Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, & Micah: Day 16

Jonah’s Call

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Today's Text: Jonah 1:1-17, Psalm 104:24-26, Matthew 12:38-42

Scripture Reading: Jonah 1:1-17, Psalm 104:24-26, Matthew 12:38-42

Pulling the coarse blanket tighter and rolling over, Jonah sighed as he sank deeper into sleep. The warm dark cabin around him creaked and groaned as the waves outside surged with increasing intensity. The sailors above deck scanned the horizon and glanced anxiously up at a grey sky heavy with the strength of the Lord Almighty. God was coming for Jonah.

The prophet was running away, but God pursued him like only the Creator and Lord of the sea could: with a furious ocean tempest. Jonah tried to flee from the very presence of the Lord, thinking he could hide if he found an old boat heading in a new direction.

But God is fierce and awesome in His pursuit. Jonah never had a chance of hiding. Even the inanimate dice the sailors used to cast lots pointed him out as the one running from God (Jonah 1:7). God had called to Jonah, “Get up! Go” (Jonah 1:2), and now all creation seemed to be shouting, “Return!” God uses wind and waves, even dice—everything in creation stands by to obey its Creator. In the face of the deafening storm and sure signs, the sailors feared for their lives, and looked to Jonah with eyes of blame and hands ready to heave-ho.

God’s pursuit is relentless exactly because He is so loving. He could’ve crushed Jonah under a tremendous sea surge and found another man. Jonah had his chance, and he clearly took the coward’s way out, right? God gave him a clear instruction (something we all long for), and Jonah ran like a frightened child in the other direction. Why didn’t God give up on Jonah?

God wanted Jonah. Goodness, isn’t that amazing? I sometimes feel like I’m a substandard version of the person who should actually be living my life. And the truth is, I do fall short. I do worry that there is someone who would be a better mother to my kids, wife to my husband, friend to my friends. But despite my imperfections and failings, I am the best mother for my children, wife for my husband, and friend for my friends. God gives specific callings to specific people (Ephesians 2:10). That means God wants me for my particular calling and life.  

We can’t escape God and His storm gale of purpose. He pursues us with love that is filled with a beautiful intensity unlike anything else we have ever known.

“Where can I go to escape your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.”
- Psalm 139:7-8

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  • “God provided a whale”. Have we ever looked at it that way before? That God didn’t just “let” a whale swallow Jonah and “let” Jonah make the best of it, NO. Our Good and Gracious God PROVIDED A WAY when there was no obvious way. He didn’t let Jonah drown to the depths for his sins, NO. He provided a new way out, and even if it took sitting in the stench of a whale’s belly for three days – our God has made a way. Lord that we would be quick to find your provision in the midst of every circumstance in life! Let us see and acknowledge your handiwork, knowing no sin we get entangled in can stop You from pursuing us in your relentless love. Thank you for this love. Thank you for providing a way!

  • Julia Anthony

    Yes is my heart response h in relation to Jonah’s journey with God. It’s been roughly about 3 months now and thsee scriptures keeps on highlighting these truths to me. Many seasons in my life the holy spirit will give me specific songs to sing. I love singing and dancing to Abba and He tends to respond in melodies sounds and lyrics to me. So I guess in my limited way and trusting in Abba’s wisdom I will express these scripture to you all the way I do to Father.
    I have been running away only to find I’m running to you God. I try to hide only to find you’ve been my hiding place. Now I’m sitting in the belly of the whale and I’m saying yes Lord. I don’t know what to do but I trust in you God. I don’t know where to go but God you’re the next step. Now I’m saying yes yes yes Lord.
    In my child likeness I believe God has called me to many different areas in demonstrating His love in me to others. Like a picture puzzle and I need to trust in His faithfulness to lead me and guide me every step of the way. But like a storbborn child I have been trying to run and hide only to find myself in His presence and desiring more of His manifested presence time and time again. Yet still trying to run away and hide until everything seems to go wrong and my heart longing more and more for him. It seems to me I have spent 11 years of my salvation journey determined to run away as He brings me deeper into the things of Him. Now I am saying yes to God without knowing the details but willing to trust and obey. Please pray for me to remain steadfast and to be as determined in saying yes to Abba all my days even much more that I have been in trying to run and hide the 11 years I’ve been His child. My greatest desire is to love others like He has loved me.

  • Julia Anthony

    Yes is my heart response h in relation to Jonah’s journey with God. It’s been roughly about 3 months now and thsee scriptures keeps on highlighting these truths to me. Many seasons in my life the holy spirit will give me specific songs to sing. I love singing and dancing to Abba and He tends to respond in melodies sounds and lyrics to me. So I guess in my limited way and trusting in Abba’s wisdom I will express these scripture to you all the way I do to Father.
    I have been running away only to find I’m running to you God. I try to hide only to find you’ve been my hiding place. Now I’m sitting in the belly of the whale and I’m saying yes Lord. I don’t know what to do but I trust in you God. I don’t know where to go but God you’re the next step. Now I’m saying yes yes yes Lord.
    In my child likeness I believe God has called me to many different areas in demonstrating His love in me to others. Like a picture puzzle and I need to trust in His faithfulness to lead me and guide me every step of the way. But like a storbborn child I have been trying to run and hide only to find myself in His pres

  • So encouraging, I have been praying about this! Thank you for the post

  • This was such encouragement today. It’s easy for me to forget, in the face of my life, that God doesn’t make junk. I am his masterpiece. Now. And always. And I am becoming.

  • Kristin Erickson

    Does anyone struggle with doubting their calling from God? I have been called to be an actress and at one point it was so very clear that God was calling me to this. Work was coming regularly and I felt I didn’t even need to try, it was definitely his divine works in play. The more work I got I realized I tried to take my career/calling into my own hands. I’ve tried so hard to control it. Now, with work being more sporadic and not coming as frequently (which is the nature of the business), I have started to doubt, doubt everything really but more importantly doubt his calling on my life. It’s a terrible feeling when you feel misguided or you have lack of direction. I continue to pursue my calling cause I still get little nuggets of guidance, they just aren’t big nuggets like they used to be. Any of you ladies experience something similar? How do you respond to your own doubts?

    • Maria

      I have done a lot of praying and soul searching on my calling Kristin. Looking back at my career, I now think that I used “how things were going” as a measure of God’s calling for me. Something great would come my way as an answer to prayer then when it became difficult or rocky I would have doubts and take it as maybe this wasn’t my calling. But maybe God was trying to teach me something through those difficult times and wanted me to stick it out when I ended up abandoning my direction. The most clarity comes to me in times when I search the verses in the Bible that mention “God’s will….God’s calling…God’s purpose…” and pray through those words then spend time listening (the sitting and listening part is really hard for me). I still can’t say I have the answers but I am now more open to laying my life in front of God for Him to use me at His will.

      • Julia

        Thank you for this encouragement! I was literally just praying about this!

      • Kristin Erickson

        Thank you Maria! That helps a lot! I like the sitting and listening part, we can forget to do that so easily. God bless!

  • Uh, this is so comforting. The knowledge that even when I feel like I’ve missed an opportunity, or have dropped the ball, that God is sovereign– that he doesn’t give up on me, or “adjust” his calling for me. He has known my very footsteps all along, bringing Kindom-building, evil-killing goodness out of even my misfires. Oh, such arrogance, thinking we are integral enough to screw things up. Sin still hurts us and others when we fall to it, but God is already a hundred steps ahead with purpose to bring out of the pain– if we have humble hearts, eyes to see, and ears to hear.

    • Kristin Erickson

      “The knowledge that even when I feel like I’ve missed an opportunity, or have dropped the ball” – I have felt this SO many times – “that God is sovereign – that he doesn’t give up on me, or “adjust” his calling for me.”
      Oh man, Amen to that! Said so perfectly! Needed to hear that!

  • Jessica cebc

    Great reminder that I am the best person for the life I’m living.

  • Diane Huntsman

    Oh goodness! Such revelation this morning! I too am a runner! If I don’t feel valued or needed I will run from you! I will ignore the call of God to invest in the people He’s placed in my life if I don’t get the response from them I want! Jonah ran bc he did not want to deal with the people he deemed unworthy.. he didn’t want them to get the chance God wanted to give them.. he was in full blown rebellion against Gods call upon his life.. I am more subtle in my running though.. I just begin to pull back.. to check out.. to silently pout bc I don’t feel needed.. this too is running! This is succumbing to my feelings and not digging my heels in and being who I need to be to the people God has called me to reach.. to love.. to make a difference in their lives! I am selfish like Jonah, I only want to minister to the people that I want to minister to.. what a fool I’ve been! So thankful for revelations through Gods truths! Lord help me and my sisters obey Your call on our lives NO MATTER HOW WE FEEL!!

  • Ashley BB

    Perfect soundtrack to todays study:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Etzh_znWHnM

    • Alexis

      Beautiful song! Thank you for posting the link. As you said, perfect song for today<3

  • Deb Thompson

    God gave him a clear instruction (something we all long for), and Jonah ran like a frightened child in the other direction.!!!!! Wow!!! How often do we think that is the answer to all of our problems. If we only knew what God was doing. If only He would just tell me exactly what He wants from me then i will do it. Oh, we! of little faith! Our relationship is tied specifically to FAITH! We must have faith and follow. I’m so glad he pursues me even when I fail to follow, even when my faith is small and even when it’s not what I want.

  • Kristen Clegs

    I needed to be reminded that only genuine love is relentless. In spite of Jonah’s fears and weaknesses, God wanted him. God insisted on using him to complete a great work – not because Jonah was great, but because God can use anything, thru His power. Even me. I am Jonah.

  • “I sometimes feel like I’m a substandard version of the person who should actually be living my life”
    I feel this. Especially when it comes to leading worship at church. I feel like the people deserve someone better. Someone who’s more confident and gifted. But for some reason God has me up there. At least for this season, He wants me. Thank you for the encouragement this morning!

  • “That means God wants me for my particular calling and life.” Good word!!

  • Katalina

    Such a beautiful reminder. I know God has called me to do great things in life. He has made me promises that I have seen being kept. He does not leave anything incomplete and whatever work he has started in both me and you, He will finish. He has called you to do great and be great. You are here for a reason, something I struggled to understand. But He has been with me through every step of my journey and He’s calling out to you my sisters ❤️ Receive what He has planned for you with open arms!

  • I’ve sometimes wondered why God seems to pursue some folks as He pursued Jonah and others not so much? I’ve know people who God continued to call and put people in their path to draw them to Him. Others seem so uninterested and distant. Does He pursue all of us the same way or are there some who He really does call more intensely than others? As many of you have said, I have family members who are far from God and not at all open to following Him. On the other hand, my father was, in his words, hounded by the Holy Spirit until he relented and God used him mightily. I pray that God will put people in the path of my loved ones and maybe He has called me to be in someone’s path and I have not obeyed. May I have the courage and be obedient to His calling. This is a rambling message, but just something on my heart. I love you ladies! Thank you for listening to my troubled heart.

    • Rachel

      I think there is a difference between already knowing and having a relationship with God and Him then asking you to do something (ex. Jonah & the Old Testament prophets) vs. a non believer being pursued by God. Also, post Pentecost we now have the Holy Spirit prompting believers and working on non-believers hearts. Other than that I have to believe a few things: 1. God is loving – he wants all to come to him 2. He is just – he will not tolerate sin 3. He knows what he is doing. I can’t understand it all because I’m not God (thankfully). So I trust these things & hope to be apart of the Kingdom work he has in store through and around me while I’m here on earth. So maybe that doesn’t answer a tough question but it does leave us truth to stand on, and it’s a firm foundation.

  • churchmouse

    I have not been called to go to godless warring nations but I have been known to duck and weave from speaking to far less hostile people. Like Jonah, I avoid confrontation and conflict. Like Jonah, I profess “I worship the Lord, the God of the heavens, who made the sea and the dry land.” But what is my worship when I disobey His clear Word to “Get up! Go…”? I hesitate. I keep quiet and I stay put. I don’t find myself in the belly of a great fish but my conscience is surely tempest-tossed with guilt and shame. Ugh. Finally I yield (not always and usually reluctantly, let’s be honest). The outcome (which is God’s business) is less important than my obedience. Help me to trust you, Lord. Help me to say yes, Lord . Help me to move. Sooner. Amen.

    • ~ B ~

      Lovely words, as usual! And thank you for the ongoing prayers Churchmouse! They ARE like a staff! ❤️

    • kathy

      “The outcome (which is God’s business) is less important than my obedience.” Love this! It is so true and so many time I worry more about the outcome than whether or not I’m being obedient no matter the outcome. Thanks

    • Cecilia

      Outcome is less important than my obedience…I think I am going to add this to my affirmations. Thank you!

  • churchmouse

    Oh Jonah. I avoid confrontation and conflict also. I have not been called to go to a godless warring nation like Nineveh but I certainly duck and weave from far less hostile people. I have heard “Get up! Go…” and I have hesitated. I have decided that what God was asking was too much for me, too uncomfortable. Surely God was choosing the wrong person this time. So I kept quiet and I stayed put. I didn’t find myself in the belly of a great fish but my conscience was surely tempest-tossed with guilt and shame. Like Jonah, I professed “I worship the Lord, the God of the heavens, who made the sea and the dry land.” But what is my worship if I then disobey His clear word ? Does not my God, the creator of all, know what He is doing? Oh. My. Foolish me. His Spirit nudged and pushed until I (reluctantly, let’s be honest) put on my shoes and went. The outcome (that was God’s business) wasn’t nearly as important as my obedience. God wanted me to get up and go. Me. Move. Lord, help me to overcome my hesitancy, my reluctance. Help me to trust You. Amen.

  • “I sometimes feel like I’m a substandard version of the person who should actually be living my life.” I could have written these words. I have struggled my entire life with feeling like I am not enough. I know in my head that that is a lie from Satan, but so many times my heart believes it. “But despite my imperfections and failings, I am the best mother for my children, wife for my husband, and friend for my friends. God gives specific callings to specific people. That means God wants me for my particular calling and life.” I can’t begin to tell you how these words spoke to my heart. They are exactly what I needed to hear. God wants me. He wants you. He has put us where we are because we are the best person for that place. I have never thought of it from that perspective – from God’s perspective.
    Papa God, thank you for this. Keep my heart tender and obedient. Help all of us remember that when You call us to something it’s because You know that we are the best person for that calling. You are so good and so awesome and I love You so much.
    Be blessed, sisters!

    • Kay

      Thank you for this, Kathy! I have spent most of my life deriding myself for not being better at the things set before me. It is only during the past year or so that I have come to accept God made me the way I am; I realized that if I doubt myself constantly, then I am also doubting the Lord. Praise God for our callings and the way He made us perfectly to fulfill them!

    • Karen S

      My thoughts exactly! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • Katalina

      I relate to this so much Kathy! Thank you for your words!

    • PursuedByHim

      “God wants me. He wants you. He has put us where we are because we are the best person for that place. I have never thought of it from that perspective – from God’s perspective.”

      God’s perspective…I needed to read this today. Satan has convinced me I am a terrible friend, that’s others are much better at being a friend than I am.

      God made me the way I am, and I am being a good friend as me. Not that I can’t improve, and that is where Satan gets me.

      Father, you don’t make mistakes. Please keep me strong for your glory.

    • Rachel

      “You’re the girl for the job!” – one of the main points and one of my favorite take-a-aways from Dance Stand Run! It comes out next week and y’all should get yourself a copy!!! <3

  • Jonah was called to get up and go do the work of the Lord. Life was not about whatever Jonah had for plans, it was about the glory of God. In Romans Paul tells believers the sun is risen and we must be about the Lord’s work (13:12). I don’t think I want to wait for “a sign from the Lord” in the same way the People criticizing Jesus did.

    We serve an amazing and loving God who holds every nation and every bit of nature in His hand.

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