Jonah / chapter 1 (read the chapter)
Of all the stories in the Bible, Jonah must be right up at the top of my list of favorites. I love Jonah. I love everything about his story. I not only love him in the story, but I love God in the story. Indeed, for me, the story of Jonah is the Old Testament’s Gospel—there is so much good news about God in it.
It hasn’t been too long ago that I was discussing the story of Jonah with my mom, and during our talk, it dawned on me that God—who knows us waaaayyyy better than we know ourselves—must have known Jonah was going to run. In fact, I think it may be likely that God called Jonah to go to Nineveh precisely because He knew he would run.
Maybe God knew there was a little boat down at Joppa with a crew of sailors who had open hearts to the Spirit. After all, once they’d encountered the storm and Jonah and Jonah’s God, their lives changed: “Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once! The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him.” (vs 15-16)
And there you are. God was using Jonah, unwilling servant, long before he ever made it to Nineveh. Even though he didn’t want to go, even though he ran away, even though he was rebellious, God was still willing and able to use him in reaching others for the kingdom.
And God still uses the unwilling today.
So, it really doesn’t matter if you’ve heard God’s call and headed in the opposite direction. It really doesn’t matter if you’re still waiting to hear God’s call. And it really doesn’t matter if you don’t believe there is a God to make the call. You may be unwilling, unrepentant, and unmoved, but God can still use you.
He’s got divine appointments for you today. You may attend some of them even while He’s in the process of bringing you around.
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One of my favorite poets, Thomas John Carlisle, wrote a book of poetry about this story titled You! Jonah! I love his poems so much that, each day during our journey through this book, I’m going to share a couple of them that correspond to the chapter.
I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do!
Whither shall I flee
from Thy presence?
presents no problem
when one ignores
and the sky.
NEGOTIATION WITH A HIGHER POWER
I will demonstrate
providing You comply
with my demand
for a more satisfying