June 1, 2018
READ: Jonah 1:1-17
Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord (v.3).
When people disobey the law, they make an effort to be inconspicuous. This wasn’t the case with a man accused of a hit-and-run accident while driving under the influence of alcohol. When an off-duty police officer stopped and approached the man’s car, he was met with an unusual surprise. “The man was covered . . . in gold spray paint.” Though the reason for the man’s glittery getup remains a mystery, I can’t help but wonder, Did he really think he could get away without anyone noticing him?
We could ask Jonah similar questions: “Did you really think God wouldn’t notice you as you staged your ‘getaway’? Did you really think you could run from the presence of God?”
The Lord had told Jonah to warn the people of Nineveh of His coming judgement (Jonah 1:1-2), and typically a prophet of God would immediately obey His commands. Instead, Jonah hardened his heart in disobedience, boarded a ship and tried to run as far away from God and Nineveh as possible (v.3).
But the all-knowing and always-present One saw Jonah’s conspicuous plan. And in His infinite grace, God sent a storm and then a great fish to cause him to repent (vv.4,17, 2:9). After Jonah repented, God recommissioned him (3:1). This time the prophet obeyed (v.3), and Nineveh experienced revival: “The people of Nineveh believed God’s message . . . from the greatest to the least” (v.5).
God has also commissioned us to take the gospel to those who are far from Him, as He did for Jonah. Sometimes, however, like the prophet, we harden our hearts and attempt to stage our own getaway from His presence. But God, who’s filled with infinite grace, notices our disobedience, pursues us and gives us yet another chance to follow Him.
365-day plan: Daniel 5:1-30
Read Psalm 139:7-12 and reflect on God’s intimate presence in our lives.
How have you acted like Jonah? What’s typically your first response when you sense God calling you to serve Him in a particular way?