“The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it because its wickedness has come up before me.’ But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for the port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.” – Jonah 1:1-3
As we continue this month to look at Old Testament characters who displayed great courage, we come to the story of Jonah. Jonah is someone you might be able to relate to, because he too, at first, struggled to go outside of his comfort zone.
Jonah was a Hebrew prophet from Gath Hepher, a village near Nazareth. He knew God. He walked with God. He heard from God. The Lord made Jonah a prophet and also gave him the privilege of delivering the good news that Israel would experience a time of safety and prosperity in 2 Kings.
Jonah loved God and was a prophet of God, but there came a point where the Lord called Jonah out of his comfort zone. He called him to that invisible border in Jonah’s life where we see his “YES” turn into a “NO.” What we saw was Jonah’s obedience to God quickly shift to disobedience.
Jonah 1 begins with a command from God for Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh. God wanted Jonah to preach against the city because it had become a wicked place. But Jonah did not want to do this, and so he ran from God.
Though God had blessed Jonah in many ways, when it came time to step outside of what was comfortable, he was unwilling to do so. He wanted to stay where he was at. But while Jonah might have been comfortable, he was also being disobedient.
We will see in the coming days that Jonah’s disobedience led to serious consequences. It was easy for Jonah to ride with God and follow Him when everything was going well. But what about during the uncertain times? What about when it came time to go somewhere Jonah wasn’t used to?
Now, would you have done the same? Maybe you worship God when He blesses you or when He answers your prayer request. But what about when times get hard? What about when God says “no?” What about when God asks you to go somewhere unfamiliar and uncomfortable? If you want to be obedient and serve God’s ultimate purpose, you can’t just pick and choose when to say yes and when to say no.
If you are to be obedient, say “yes” to God all the time!