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 and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.
He was one of the best kids in the class when it came to behavior. If the teacher needed help with something, he was glad to lend a hand. It was only fourth grade, but he was pretty mature and respectful for a nine-year-old. That was why the teacher was so surprised at his reaction when the weekly chores were assigned. It was his team’s turn to divide the work, but he was left with the one job he really hated. When she noticed that the classroom waste baskets had not been emptied at the end of the day, she reminded him that it was his chore. In that moment, the kind little kid became assertive and defiant. He no longer cared to make his teacher happy and proud of him.
Jonah takes some pretty extreme measures here. God calls him to do a job, and from what we know this is someone who certainly knows God. However, his first response is to flee and shirk this assignment. He might love God, but he wants no parts of this labor. We must deduce that there is a specific reason why God asks him to this work of prophecy as opposed to anyone else, but Jonah could not see the honor in this work. Later in this book, he even confesses that his distaste for this assignment is simply because of God’s great mercy. He certainly cried out for mercy in the belly of that fish, but he could not stomach the idea of God granting the same mercy to that evil city. In an instant, Jonah’s desire to please God turned to defiance.
We will experience similar seasons when God calls us to do something we would rather not do. Sometimes he asks us to do things for which we feel completely unprepared. Other times we act like Jonah and just think that another person is not worthy of God’s goodness or grace, so we would rather not be the vehicle for that to manifest. A season of defiance is not unusual for the Christian, but we must be sure to recognize the reason behind our defiance and correct it. If we want to please God, we must bow to his will instead of our own. Father, make us pliable and agreeable to your purpose and your plan so that we would not defy You and frustrate the work we are meant to complete.