You can run if you want to, but…

One of my favorite scripture references in the Bible is in the book of Jonah. In Jonah 1:2 (NKJV), God tells Jonah to, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” Jonah did not care at all for the people of Nineveh. So Jonah decides he is going to run the other way from God instead.

Jonah tries everything he can to get away. Jonah soon finds himself in a deep dark place where he thinks he is far away from God. He knows he is out of the will of God. In misery and agony, Jonah comes to himself and realizes this is not where he wants to be. So he finally calls out to God to save him. God does save him from his peril but it doesn’t end there.

Even though Jonah was clearly disobedient to God, he realized the state he was in. Jonah 2:4 (NKJV) “…Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’” Jonah decides to be reconciled back to God in His care. Had Jonah remained stubborn he probably would have been left to die in the place where he chose to go.

But my favorite part of the story is as soon as Jonah recovers, God speaks to Jonah a second time “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” (Jonah 3:1-2). God kept Jonah in mind for the task of winning souls in Nineveh. God did not count Jonah out but was willing to have Jonah be a part of something that would spare an entire city of people from disaster!

God wants all of us to be people that can be used by Him to accomplish His will on earth. After all, a maturing Christian should not only want to just help themselves but help others as well (Luke 22:32). I’m glad that God does not give up on us when we make poor decisions out of arrogance and pride.  As long as we can realize our error, turn from it and call out to God to save us. He is willing to hear us (Psalm 116:2).

Jonah does resolve to go to Nineveh after God’s second request. Jonah preached to the city and all believed and all turned from their evil. God was merciful and kept the people safe. (Jonah 3)