Thursday, February 13, 2014

Jonah 3:1-2

v. 1-2 "Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 'Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.'"  

Some scholars believe God commanded the fish to spit out Jonah at Joppa, the piece of land that Jonah had left to run away from God.  Looking at the map of the area the fish could have spit Jonah out up near Turkey so his journey wouldn't have to be as long, but why would God give us a boost if we are in defiance?  Back to square one,  this seems to be a good position for us to reevaluate our decisions so that our path will start to seem clear.  Obedience has to trump our feelings.

"You were created with specific intention and recreated at the moment of your salvation with specific attention to detail so that you would be equipped to walk in the plans God mapped out for you long ago.  You can not reach complete satisfaction in life apart from your decision to engage in His predetermined plans.  For Jonah and for us, this means giving Him the position of prominence in our lives and restructuring our plans so that we can partner with Him."  Priscilla Shirer

God repeated His commission to Jonah, although He said it in two different ways.

First - "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me"

preach against (to make known, to deliver, give earnest advice, in opposition, hostile to, resistance, defense)

Second - "Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you."

proclaim (to announce, to declare, to praise publicly)

Both times God said that Nineveh was great.  I think that Jonah hearing that a second time might have stung his pride a bit more than the first time.  Nineveh was a large city that was very powerful and influential in the area.  Then the wording changed.  First, Jonah was told to preach against them because they were brought before God.  Second, God told Jonah to proclaim the message He would give him.  The second one seems to me to be a message to someone who has been humbled and is ready to follow God's plan.  God's power shows up clearly in this passage.

"We run mentally when we detach our thought life from our tasks and go through the motions.  We run emotionally by building up a callousness displayed by the attitude we show to others.  We can even run spiritually, going through the motions while having no fellowship with Him.  We can be on the run from God's directives even while we are engrossed in them."  Priscilla Shirer

When things are repeated in the Bible that should be a wake up call to all of us.  We should study the reasons why things need repeating in the first place, then we can hopefully let the message sink in so that God does not need to repeat Himself to us.  Even after running away, God still used Jonah.  Sometimes we get hung up on the notion that we are too far gone to be of any use to God.  His love covers all insecurity, if only we would let Him.  If you give God all your mistakes and ask for forgiveness, He completely wipes it ALL away, never to be see again.  That is unless you continue to dig it up because in some strange sense it is like a security blanket that we feel we can never part with.  "Serving God is not an earned position-no one qualifies for God's service.  But God still asks us to carry out his work."  NIV notes

Looking back, Jonah could have gone to another city or just stayed where he was to avoid going to Nineveh.  At God's calling many of us stay put, we do not want to make any changes, especially when we are comfortable where we are.  It will cost us far more than we would ever want to pay to keep in our comfort zone and not follow God.

"When we flee from God's presence, we do a most unusual thing.  We put ourselves in the very spot of punishment.  We find the people who are most subject to bad consequences, and we join them in their negative results."  Priscilla Shirer

Is God calling you to something that you keep ignoring, thinking it will go away?  Don't waste another moment, heed the call from a loving Father who wants to use you to do great things in this world.

"Jonah was involved in ministry as a prophet to Israel and yet, when divinely interrupted, chose to run from God's manifest presence.  He claimed loyalty to God and yet desired no intimate relationship with Him."  Priscilla Shirer


  1. Obedience is so important to our spiritual development yet it often means moving out of our comfort zone. That takes faith, courage and yet as someone once said, "God's blessings lie outside of our comfort zone."

    1. William,

      Obedience is so difficult to follow through on sometimes even if we think that it's easy. Hope that we can all learn from Jonah, I know that I need reminding often.

  2. Great post Amy. I'm reading this same type of message in a book by Kenneth Hagin called Following God's Plan For Your Life. You can't outrun God's plan for your life -- might as well surrender and say -- Lord here I am -- send me. Sometimes we are afraid He's calling us to do a certain thing -- and He just wants us to say OK Lord I will do it -- and then He will let us know -- I'm not calling you to do that -- I just want to know if you are willing and able.

    God bless you Amy.

    1. Renee,

      Thank you for you comments and the book title. I need all the help I can get!

  3. Awesome post Amy, I have been in this very position and I sometimes find myself still running. The thing is I sometimes don't know which way to go. I try to follow God to the best of my ability, but I have had to humble myself and move me out of my own way to hear where He is leading me. I am glad I read this, because it helps to know that God will still use you even when you have tried to run from Him. I love the Lord and I will stay on track this time. I know that God has wonderful thing planed for me, therefore I must be faithful and diligent to His call. Thank you again, my eyes have seen the light.

    1. Michelle,

      Thank you, it's nice to know that we are not alone, we all make the same mistakes turning from God then being humbled again and again. I like what you wrote about moving out of your own way, that is such a huge problem for us. If we just surrender the first time it would be much easier. I pray that you continue on your path following God's call.

  4. Thanks for posting! Obedience can be so hard but also silly that it is so hard because obeying God is so joyful!

    1. I agree Justin, looking back at some of the choices I've made it seems like it would have been so much easier to make the correct choice, yet I kept picking the wrong ones.