Written by Cameron Crenshaw
Then the LORD spoke to Jonah a second time. “Get up and GO to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.”
We all have “places” we don’t want to visit. Some of them are thoughts or memories that we don’t enjoy reliving. Some of them are people who are difficult to deal with. Some of them are actual, real locations that we would love to never end up in for one reason or another. For Jonah, that place was Nineveh.
Jonah hated Nineveh. He hated the people there too! The last thing he wanted was for God to save the city – because they were evil! God was calling Jonah, a rebellious prophet, to go preach to a military stronghold in the heart of a hostile nation. So, as many of us might, Jonah tried to ignore God.
Right at the start of this chapter, it says God spoke to Jonah a second time. This means that Jonah ignored God the first time (Jonah 1:1-2). We know how that ended, by the way: Jonah was swallowed by a fish and ended up in Nineveh anyway! Jonah believed that his judgement was better than God’s – that the people of Nineveh were too wicked to be saved. Do you ever think your judgement is better or higher than God’s?
God gave Jonah everything he needed – a message, an audience, and even transportation. But because of Jonah’s heart, he still didn’t want to go – even as he stood outside the city gates. Scripture says over and over again that God has a heart for the nations of the Earth. Jonah didn’t share this heart for people – that’s why he didn’t want to go where God led him. When Jonah finally relented and obeyed, God did an amazing work and saved the city of Nineveh from their wickedness (Jonah 3:10). But Jonah remained bitter and angry to the end, because he refused to share God’s heart and go willingly.
Where are you being called that makes your stomach churn? Who is that person who annoys you to no end that desperately needs Jesus? What unforgiveness in your heart or memory from your past do you need to finally let go of? You may not be called to a wicked city, but you are commanded to GO where God wants to use you. Will you listen and obey, or will you have a bitter, angry heart?
God, we thank you for your mercy and grace that saves even the most despicable people. We’re sorry for the ways that we are like the people of Nineveh. Help us to share your Heart for the places and people around us, Lord. Transform us into messengers for you, so that we learn to love obeying your call – the first time. Give us the strength and endurance to GO where you want to use us. Thank you, Jesus, for your love and mercy. Amen.