“You can make many plans, but the LORD's purpose will prevail.”
Over the noise of the world are you able to hear clearly God's voice speaking with a special assignment? Oftentimes God's people are aware that they need to make a friendly call, or send a quick text, or offer a helping hand to a person. Are you obedient and respond quickly, or is there a tendency to do it later. Or, for whatever reason you run-away, and try very hard to ignore it?
This is what the Hebrew prophet Jonah did. He was a man who ran away from the Lord's command of him. According to Herbert Lockyer, “By friend and foe Jonah has been ridiculed and tortured and treated as a myth or parable.”.
Lockyer also stated Jonah was: “without doubt one of the earliest, if not the first, of the prophets whose writings are preserved to us.”. He was also the first prophet sent by God to a heathen nation. In the Book of Jonah (1:1-3), the LORD told him go to “the great city of Nineveh!” to announce the LORD's judgment against it because of the people's wickedness. For personal reasons Jonah disobeyed God, and he ran “in the opposite direction”.When Jonah ran-away he boarded a ship to Tarshish, and during the trip, God thrust powerful winds and a terrible storm upon the ship. Jonah was thrown by the crew overboard into the sea and he was isolated for three days inside a fish. Being isolated changed Jonah's perspective and he realized that God was in control and He does not release a person from His commands.
God had given Jonah a purpose, and that was to preach to the city of Nineveh that had 125,000 people who were living in spiritual darkness. Jonah was to tell them to repent from their sins and turn back to Him.
The summary of the timeless story of Jonah is an illustration of a person who ran in disobedience from God's command, and then later, became obedient to Him and fulfilled His command. The people in Nineveh repented and God's unlimited love, mercy and grace was revealed to them. The same is available to everyone who repents of their sins.
Why should God's people walk wisely in order to quickly respond to His command, and not run-away in the opposite direction? The Book of Proverbs teaches to put God first, and to listen carefully to Him for His assignment, and “Don't ignore it.”. As Judge Judy often states on her TV show: “Put on your listening ears.”.
The next time the Lord speaks to you, do not flee, be obedient and quickly follow His divine direction. Do not lose sight of God's mission that He has assigned, whether it is small or large. When you are obedient to His voice; His strength, protection, and guidance will be provided to you, and His work will be accomplished.
Lord God, thank You for Your mercy and grace. Help us to keep our listening ears on so we will hear Your divine direction. Amen.
~ Ann Brock Ludington