The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord … Jonah 1:1-3
Jonah had a good reason for running away. He didn’t want Nineveh to repent. These people were Israel’s enemies. They were a brutal and violent people bent on war. They were a threat to Israel’s survival as a nation and Jonah wanted God to wipe them out. History would later prove Jonah’s fears justified. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria which attacked Israel and took its people into captivity.
When we look at Jonah’s disobedience, let’s not disregard his motives. Don’t we want God to wipe out those things which would defeat us and take us captive? God’s ways aren’t our ways. He doesn’t respond to things that threaten our peace and security the way we would like. Sometimes God requires us to face our enemies and tell them the truth.
Our enemies are unlikely to be a nation bent on overthrowing us but we have spiritual enemies that are just as eager to destroy our peace and security. Enemies that would tell us we aren’t good enough, gifted enough, or sin-free enough for God to call us to his work. However, the truth is God’s grace is sufficient for all our shortcomings.
It requires faith to march into the enemy’s territory and announce the truth of God’s word. It requires patience and persistence to believe God’s word in the face of opposition. Yet ultimately our enemies, whether physical or spiritual, will be forced to surrender. James writes, “Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).