So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.” Jonah 1:6 NKJV
God sent Jonah to cry out against Nineveh for its wickedness. Jonah boarded a ship for Tarshish. Tarshish was as far away geographically as a person could get from Nineveh.
Nineveh was the largest city in the world when God sent Jonah there. It was the capitol city of the Assyrian empire. Assyria was a powerful nation that dominated the world. Speaking of Assyria God said, “Their wickedness has come up before me.”
Jonah could have come up with many logical reasons why he should not go to Nineveh. The reasons why Jonah should not have gone to Nineveh are not as important as the reason Jonah eventually did go to Nineveh. God commanded Jonah to go to Nineveh!
God sent a storm to “rock the boat” Jonah was traveling on. The sailors were afraid. Each one cried out to his god. They threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the load.
A boat load of people suffered the consequences of Jonah’s disobedience to God’s command and call on his life. What was Jonah doing?
Jonah was hiding in the bowels of the ship. He was asleep. He was unconcerned about the welfare of his fellow travelers. Jonah was unconcerned about the dangerous storm. Jonah was also unconcerned about the danger his sin brought on other people!
On a missionary trip to Mexico I asked the Lord to use me to share the Gospel with people who desperately need Jesus. That was twenty years ago.
Where have I been? What have I been doing? Have I been unconcerned about the welfare of my fellow travelers? Have I been sleeping in the safety and security of my own salvation while other people are in danger of eternal separation from God?
There are many reasons for us not to share the gospel and call people to repentance. We could suffer persecution and humiliation at the hands of people who marginalize and ridicule our witness. We could even be martyred for our faith, although that is unlikely.
There is only one reason to share the gospel with people who need Jesus and make disciples who will also go share the gospel and make disciples for Jesus.
In the twenty eighth chapter of Mathew Jesus said, “God therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have command you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Do not be deceived, the Lord is commanding us to call people to repent from the wickedness of unbelief and turn to faith in Jesus as surely as He called Jonah many years ago. Do not let other people suffer for your disobedience. Obey Jesus today!
Joyfor2day daily devotional goes out over the internet to thousands of people all over the world five days a week