A job that you never expected? What happens if God doesn’t work in the way you want Him to work? God had told the prophet Jonah that the borders of Israel would expand. That was a very popular message and one that was easy to deliver. God did physically give land back to Israel that had been overrun by neighboring countries. But then God sent a message that would expand the spiritual boundaries of Israel. God said, go tell your enemies, the people in Nineveh about Me so that they will not receive judgment. That was not a message Jonah wanted to deliver. Jonah wanted God to punish Nineveh, not to give them mercy if they repented.
7 Then the crew cast lots to see which of them had offended the gods and caused the terrible storm. When they did this, the lots identified Jonah as the culprit. 8 “Why has this awful storm come down on us?” they demanded. “Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?” 9 Jonah answered, “I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.” 10 The sailors were terrified when they heard this, for he had already told them he was running away from the Lord. “Oh, why did you do it?” they groaned. 11 And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, “What should we do to you to stop this storm?” 12 “Throw me into the sea,” Jonah said, “and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.” Jonah 1:7-12
Jonah tries to run from God, yet he tells the sailors on the ship that he follows the God that controls all heaven and earth. If he knew better, why was Jonah trying to run away? Sin warps our thinking. What he knew in his head was distorted by a heart set on disobedience. Jonah is determined to do his own thing, even if it led to his death. Jonah is so stubborn that he opts for suicide before repentance.
Just as God had concern for the people of Nineveh who deserved judgment, how much more can we, as believers, understand that God does the same for us? We find it easy to criticize Jonah for thinking he could run from God, but how do we accept our assignments from God?
To hear more about Jonah: https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/journey-with-jonah-1/jonah-runs-away
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Jon 1:7–12). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.