Category | Devotional

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Jonah is one of my favorite Bible characters.

Out of his comfort Zone
Jonah was faithfully serving God, living among his own people and sharing God’s words for them. Then God suddenly asks him to do something that was a little outside the norm.

In the Old Testament, Israel witnessed to the world by serving God and living for Him, setting themselves apart for Him. They did not go to the world, but instead the world, enticed by their faith and prosperity, came to them. When God asked Jonah to go to Ninevah, that was simply “not the way things were done”.

Instead of proclaiming the words of God to his own people, as most prophets were called to do, Jonah was to go to a new place, Ninevah, and tell them about God. At the time of Jonah, Ninevah was a large Gentile city, about 60 miles in circumference with a population of about 600,000 people.

Hostile Listeners
Ninevah was the capital city of
Assyria and was renowned as one of the most cruel and brutal nations in the ancient world. They thought nothing of burying their enemies alive, skinning them alive, or impaling them on
sharp poles under the hot sun until they died of sunburn and exposure.

Unwelcome Message
Furthermore, Jonah’s message was not to be one of “God’s Love”, but of “God’s Judgement.” Its one thing to tell others about God’s love, but to tell of God’s judgement is not a welcome message people want to hear.

Jonah’s Response?
Add it up and we can understand why Jonah would run! Outside his comfort zone, hostile listeners, and an unwelcome message.

Looking at Ourselves
How often our lives are overturned because God asks us to do something that was simply not comfortable, or worse, against the norms. He calls us to deliver his words, but it’s not to someone we want to tell. And sometimes his message is simply not welcome.

Who is your Ninevah?
We can’t be content to live our lives as Christians and hope the world will come to us. The New Testament “Great Commission” was to go into the world and make disciples of ALL nations. Are we willing to get out of our comfort zone to do so?

That’s the story of Jonah. We see his struggle, his failures, and we can understand. We also see God’s grace and compassion in dealing with his children, as well as, his over arching purpose to offer redemption to everyone – even the worst of us. I may not find myself in the belly of a whale, but I know I often do a little “belly-aching” when it comes to obedience in my own life. I have also seen God go to extraordinary means to get my attention, offer me his grace, and lovingly encourage my obedience to his call!

The life of Jonah is full of lessons for all of us. To explore these lessons yourself, or with the youth you work with, check out “A Whale of a Tale”, my Bible Study curriculum based on the life of Jonah. It’s great for youth camps or for a Bible study series.

Click here to find out about my youth Camp Curriculum “A Whale of a Tale” on the book of Jonah.

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