Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD.
(Jonah 1:1-3 ESV)
Three verses to open a chapter, but these verses have so much to say about who we are and what we do with our lives once you take a deeper look into them. Here we are back in the middle east, Jonah the prophet has been prophesying that Israels borders will be returned to their former glory and God says, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” God is giving Jonah a command. God is speaking which means this is God’s Word. The one whom created the universe in 6 days and took a break on the 7th. You figure God speaks to you, you quickly listen and obey.
Just as we see God calling Jonah here, God has called us to go and make disciples of other nations. God has given us a calling to go or as we go. but yet we ignore it on a constant basis. God calls us to simple tasks, such as praying for someone, sharing the Gospel with someone, or even just be good stewards in ministries in our church. God sometimes calls us to something like He call Jonah to. He called Jonah to go to Nineveh, it was the greatest city in all the middle east at that time. The people there were known for their aggression and military strength. These people have the “good life” as one could say. But here is God saying the cities evil has came up before Him. He is calling this plain out evil. Notice that God is saying Love the sinner hate the sin here, He is pointing at the city and its people. Its the people who are being condemned because of their sin. Nineveh was on the edge of oblivion and God was assigning one man to go and ask them to repent. That man was Jonah.
Now you would think, God call him to this, he is a man of God, he is a Prophet. He is going to go with unwavering faith. But here is a fact that many don’t state about Nineveh, it was Israels number one enemy at the time. Was Jonah excited about this fact. Of course He wasn’t. He would prefer all the people be wiped from the planet as we will see later in this book. So what does Jonah do. He runs. Now think about this the idea of running away from God. A man has to think very highly of himself if he thinks he can escape the presence of the creator. No only is he running, but he is running the opposite direction of Nineveh. He has made his choice. He wants nothing to do with this He is heading for the Mediterranean sea and out towards a town call Tarshish which was possibly located near Spain.
How does this apply to us you might wonder. How often do we run from God, thinking oh He has commanded me to spread the Gospel but anytime I have the chance I find a reason not to do it. How often do we run when we have a chance to pray with someone who might need it at that moment. How often do we run from God thinking we can escape his presence. We have our Tarshish, its a fantasy land of places were we live how we want to live outside of God’s sight and commandments. Just as Jonah we like to run.
So my challenge for this week is what is God calling you to dothat would allow you to instead of run away from something that god is calling you to do. But instead grasp it and do just as the Holy Spirit is leading you. That is my prayer for you this week, that you would find something that God has laid on your heart and you act on it. Thanks for reading
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