February 26, 2009
Jonah fled toward Tarshish to escape God’s plan. The prophet mistakenly thought that ignoring a divine command would cause the Lord to withdraw it. Instead, He repeatedly and dramatically intervened in Jonah’s life until the man submitted.
Jonah believed he had good reason to be reluctant. The Ninevites were a bloodthirsty people determined to conquer Israel. So walking across the city, crying out, “Nineveh will be overthrown” was a frightening prospect. And, as the prophet later revealed, he worried that God would spare the city if the people repented (4:2). Jonah wanted them destroyed! Therefore, his reasons for fleeing seemed right in his own eyes, but God was not deterred.
There is no adequate justification for rebellion. People running from God’s will often use this six-word phrase: “I know what God says, but...” I can tell you with absolute certainty that everything on the other side of “but” is a waste of time. The Lord is not interested in excuses or selfish ambitions. He desires only obedience. He has reasons for asking a believer to take a specific action, and His purposes are always good. Consider the amazing benefit to Jonah and his countrymen if their enemy Nineveh became an ally that worshipped the same God.
The Lord doesn’t change His plan to suit our purpose. Rather, He uses events, people, and the prompting of the Holy Spirit to move us into center of His will. For your own benefit, go willingly. You may not like the task God assigns, but if He wants it done, then it must be worthwhile.
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