Jonah 1:1-3a – Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. (KJV)
How many of us like novelty tunes? Novelty tunes are funny songs. They were very popular when I was a teenager. We listened to such tunes as "The Purple People Eater", and "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini". But one of my favourites was Please Mr. Custer, by Larry Verne, about a soldier ordered into the Little Big Horn by Custer, but he did not want to go. I am sure many remember the disaster that happened to Custer's Seventh Cavalry at the Little Big Horn. The young man had some idea what was going to happen. He kept saying, "Please Mr. Custer, I don't want to go."
This reminds me of the story of Jonah. Custer's presence in the Little Big Horn is questionable, but God ordered Jonah to go to Nineveh. There is therefore no question about what Jonah should do. Jonah, however, did not like the Assyrians. He wanted judgment to fall upon them, so he went the other way.
What happened to Jonah? A storm came up. The sailors had to throw Jonah overboard, and a big fish swallowed him. Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Jesus, likewise, wished the cup to pass, but He obeyed the Father. He was in the tomb for three days. Jesus gave Himself willingly, but Jonah — like us — had to be convinced.
As disciples, which example should we try to follow in obeying the commands of God? Is not any success we have very dependent on the closeness of our relationship with the Father? Is that why Jesus prayed?
Prayer: May we start each day by saying, "I am willing. Use me. Send me." Amen.
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