It’s easy to follow God when everything is great. But what about when God is asks you to do something you don’t want to do? What if God wants you to forgive someone who caused you pain and suffering? Or to show compassion to someone you hate? Jonah was faced with that exact situation. The people of Nineveh were most certainly hated by the Israelites, and Jonah was asked to go and prophesy to them. Jonah was a faithful prophet as long as God wanted what Jonah wanted. But when God’s request went against Jonah’s desires, Jonah decided that rebellion was better than obedience.
- How have you ignored, resisted, or tried to hide out from God?
READ THE WORD: JONAH 1:10-17 (ESV)
10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.
11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. 12 He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” 13 Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they called out to the Lord, “O Lord, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.
17 And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
1. Why were the men on the ship so afraid?
2. In verse 12, Jonah gave the men of the ship an opportunity to end the storm. How did they respond?
3. In verse 15, the men of the ship obeyed Jonah’s request. What happened as a result?
4. What did God do to show Jonah that he wasn’t through with him?
5. What is God calling you to do that you are resisting? Where do you need to stop running from God and exercise faithfulness today?
RESPOND TO GOD
Even in a supreme act of selfishness, Jonah still recognized God’s power (vs. 12). That is why Jonah’s actions are all the more troubling. It’s not as if he didn’t understand what God had asked. He simply chose defiance and disobedience. By all accounts, it would appear that Jonah didn’t want to give the Ninevites any chance to repent. Maybe he feared that if the people of Nineveh did respond to God’s compassion and repent, God might love them more than he loved the Jews. Or maybe he felt he’d be more effective bringing attention to the great disobedience that was going on at the same time in Israel under King Jeroboam. Whatever his justification, Jonah forgot that his life belonged to God.
- Confess any areas where you are deliberately resisting God’s call to obedience.
- Pray that God would give you boldness to trust him, and take action.