Week 4 – March 11, 2018

I think the book of Jonah is a reminder to us of God’s sovereign right to interrupt our lives and call us to His work.  That’s why I have “The Interruption” written as a sub-title of Jonah in my bible.

What are we to do when God interrupts our lives and asks something of us that makes obedience uncomfortable?

“The Interruption” in this prophet’s life starts when “The word of the Lord came to Jonah.”  It’s the very first sentence of the whole book.  Jonah was fine being a prophet…until God gave him a prophecy that he did not want to share to people that he did not like.  The Ninevites were notorious and cruel and wicked.  Preaching a message of repentance to them would be like helping your nation’s worst enemy.  Jonah wanted them wiped out, not saved.  Knowing the history of these people, I can’t say I blame him for the hesitation…but then again, I…like Jonah…tend to learn lessons the hard way when it comes to obedience.

Being obedient when God has called me to foreign or enemy territory (when it relates to people) is not easy for me.  My husband, Joseph, will tell you quickly…I’m a stubborn one.  But God began working on my “heart issues” when it comes to tough obedience, and here’s just a smidge of what I have learned:

  • If you are wondering whether this applies to you…it does.  You are being called to something you aren’t necessarily peachy about.  If you aren’t hearing it, you aren’t listening.   
  • Who is that person/group in your life that God is calling you to love?
  • Are you struggling with a person or people that seem to have more than you or seem to have an easier life, perfect kids, or perfect marriage to the extent that you can barely muster a smile when they pass by?
  • What are you being called by God to do in an existing relationship (spouse, friend, co-worker, you name it) that you simply do not want to do because of your pride or opinion?

Think and pray over these questions…I have a feeling it won’t take long for “The word of the Lord [to come to] **insert your name here**.

  • Obedience is not always easy.  It’s easy when the Holy Spirit calls you to be kind or do something for someone you love or care about.  Like Jonah, it’s easy to be a prophet and give good news to people you like.  But God, in true God fashion, calls us to do this to people that we may not “like” very much or know very well.  THIS part requires spiritual discipline.  Don’t be like me and Jonah and learn the hard way.  Go ahead and get yourself prepared, worked on, and ready for obedience by reading Hebrews 12 (it’s an oldie but goodie…my favorite is v.11), John 4, and Proverbs 6:23.
  • Being obedient when it’s tough will draw you into a deeper relationship with God, where you will experience His peace, joy and blessings in an indescribable way. You will mature as a follower of Christ, it will affect all areas of your life (for the better), and it will be obvious to people around you.    

When you first read this book or if you were raised hearing this big fish story, you may not initially think you have a lot in common with Jonah.  When you dig deeper, you’ll find it applies to all of us.  Jonah’s obedience in Chapter 3 resulted in a wicked nation seeking repentance and gaining God’s compassion…he saved their lives.  I have every reason to believe that our obedience could result in the same. 

Scripture For the Week to Pray, Meditate, and Focus your heart on:

Jonah 3
Proverbs 6:23
Hebrews 12
John 4

– Mary Roberson