ODJ: saying no to God

May 28, 2015 

READ: Jonah 1:1-17 

Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the LORD (v.3).

Jane was reflecting on the weekend women’s conference. Surrounded by women who had been through similar difficult circumstances, she noticed that they were now free and thriving while she was still stuck in a cycle of discontent. The Scriptures shared had implored her to do the same things as the other women. But while they had said “yes” to God, she had said “no”.

Jonah said “no” to God, and his disobedience landed him in deep water—literally (Jonah 1:15). The Lord saw the sinful ways of the people of Nineveh and told Jonah to bring His message of how they could be made right with Him by turning from their sins, but the prophet chose to run away from God instead. He hopped aboard a ship set to sail in the opposite direction, towards the city of Tarshish (v.3). Jonah despised the evil of Nineveh and knew that if he brought God’s message to the people, they might turn to Him and be spared the destruction He had threatened (4:2). Sometimes we too will say “no” to God because we want certain things to happen—our view of justice or how life should be. But His wisdom and ways are always best!

Ultimately, Jonah was thrown overboard and swallowed by a fish. Only then did he repent and choose to obey God (2:1-10). When we choose to disobey Him, the results can be devastating. How much better to follow His ways out of love (John 14:21)!

Jonah’s obedience was reluctant, yet it brought glory to God. When the sailors saw the storm subside as soon as they threw Jonah overboard, they vowed to serve the Lord (Jonah 1:15-16). And the 120,000 people in Nineveh repented and turned to God after hearing His message (3:5-10, 4:11). God’s perfect will will always prevail. May we choose to say “yes” to Him today.

—Ruth O-Reilly-Smith

365-day-plan: Daniel 1:1-21

Read Colossians 1:10 for more on how saying “yes” to God will result in growth in your spiritual life. 
In what areas of life have you persistently said “no” to God? What happens when we truly obey God and follow His ways?