1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
Jonah is known as the reluctant prophet of Israel and he had a good reason to be reluctant humanly speaking. Nineveh was the great capital city of the growing Assyrian empire, Israel’s enemy. Jonah was a patriotic man and he loved Israel. He hated the sin and idolatry of Assyria and thus he did not want to go to Nineveh. Jonah struggled with Gods plan concerning the city of Nineveh and so he took off in a different direction.
God’s plan in the Old Testament was not just for Israel but for all humanity. Through Israel and his dealings with them, God wanted to show himself forth to the other nations that they too may worship him.
Just like Jonah, we sometimes struggle when God sends us to people we deem as sinners who should be punished and swept off the face of the earth. We forget that God is merciful to others just as he was merciful to us. In the same way we struggle when we see Gods blessing in the life of someone we deem as a sinner.
God’s desire is that all be saved. We must always remember that all of us are in desperate need of a savior and just because he found us does not give us the right to look at those who are still lost and write them off and not fit to receive Gods mercy. We have been given the assignment to make disciples of all nations.
Jonah thought taking off in the opposite direction would get him off the hook but God was not done with him yet.
- Are there people you consider unfit for God’s mercy because of how vile their sin is?
- How would you respond if God sent you to preach to a community that persecutes Christians?
- God’s love language is obedience. In what Ares of your life are you currently in disobedience like Jonah?