Run Away!

Jonah 1:1-17, 3:1-10 and 4:1-11
Monday, November 7, 2016

Focus passage: The LORD’s word came to Jonah, Amittai’s son: “Get up and go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it, for their evil has come to my attention.” So Jonah got up – to flee to Tarshish from the LORD! He went down to Jaffa and found a ship headed for Tarshish.  He paid the fare and went aboard to go with them to Tarshish, away from the LORD. Jonah 1:1-3

Jonah is the son of Ammittai, which means faithfulness in Hebrew.  From the beginning we wonder what this son of faithfulness will do.  It doesn’t take long to figure it out, in the first two verses he is called to go to Nineveh and in the third verse he is on his way in the exact opposite direction.
Why such a reaction you may ask?  Well, Jonah has been asked to go and to speak God’s words to the capital city of Nineveh in the Assyrian Empire which was 500 miles to the east and was a constant threat to Israel.  When the armies of Assyria attacked, and they did often, they would leave utter destruction in their path.   Not to get into the gory details, the Assyrians were not very respectful of the bodies of slain enemy soldiers.   It would be safe to say that any good Israelite would want to see Nineveh and the whole of Assyrian be destroyed rather than restored.
It is like having God send us to the capital city of our greatest enemy to preach repentance.  Concerns for our safety might be at the forefront of our refusal but also a simple lack of desire to go would be mixed in there as well.
How far are you willing to follow God?  Is there an absolute?  Do you draw a line in the sand at a certain point?

Prayer: God, help me to love my enemies, to allow your love to permeate all of me today.  Amen.

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