READING: Jonah 1-4
“Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish from the Lord’s presence.”
Many of us know the book of Jonah as only the story of a prophet swallowed by a fish. We understand that Jonah was at first disobedient to God’s call, but I’m not certain we consider enough the depth of that disobedience. He had rejected God’s call to go to Nineveh, and he instead fled via ship toward Tarshish. Not only was he readily willing to flee in the direction away from God’s plan, but he also later fell “into a deep sleep” in his disobedience (Jonah 1:5). Somehow, he found it possible to sleep soundly in his sin. Even the pagan sailors asked him in great wonder, “What are you doing sound asleep?” (Jonah1:6).
Then, while he was willing to confess that he was a follower of “the Lord, the God of the heavens, who made the sea and the dry land” (Jonah 1:9)—thus, one much greater than Baal, considered the god of the heavens—Jonah was also apparently willing to admit that he was rebelling against his God. I’ve known a lot of people living in open rebellion against God, but it’s not often that I’ve talked with folks who openly admit their disobedience. If they do anything, they tend to give excuses to justify their choices. Perhaps it was the storm that brought Jonah to his admission, but it seems as if he were in fact more willing to be thrown overboard to his death than he was to follow God's will toward Nineveh.
Jonah said he feared the Lord, but his actions certainly suggested otherwise. To fear the Lord genuinely is to follow the Lord fully—and Jonah wasn’t there yet. While I pray that my rebellion against God is not at the level of Jonah’s, I must not forget that any rebellion reveals my heart. I want to fear Him and love Him, following Him wherever He wants me to go and doing whatever He wants me to do. Nothing less should be an option.
- Determine honestly whether you are rebelling against God’s will in any area of your life. If so, repent.
- Pray for a people and/or a person that you struggle with loving (as Jonah did with the Ninevites).
PRAYER: “God, I want to love You and love the nations like You do. Help me to live in full obedience to You.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Review and makeup day