Many of us have heard the story of Jonah, God’s prophet, who decided he did not want to obey what the Lord was telling him to do and wound up spending some time in the belly of a whale.
In Jonah 1:1-3 the Lord is telling Jonah He wants him to go to the great city of Nineveh and to “cry out against it, for their wickedness has come before Me.” Jonah decides he doesn’t want to do that so he boards a ship and heads the opposite direction. I guess he figured God couldn’t find him in Tarshish.
Do we really think we can hide from the Lord Almighty!?
Aren’t we much like Jonah at times?
I remember when the Lord had me moving from one state to another to another in His quest to teach me to trust Him and to be obedient. I was a fairly new Christian and although some of His requests scared me, thrilled me, and left me scratching my head many times, I did as He commanded. He didn’t ask me if I wanted to, He said that was what I was to do. So I would do it.
The Lord has given us free will. We have two choices; obey Him or not. At this particular command I did not want to obey! He was telling me to move to a place that I absolutely did not want to go. Much like Jonah and Nineveh. Jonah basically said, “Ohh no I won’t. I ain’t going there.”
I can empathize with Jonah! “I said, Oh Lord, no, no, no, I do not want to go there” and began fighting, justifying my reasons, crying, pleading, and begging. Before I knew it, I, like Jonah, was in the belly of a whale.
“But the Lord sent out a great wave on the sea…” (v.4) In other words there was a big storm.
“Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” Jonah 1:17 The whale had Jonah for lunch.
I truly felt like I was in a storm. I can tell you it isn’t fun when you think you can argue your way out of doing what the Lord wants you to do. Sitting in the whales belly, like Jonah, I prayed, I cried, I
stomped, and slept little.
It was three days and three nights of anguish. I really can empathize with Jonah! The stench of disobedience is rancid!
I was the one arguing! God was listening but He will not argue with us. He may explain His reasons and He may not. In this instance He chose not to but boy could I come up with all kinds of reasons why I should not move there! Jonah had his reasons and hey, I had mine. It was still a spirit of disobedience.
Finally, with a runny nose, bloodshot and swollen eyes, tears streaming down my face, and exhausted from the battle, I said, “Okay! But You have to promise…..” Isn’t that just like us? “I’ll do what you want if you’ll do what I want?” We can’t bargain with God!
Once I realized that was exactly what I was doing, I broke down crying and confessed it to Him. “I want to go because I love you Lord, not as a bargaining chip,” I cried.
I spent eighteen months in that place where I did not want to go and the Lord did miracles in me, through me, and for me. I was blessed beyond anything I could have imagined and because of choosing to be obedient, for the right reasons, I not only learned to trust Him more but drew closer to Him than I had ever been before.
“Therefore you shall love the Lord your God, and keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commands always.” Duet. 11:1
To read a more detailed account of my journey of learning to trust the Lord and be obedient to Him, go to:
http://www.elahministries.com to purchase.
Blessings to you. 🙂