Family Devotion Guide
Sunday, September 13, 2020
The Runaway Prophet
God’s Order to Jonah
Jonah was a prophet of God called to preach to the people of Nineveh.
Why was it unusual for God to ask Jonah to preach to the people of Nineveh?
Nineveh was the capital city of Assyria. Not only were the Assyrians the enemies of the people of Israel, but it was also a pagan and Gentile area. Much to Jonah’s displeasure God called him to preach to the people of Nineveh and offer mercy and grace to them.
Can you imagine that your parents invite someone who has been mean to you at school or in the neighborhood over for supper and they ask you to be nice to them? What would you think about their decision?
Perhaps you would think that your parents do not care about you. Jonah perhaps felt that God did not care about him or the nation of Israel because of God’s decision to share His mercy with the people of Nineveh. But the truth is God cares and your parents care as well. Your parents might invite your enemies over to show them love because by showing love and mercy people’s lives can be changed.
By loving your enemies they can turn out to be some of the best friends you ever have. By loving your enemies you are showing people love that they may have never experienced before—God’s love. God is calling Jonah to do the same thing. He calls him to share God’s love with his enemies, and by sharing that love they would come to a personal knowledge of God.
Jonah’s Objection to God’s Order
What did Jonah do after receiving God’s order?
“But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.”
Jonah went to Tarshish instead. Tarshish was the opposite direction of Nineveh. Tarshish was located on the west whereas Nineveh was located on the east. Jonah was directed to travel over land, instead he went to sea. He was sent to a big city, instead he bought a one- way ticket to the end of the world. Jonah was disobedient to God’s order because he did not want God to show mercy to his enemies.
The Consequences of Jonah’s Objection to God’s Order
Jonah was at the bottom of the ship sleeping. Jonah was trying to run from God but even his sleep was disturbed because God caused a storm to go Jonah’s way. Although Jonah tried to escape God, God in His sovereignty pursued Jonah.
What did the captain of the ship say to Jonah?
“So the captain came and said to him, ‘What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.'”
Jonah could not escape God and His order. He tried to escape God but now he had to pray to God and tell the sailors about God.
Who did Jonah say that he is and God is?
“And he said to them, ‘I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.'”
Jonah said that God made the sea and the dry land. Jonah’s statement pointed out to the sailors that He was responsible for the storm. Jonah was cast into the sea and was swallowed by a big fish. We must be careful to not disobey God when he asks us to do something. We must respond with obedience and ask God for understanding and wisdom to obey him.
–Pray that you will learn to obey God in all situations.
–Pray that you will trust the characteristics of God such as His mercy, His sovereignty, His grace, and His compassion.
–Pray that you will learn to love all people including those who do not love you. Pray that you will share the gospel with all people.