READ JONAH ONE
Jonah has been called to get “up!” and to “go!” to Nineveh – the capital city of a nation that has oppressed Israel for years – because God has taken notice of their evil. Let’s continue breaking down the first few verses of the book of Jonah phrase-by-phrase.
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
“But Jonah rose to flee…”
Jonah does get “up,” but he does not “go.” Instead, he gets “up” and “flees.”
Today we’re going to compare these two Hebrew words – the word of God’s call and the word of Jonah’s response. Take a look back at day VIII of our study if you need a little refresher on the word, ק֠וּם (qūm). You’ll remember the word means, “Up! Go!” and has a sense of urgency.
The word used of Jonah’s response is similar, יָּ֤קָם. Do you see the similarities between the two Hebrew words? Even if you can’t read or interpret it, you can probably see that two of the letters are the same. This is because the words share the same Hebrew root (or, origin).
While the words share similarities, the actions they describe could not be more opposed to one another. A call to join God in His work in the world is met with a disinclination. Jonah gets up and runs in the opposite direction.
I am reminded in Jonah’s story how disobedience often looks a bit like obedience. And as I’ve studied the book, I’ve wondered if Jonah convinced himself that he was obeying. I don’t know about you, but it is amazing how easy it is for me to justify my disobedience to myself (and sometimes to others). I wonder if Jonah told himself that God really needed him in Tarshish (we will look at this city tomorrow), or if he perceived that the wickedness in Tarshish was a higher priority on the missions list. But God doesn’t call us to partial obedience. He doesn’t call us to making our own way. He calls us to join Him, and He calls us to obey.
Are there any areas in your life where you are half-obeying God?
Are there any areas in your life in which you are currently trying to justify your actions before God?
We would all do well to take a lesson from Jonah: obey God. When He calls, follow. Where He goes, go. Not just because life will be easier, but because He is worthy of our obedience.
PRAY & REFLECT
Spend some time repenting of any areas in your life where you are in disobedience. Ask God for the help and strength to follow Him wherever He calls you.
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