There are accounts of personal encounters with God sprinkled throughout the Bible. This week we will spend time looking at some of those accounts and exploring how God spoke to ordinary people – like you and me.
The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”
But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.
When I was a kid, I loved the Berenstain Bears. They were loveable creatures that often taught life lessons by showing what NOT to do in a fun and comical way. The story of Jonah is like the Berenstain Bears version of what not to do when God speaks to you.
In fear, Jonah ran in the opposite direction when God spoke. But Jonah’s alternate travel plans didn’t work out so well for him when he was forced to take an unexpected 3-day layover inside a giant fish. Jonah eventually relented and did as God had told him. The city of Nineveh was convicted and repented as one – from the king to the beggar. You would think Jonah would have been happy when God showed mercy on the people. But Jonah was furious! He was more worried that he would look foolish. Oh Jonah! But God reminded Jonah that God’s love doesn’t always act the way we think it should…and thank the Lord it doesn’t!
God’s words to Jonah and His actions were about more than just a warning to the people of Nineveh. They were for Jonah, too. They were to remind Jonah just how much he needed to be extended the amazing grace and mercy of God, too.
Sometimes when God speaks it is to remind us just how much we need Him.