Hi, I’m Jonah Amittai…
Yes, that same one you’ve probably read about [if you do read your Bible]. Yes, the man that thought he could run away from God.
Whenever you read my story, how do you react? Do you see me as a bad guy? The guy that didn’t want to do what God said he should do?
Anyway, before you castigate me, will you hear me out?
I had my reasons, you know, just like you do too.
I love God. Really, I do. And if you’ve read your Bible so well, you would know I was a prophet – that means I had gone on several assignments for God in the past. So I was a pretty good guy. If I lived in your days, maybe you would call me a pastor or an evangelist. But everyone has their low points too.
When God asked me to go to Nineveh to speak against it, I didn’t want to go.
For God’s sake, these people were enemies of my country! Isn’t it shooting oneself in the foot having to deliver alone a not-too-pleasant message to an enemy country? They could kill me!
And Nineveh was a very big city. And far – a three day journey – and I had to walk. In. the. Sun. That wasn’t nice. I rather go on a cruise with friends – we had been planning that vacation for months!
And I actually knew God would forgive them if they turned away from their wrong doing. So what’s the point?
Now let’s see it this way: take your eyes from me and look inward.
Doesn’t God tell you to do things you are reluctant to do too? Maybe what he tells you is difficult to do – like preach to that classmate of yours? Or maybe you had some greater plans for your weekend – to play games with friends – rather than that teens’ prayer retreat or choir meeting you are supposed to attend or that chapter of your textbook you are meant to study for your test?
I felt God would understand. I had been working with Him for a while, so I felt this assignment to Nineveh could wait! But I guess I was wrong!
You know, God came to look for me – He loved me and you too– and allowed the boat to experience a storm. I asked them to throw me out. Maybe God’s cooking up a storm for you right now to get your attention.
That test you failed. That phone you lost. That friend that moved.
What are you getting worked up about? C. S. Lewis says something about challenges being God’s megaphone to catch our attention.
So if you’ve believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and have pledged to live your life for his purpose, you are a soldier in His army, and a masterpiece in His hands. There is a mission God has for you and He says His plan for you is of good and it far outweighs your imagination. [1 Cor 2:9, Jer 29:11].
So, he will give you instructions from time to time and show you the path to your life if you ask him [Jer 33:3, Jer 29:13]. He calls you to join him to reach out to others who are helpless in sin. The Holy Spirit in you prods you to do His will, and leads you at every temptation point, teaching you what to do. [Isa 30:21, Psalm 32:8]. Do not disagree with Him – it’s not really a good strategy.
You know, we all got our plans, and no one wants his plans interrupted. But God’s mission is far greater than yours. We think we have our plans figured out perfectly, but things can go wrong.
Is there something God has told you to do, but because you do not like it, or it seems difficult, you have neglected it? Is there any instruction you have been given, maybe in church, school or form mum and dad, but you have disobeyed? You know deep down that it is for the greater good. Please tell God you want to do it and he will give you strength to do so [Is 40:31]
God knows you. God has your best interest at heart. He cares about the details of your life and wants you to trust Him. Completely.
And to obey Him, for His commands are for your good. So return to Nineveh. Pick up the thread of obedience. Learn from my story!
Challenge: Read the Book of Jonah in the Bible, it’s just four short chapters. What other things can you learn from my story?