Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Jonah 3:3

v. 3 "Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh.  Now Nineveh was a very important city-a visit required three days."

When Jonah was in the fish he said, "What I have vowed I will make good."  The word vow implies a gift of sacrifice.  He wanted to go back to Jerusalem to make a thanksgiving offering, but God told him to go to Nineveh.  This shows that our obedience is more important than the sacrifices that we make.  This probably didn't make sense to Jonah, they were so steeped in the ritual of making sacrifices to God that obedience didn't seem to be the focus in their lives.

Many in Jonah's position at this moment would still choose to ignore God.  After all Jonah had gone through he still did not want to go, but he obeyed God's call.  Sometimes a wake up call does not rouse us to movement or we freeze in place and can't make the first step in obedience.  The enemy is extremely happy for us to stand still in a spiritual coma.  If you are in a moment of rebellion against God, I pray that you will study this important book of the Bible.  Learn from Jonah, so you don't have to be swallowed up by the world into darkness.

Are you amazed that God would choose to use Jonah even after he ran away and his heart still was not in this task he was given, I know I am.  There is no limit on the number of times we are given another chance, although I believe God would like that number to be as small as possible.   

"Oftentimes the greatest hindrance of a new move of God in your life is the last move of God."  Priscilla Shirer

God has His own timing which does not go by our calendar.  Sometimes we are called to an area then when He asks us to move on we don't want to go.  He is constantly stretching out our borders so we can have a greater affect on those around us.  Jonah was a reluctant missionary, he was called to go to a foreign land to speak with those that did not know God.  Sharing God with others should be an underlining mission as a part of our life, not just something we do to get it off of our to do list.

The four steps to reconciliation:
  • admit our sins (that means ALL of them)
  • accept responsibility for your actions, no matter what others do to you
  • ask for forgiveness
  • accept the tasks you are given by God, be obedient no matter what you feel like
In doing this you will be ready for what the world has to throw at you because you are not alone, you have a Father who loves you dearly, you have brothers and sisters around the world who are often in your same situation.  We are a collection of mismatched pieces, when we let God move us, then we can all fit together to make a beautiful picture.  

"When God speaks or allows you to see his hand, giving you the opportunity to participate in His purposes, you don't have an array of options to choose from on how you will respond.  It's clear-cut, plain and and white.  You can either choose to obey or disobey.  No neutral ground."  Priscilla Shirer

This time after being humbled, Jonah obeyed God's command.  This would be funny if he wasn't outright defiant to God.  Just thinking of my kids when I ask them to do something, they resist at first, then after a consequence they have found that they can do what I ask of them, stomping and whining the entire time.  They still have to do what is right, even though they don't want to.  They will learn that if they do it from the start then there will be no consequence.  Life is so much easier this way.  When God puts us in a "time out" we should think about what we did wrong, how it affected those around us and what we could have done differently.  So Jonah appears to be like a child.  Going off of what he wants to do instead of what the Father has asked him to do.  He pulled off a massive fit and his lesson was a massive fish.  I think this is a good example for parents to make the punishment fit the crime.  We are so hard headed that we often pick and choose what we want to do, instead of following the task that has been appointed to us.

Nineveh was 500 miles northeast of Joppa.  If Jonah sold his possessions to pay for his passage to Tarshish then maybe he was without any money for his journey to Nineveh.  I don't know if this is the case, but I'm thinking that Jonah didn't take anything with him when he was thrown overboard.  He may have had to rely on God and the kindness of strangers to make it to Nineveh.  It must have been a difficult trip, looking on the map it shows mountains and desert.  He might have stuck to the coast with it's mountains or went across a massive desert, either way it was not an easy journey.  God will ask things of us that will be difficult, but He will give us the grace to complete the task.

Nineveh was a city of around 600,000 people, an extremely large city for this time period.  Outside the city were towns that were influenced by Nineveh.  It was powerful, wealthy and a very important city.  This city was full of brutality and violence and outsiders avoided it.  Jonah was walking straight into this even though he felt like going the opposite direction.

"A way to determine where our allegiance lies is to consider how we respond to a divine intervention."  Priscilla Shirer

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