Proverbs 10:22 “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.”
God has a “plan” for your life. His plan is one that brings joy, peace and an abundance of blessings. In fact, the Bible describes it this way in Proverbs 10:22, “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.” To choose to ignore God’s plan for your life is to endure a life of regret and heartache. God puts it this way in Proverbs 13:15, “Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.” Ron Haskins’ March 13, 2013 Op-Ed “Three Simple Rules Poor Teens Should Follow To Join The Middle Class”, published on the Brookings’ Institution’s online website (brookings.edu) states some simple principles everyone should follow to avoid poverty. “Let politicians, schoolteachers and administrators, community leaders, ministers and parents drill into children the message that in a free society, they enter adulthood with three major responsibilities: at least finish high school, get a full-time job and wait until age 21 to get married and have children.” Ron Haskins goes on to say, “Our research shows that of American adults who followed these three simple rules, only about 2 percent are in poverty and nearly 75 percent have joined the middle class (defined as earning around $55,000 or more per year).
The sad part is there are many young people who have chosen the way of the transgressor and they find out that choices have consequences. If I defy the principles of God’s Word it leads to bad consequences (guilt, no joy, lack of peace, single parenthood, sexually transmitted disease, addiction, severed family relationships, loneliness, violence and poverty).
It’s interesting to note that Jonah (a Prophet of God) would disobey the command to preach the Word of God to Nineveh. He clearly heard God’s call and knew what was expected of him. Here is a Prophet who refuses to speak on behalf of God. What in the world is Jonah doing when he calls himself a Prophet but refuses to preach God’s Word?! Young person, if you are a Christian then you belong to God. His Word says that very thing in I Corinthians 6:20, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” You no longer belong to you! If you choose to do it “your way” then rest assured God has some things prepared for you, just like he had some things prepared for Jonah.
First, God prepared a WHALE to get Jonah’s attention. Jonah 1:17 says, “Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and nights.” Matthew 12:40 says, “for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly:…”. God prepared a whale to put Jonah “on his knees” for 72 hours. Young person you don’t want God to prepare a whale to get your attention. The stomach of a whale has Hydrochloric acid and there is no doubt Jonah came in contact with that chemical. Hydrochloric acid has a distinctive pungent smell. It’s said that this acid attacks the skin and if you were to inhale this acid it produces nose, throat and laryngeal burning, irritation, pain, inflammation, coughing, sneezing, a choking sensation, shortness of breath, need I go on…I can…because it continues! Jonah’s rebellion to God’s plan brought him to a place of pain and regret. In fact, his sin literally caused him to “stink”! Imagine what the skin and hair of Jonah would have looked like when he exited the belly of the whale. I would imagine Jonah no longer looked like he did “pre-whale”. That’s exactly what sin does for us when we choose “our way”. Now one would think Jonah learned his lesson and that the whale would have been enough, but while he did get right and go preach in Nineveh, his heart never got truly right with God “post-whale”.
Second, God prepared a WEED to comfort Jonah “post-Nineveh revival”. Jonah 4:6 says, “And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So, Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.” If you were to read the context of Jonah chapter 4 you would see that Jonah is angry with God. Yet even in Jonah’s anger towards God…who by the way saved Jonah from suicidal drowning and then gave him a second change at ministry and life…then God blesses him with some shade from a gourd (weed). How many times we have not been right with God and yet He blesses us anyway? Too many times to count and I’m grateful He doesn’t give me what I deserve!
Third, God prepared a WORM to convince Jonah of who is really in control. Jonah 4:7 says, “But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.” As quick as God can bless you, he can just as fast remove His Hand of blessing upon your life. God would use a worm to destroy the very weed (gourd) that gave Jonah comfort in the shade. Keep in mind that everything in this life comes from God. If we take credit for anything let’s be honest and say that it was our poor decisions that got us into the belly of a whale. It’s only by the grace and mercy of God that we get a second chance or get some comfort from the LORD. If we think we did anything then watch how God begins to send worms into your life and remove the blessings you’ve enjoyed.
Lastly, God prepared a WIND to chastise Jonah. Jonah 4:8 says, “And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.” Here we see Jonah suffering because the sun zapped him of all energy. He might have been dehydrated or had early stages of sun poisoning because the Bible says, “he fainted”. What I see from this point is Jonah was more interested in His PERSONAL PLANT than he was in PEOPLE. Jonah 4:10 says, “Then said the LORD, Thou has had pity on the gourd, for which thou has not labored, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:” While Jonah cared more for personal comfort God cared more for people getting right in Nineveh. Jonah 4:11 says, “and should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?”
Young person, God has a plan for your life. Your life needn’t be wrapped up in personal plants but in the people you touch! God has a plan for you…will you follow His plan or your plan?
Pastor Jeff Harris
Anchor Baptist Church | Hilton, NY