Has God ever spoke to you and called you to do something specific for Him?
Maybe it was a calling to the ministry. Or, to teach a Sunday School class. Or, to talk to someone who is grieving. Or, to give to some needy family. Or, to talk to someone about Jesus.
What did you do? Have you always obeyed?
If we do not accept the calling of God, many times we just ignore it; or try to ignore it. At times we simply come up with excuses to say no to God. In any case, when we fail to obey God’s calling, we are being disobedient.
What did Jonah do?
Jonah tried to run away from God, but found that you cannot hide from Him.
Jonah 1:1-3 New International Version
1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.
Read the story of Jonah in the Book of Jonah and discover the punishment that God meted out.
After the punishment of being in the whale’s belly for 3 days, Jonah decided to obey God and go to Nineveh, bringing them a warning.
Jonah 3:1-5 New International Version
1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
3 Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. 4 Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
The Ninevites believed God and were spared from destruction.
Jonah 3:10 New International Version
10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
However, Jonah was not happy about the Ninevites being saved. There was no love in his heart for the people of Nineveh.
Jonah 4:1-2 New International Version
1 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.
Jonah did not want God to be gracious, compassionate and loving toward the Ninevites.
In truth, Jonah wanted them punished and destroyed.
In the case of Judas Iscariot, we find that greed caused him to be disobedient and to sin.
In the case of Jonah, we find that long held anger, resentment and bitterness caused him to be disobedient to God and to sin.
If God were to lead you to witness to someone of a different color, or different country, someone poor, or with a sketchy past, what would you do?
Would you be like Jonah and try to run from the calling? Would you let feelings of anger, resentment and bitterness keep you from showing them the love of Jesus?
Please continue your study of Jonah.
As you study the punishment and lesson learned by Jonah, consider your own life and feelings. Is there anyone or any group of people that you would not share the gospel with?
Hopefully not, but if so, pray that God will help you deal with this and you will desire the grace of God for everyone.