Jonah | Day Three
By: Taylor Flatt
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When I was in the ninth grade, there was a particular girl at my school that God laid on my heart to talk with about Him. She was really nice, but for some reason I was just incredibly nervous to talk to her. I put it off for weeks! I just really didn’t want to do it. There were plenty of other things that I didn’t mind doing for God, but that particular assignment was one that I desperately wanted out of!
But my disobedience to God’s assignment created distance between the Lord and I. Pretty soon, I wasn’t even talking to God Himself that often, much less talking to someone else about Him. I learned pretty quickly that ignoring an assignment from God would eventually lead to ignoring God.
Today we find Jonah silently standing by as the sailors cast lots looking for the man who has caused this storm. Jonah has ignored an assignment from God and apparently now he’s ignoring God altogether. While all of the sailors have been crying out to their false gods, Jonah remained silent--silent to the sailors and silent to God.
Let’s check it out together.
Read Jonah 1:7-8.
What solution do the sailors come up with?
What are they hoping to find if they cast lots?
By this point in the story, Jonah should have known that he was caught, that he was the cause of the storm threatening all of their lives. The sailors were crying out to every god they could think of while Jonah stood by knowing that only His God, Yahweh, could control the waves and the wind.
As the sailors started casting lots, I can imagine Proverbs 16:33 coming to Jonah’s mind. “The lot is cast into the lap, but it’s every decision is from the Lord.”
What did Jonah think would happen? Surely he knew that if God were in charge of the lot, it would eventually fall to him.
Why do you think Jonah didn’t speak up as soon as he realized what was going on?
You might not have noticed it, but up until this point, we haven’t even heard a single word from Jonah. Jonah has been completely silent. Even when the sailors were begging for mercy from false gods, Jonah did not speak up, not until he was forced to.
Why do you think that Jonah was silent?
Now remember, Jonah is a prophet of God. What does it mean to be a prophet?
A prophet is called by God to speak His truth to people. That was the calling on Jonah’s entire life - to speak the truth of God to other people. And yet here we find him running and unable to speak anything at all. Jonah was unable to fulfill his calling because he was too scared to fulfill his assignment.
Here’s what I mean: all of us have a calling on our lives and it’s very similar to the call of Jonah - to speak the truth of God to others. But sometimes we try to pick and choose the assignments that God hands us to fulfill. Sometimes we ignore or run from certain assignments because we are too scared, but other times it’s because we don’t think they are important enough. Sometimes we are just being lazy!
Jonah’s refusal of just one assignment made him ineffective as a truth carrier altogether. Not until the lot fell to him and he was ultimately forced to answer did Jonah speak of the one true God.
Think about your own life. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then you are called to be a leader in whatever area of influence that God has given to you. Just like Jonah, you are called to speak the truth of God. But you don’t get to pick and choose your assignments.
Take it from me and take it from Jonah: it’s impossible to fulfill your calling when you are ignoring your assignments.
Think about these questions...
Every single one of us have influence. Where is your circle of influence? (school, team, etc.)
As a follower of Jesus Christ, what are you called to do?
Do you feel like God has given you a particular assignment recently? If not, take some time and ask God what that might be...
Ask God to reveal anything to you that might be hindering your relationship with Him or keeping you from fulfilling your calling as a truth carrier.