?

"President Jimmy Carter grew up in awe of nature's wonder. But it wasn't until he first paddled the Chattooga River that he understood the power and majesty of a wild, free-flowing stream. The Wild President tells the story of Carter's pioneering tandem-canoe descent of Bull Sluice Rapid and how the experience transformed his life and politics. "