2006-04-20 - My Fault
Jonah 1:12 "Pick me up and throw me into the sea," he replied, "and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you." (NIV)
What an amazing moment of faith on Jonah's part. He recognized and admitted his failure - his sin. And he trusted God to deliver the others on the ship if he would commit himself to God. Being thrown into a raging sea during a powerful storm is almost certain death from a human perspective. To even speak the words with any seriousness required an act of honesty, faith and trust in the mercy of God that many of us would struggle mightily with at best. I'm sure Jonah had no delusions that God might not have been merciful to him and ended his mortal life in that storm. If he stayed on the ship, everyone was likely to die.
During a return trip from an amusement park, I was struggling with the sunset in my eyes. I thought I had the right of way and turned to cross traffic to head toward the highway and home. I had misread the signal and turned in front of traffic that had just started to move from their red light. Everyone stopped, and I backed out of the way and things returned to normal. I felt the temptation to make excuses, but the fault was clearly mine. I said something like, "What a dumb thing to do." My sons, who are approaching driving age, needed to know that there is serious responsibility in driving a car and I took it seriously myself. But just as I'm sure there was temptation on Jonah's part to keep silent, temptation was there whispering in my ear.
Sin is very rarely, if ever, an accident. We can put ourselves in situations to succeed or to fail. It is easy to underestimate the enemy, or overestimate our ability to avoid temptation. Being honest with ourselves, like Jonah was with himself, is an enormous step toward overcoming that temptation. Not cutting ourselves off from the world, but surrounding ourselves with faithful friends who will warn us when trouble is near, and tell us things we need to hear even when we don't want to hear it are critical as well. This is another important decision we make in selecting friends. And knowing God's word and His heart that will tell us when sin is near, is absolutely vital.
Be able to say to yourself that you have stumbled, or that you are tempted and in danger. Be open to the caution of your friends. And know God's word so that sin will be evident when it appears.
Grace & Peace,