Text: Jonah 1:1-3
The book of Jonah begins typically enough. Another prophet, another message of repentance from God to be communicated to the world. It’s like the beginning of a favorite, familiar song opening softly on your stereo…
Then the record screeches to a halt.
In an unprecedented turn of events – the prophet Jonah hears the Lord’s message and… bluntly refuses! He doesn’t simply squirm like Moses and Elijah and Jeremiah when the Lord called them to something beyond their wheelhouse – Jonah straight up does not approve this message. And he is absolutely not going to perform his prophetly duties and convey God’s words to the wandering hearts of the Ninevites.
We know about Jonah, most of us. We know that God called Jonah to preach repentance to a crazy-wicked city and that Jonah disobeyed because he didn’t think these people deserved God’s mercy. But before we read further into this book, I think we ought to break out a map, outlining in black and white Jonah’s heart-and-body response to God’s calling.
(It’s possible that Jonah’s physical journey might look surprisingly similar to some our own heart-journeys.)
Used with permission [source]
Do you see what I see? It takes very little explanation, really. God spoke to Jonah in the general vicinity of Joppa (point A), Jonah barely glances east toward Nineveh (point B), before he boards the nearest boat headed as far west as he can imagine (point C).
Have you ever fled from the Lord? Ever sensed a strong tugging from the Holy Spirit, but chose to run in the opposite direction?
This is where we’ll leave Jonah today.
Where will we find you?
Sisters, I encourage you to sit in quiet for a while right now. Tune out distractions and pray.
Ask the Lord where He has called you and you have not obeyed. Repent of your disobedience and be forgiven.
Consider the places and people to which He has called you and you have responded with obedience. Praise Him for His direction.
Ask the Father where He would lead you now. Who needs to hear the important message of mercy today?
Now, go in obedience! Share the message of God’s mercy that is just as much for the world as it is for your own soul.