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Devotional - week of February 9, 2003


DOING GOD’S WILL—EVEN RELUCTANTLY

… Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.  Jonah 1:3

Jonah had no intention of responding to God’s call to go to Nineveh and warn the people of God’s coming judgment.

While on a ship going in the opposite direction, he was thrown overboard. He was swallowed by a big fish and then vomited up on shore.

God called again. Jonah reluctantly went to Nineveh where he preached a sermon of eight words. The entire city of 120,000 people repented—and the city was spared the judgment of God.

Such a response should have caused great rejoicing for any evangelist—but not so for Jonah. The Ninevites were enemies of his people. Read his response to their repentance:

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. So he prayed to the LORD … “now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”  Jonah 4:1-3

What is the message of Jonah? There may be times God has a call on our lives we want to run from. But the important thing is that we do the will of God.

When Moses met God at the burning bush, he resisted God’s call to lead the Israelites out of Egypt—but he finally accepted it.

While much grief characterized the life of Moses as he led the Israelites, he did become burdened for the people he was leading—a burden Jonah never had for the Ninevites.

Yet, the message of Moses’ call is the same as that of Jonah’s call. God may call us to tasks for which we have no desire.

Living the life of grace is living out the five commands of Romans 6:11-13. It is ultimately presenting the parts of our bodies to God that He might use them to do His works of righteousness.

The only thing that should determine our positive response to the call of God on our lives is an inner sense of “oughtness”—a sense that this is God’s will regardless of how we feel about it.