Jonah 1:2 – “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.”
In contrast to the other Prophetic books, this one is focused on the messenger as opposed to the message. Instead of learning from the wrongs of a people, we learn lessons from the wrongs of a Godly servant. Jonah is our example of having a wrong attitude toward God’s will and God’s word.
The word of the LORD had come to Jonah, calling him to take God’s message to a gentile people. Jonah did not like the Ninevites, if fact he detested everything about them and frankly, didn’t want to be anywhere near them. The Syrians were an evil people who had caused great distress and destruction to Israel. This attitude led to Jonah’s first mistake of thinking that God’s request had options attached. God had blessed Jonah with the gift of prophecy and Jonah thought he could use that gift at a time or a place of his choosing. Just to be on the safe side though, Jonah decided to run… to Spain! It amuses me that Jonah thought he could run far enough away from God’s presence that he wouldn’t be made to go through with the task.
When God’s calls you to do something, it is not because there was no-one else available. You may not understand why God has asked you specifically but you can be certain that the call comes with purpose. God has blessed us with gifts and we have a responsibility to use those gifts for his glory. Maybe the task that God has assigned to you feels overwhelming and maybe it even goes against your personal thoughts and feelings on the matter but avoiding God’s will is not the road to take. If you are conflicted, ask yourself, ‘why am I running from this; is God’s will inconvenient for me?’
Jonah thought of God’s will as an inconvenience and decided to reject it, rather than heed it. He had no love for the people of Nineveh but God did and that’s what should have mattered. Jonah’s actions caused him to be as rebellious as those he was called to reach! Our opinions do not alter God’s plans so embrace them and watch the power of God at work.
Lord, help me keep a right attitude to your word and your will. Help me understand that you love those who do evil just as much as those who do good. Help me see beyond the sin to the sinner that needs your salvation. Help me embrace all that you have for me to do. Amen.