The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.” But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. Jonah 1:1-3a NLT
Even God’s discipline is designed to show his mercy. You can run from God but can never hide.
Rebellion in its early stages can bring us a measure of peace. Jonah slept below when the storm hit Jonah’s ship (Jonah 1:5 NLT). Everything was cool with Jonah. Sometimes, God’s plans take a while to unfold. Don’t be fooled; God is never slow at accomplishing his purposes. Jonah’s judgment started when the captain of the ship came looking for him and finished with them throwing him into the sea (Jonah 1:6:15 NLT).
Jonah is reaping the consequences of his choice, yet God is one step ahead of Jonah in working his rescue by arranging for a large fish to swallow him. What may have appeared to Jonah as his punishment was God’s pursuing love. The Bible records, “And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17 NLT). When the consequences of our choices start to kick in, God often gives us time to ponder how we have arrived at our precarious situation. Seaweed and slime may have started taking the blinders off Noah’s spiritual eyes. Rock bottom tends to get our attention.
Then Noah starts to see his problem. “Those who regard vain idols forsake their faithfulness,” Jonah 2:8 NLT. His idol was himself, who wanted his will more than God’s. Noah said, “That which I have vowed I will pay” Jonah 2:9 NLT. He said he would go, and God vomits up Noah, giving him a second chance. God is always looking for a way to extend grace.
I often heard Loren Cunningham, Founder of Youth With A Mission, say, Go is two-thirds of God. If God tells you to go, then don’t say no.
The image is used with permission from Microsoft.