Escape from an Inescapable Hand?

Daily Devotion Wednesday July 26, 2017

 

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Image Source: Dawn

 

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“Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you? He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the heaven and the earth, who made the sea and the dry land.”

(Job 1:8-9)

The story of prophet Jonah who tried to escape from God from whose hands no one can escape reminds me of the 1933 American Movie King Kong. I grew up in a tiny village where there is no village ahead, a village which had no electricity until two years ago, so any appliance that requires the use of electricity has been largely foreign to my village. I first watched a movie when I just started my teenage in the mid-90s. As such, the first time I heard about the movie King Kong was at the start of the first year of my high school. I was privileged to have gone to one of the best schools in my district and region then—the Great Metu Secondary School.

Majority of my classmates grew up in the city and other urban areas in Uganda. They had watched series of movies that I knew nothing about. In the first week when I reported to school, we had no classes and no books to read. After super before we could sleep, we often had clicks of boys gathered at different spots making new friends and sharing their experiences and joys of joining a high school. The evening I heard about the movie King Kong left me wondering of the mystic story of “a gigantic, prehistoric, island-dwelling ape called Kong who dies in an attempt to possess a beautiful young woman.”[1]

Fifteen years later at about 30, I watched this movie for the first time and the scene that amazes me is when;

“A Tyrannosaurus threatens Ann, but Kong kills it after a colossal battle by breaking its skull. Driscoll continues to shadow Kong and Ann while Denham returns to the village for more ammunition. Upon arriving in Kong’s lair in a mountain cave, Ann is menaced by a snake-like Elasmosaurus, which Kong wrestles and kills. While Kong is distracted killing a Pteranodon that tried to fly away with Ann, Driscoll reaches her and they climb down a vine dangling from a cliff ledge. When Kong notices and starts pulling them back up, they let go and fall unharmed into the water below. They run through the jungle and back to the village, where Denham, Englehorn and the surviving crewmen are waiting. Kong, following, breaks open the gate and murderously rampages through the village” (Wikipedia).

On her several attempts to escape from the giant pre-historic ape— Kong, Ann has found she was in an inescapable hand. Kong didn’t have to run after Ann, he would only stretch his hand to pick Ann from quite a considerable distance as a man picks his shirt from his bed. I am no fun of King Kong-like movies, but it seems to me that prophet Jonah found himself in an inescapable hand when he attempted to flee away from God just like Ann attempted to flee from Kong.

Jonah attempts to run away from God

God, whom Jonah has described as the God of heaven who has made the heaven and the earth, and the sea and the dry land had sent Jonah to Nineveh to warn to city of their wickedness. He was to proclaim the destruction of the city in forty days. For reasons which Jonah later reveals in his prayer (Jonah 4:1-3), he decided to run away from God—he took a ship to Tarshish instead of going to Nineveh. On this attempted run, Jonah found himself un able to escape from the Lord. God caused a fierce storm in the sea which the sailors failed to manage. They tried everything including throwing away the cargo in the ship but in vain. They finally resorted to a spiritual solution asking all the men and women in the boat to pray to their gods, seeking for a divine help.

However, the man who also is the prophet of the God who created the sea, the God who caused the storm was in his cabin deep in sleep. They woke him up to pray and later cast lot to find out the trouble causer and Jonah was found guilty. Jonah finally reveals his identity, being a Hebrew—one who worships the God of heaven and the sea—more so, a prophet of this God. Immediately the crew knew that Jonah was “running away from the LORD, because he had already told them” (Jonah 1:10).

Jonah asked them to throw him into the sea and the storm will calm, the sea men feared shedding an innocent blood, they tried to save Jonah but the sea grew fierce until Jonah was thrown into the sea. A big fish was ready waiting for Jonah, it swallowed Jonah who spent three days and three nights in the belly of the fish. Jonah realized his mistake, he realized that he was running away from an inescapable hand, and he prayed to God for mercy, “And, the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto the dry land” (Jonah 2:10). Jonah couldn’t escape from the inescapable hand of God.

I have several times behaved like Jonah—attempted to run away from God—but in vain. I have tried to argue and justify my position but in vain. I have argued having been baptized and confirmed and go to church regularly, and saw no need for a personal commitment to Jesus even when I was just religious without any true allegiance to Christ. I attempted to run away from being a pastor to a medical profession even when I clearly heard God calling me to pastoral work. I have tried to give excuses for my run away attempts not knowing that I was in an inescapable hand.

We can never escape from the hand of God. In his experience with God, King David writes:

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there you hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139:7-10).

Dear friend, we cannot escape from God’s hand, we cannot escape from God. Even though sometimes it appears we have managed to escape, but we haven’t; a stretch of his hand alone is enough for him to bring us back.

Clive Staples Lewis commonly known as C.S Lewis, a professor of English Literature at Oxford University until 1954 whose “intelligence was subtle, his curiosity boundless, his acumen amazing, his dialectic power exceptional; yet something came into play that shattered his seemingly firm belief in the inexistence of God, for in life there is always something else, something unforeseen, unnoticed or surprising” (Andrea Monda).

What shattered C.S Lewis’ firm belief in the inexistence of God which Andrea Monda describes “something unforeseen, unnoticed or surprising” is nothing other than the inescapable hand of God. C.S Lewis writes in Surprised by Joy of this invisible but inescapable hand of God in his conversion experience;

“You must picture me alone in that room at Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England” (C.S Lewis).

You cannot escape from God, for it is impossible to escape from his hands. You may try to resist but when God stretches his inescapable hand you cannot help but to surrender. Do not wait until the Lord hurls you into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirl about you as he did to Jonah. Acknowledge him and walk your life’s journey with him. Amen! Rev. J

[1] King Kong (1993 film) from Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Kong_(1933_film) 

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture Quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version (NIV) 2011.

Rev. Julius Izza Tabi is the founding Director of this online New Dawn Ministries. He holds a Master of Philosophy in Religion, Society and Global Issues from the Norwegian School of Theology. Julius also is a pastor in the Anglican Diocese of Ma’di and West Nile of the Church of Uganda who believes that God’s timeless truth of salvation must be preached to all Nations. Help Donate here to support the New Dawn Ministries. You can also support this ministry by purchasing Julius’ popular books Triumphing Over Odds and Suffering and Pain? from Amazon. Thank you.

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