This week at Mt. Tabor Baptist Church, Richmond Virginia, Vacation Bible School took place based on the Book of Jonah. The theme was “You Want Me to Do What?”
This article is based on a summary supplied by Minister Patricia Rogers in her own words.
Most people are familiar with the story of Jonah and the Big Fish, however to be honest until I was asked to teach this session, I only knew what I knew from Sunday School. When I got into the meat of the story of Jonah, I found that it goes beyond just willfully disobeying the command of God. It deals with Jonah’s unforgiveness of the wicked people of Nineveh.
The biblical story tells us the Ninevites had done horrific harm to the Israelites and some theologians believe they had done injustice to Jonah’s family as well. Now God was giving Jonah a command to go and preach repentance to the very people he wanted destroyed.
Hence the theme:
“You want me to do what?”
What was Jonah to do? He did what most of us may do. He fled. However, God found Jonah and caused turmoil and disruption to his plan because when God tells us to do something, He does not always sit on the sideline while we do things our way.
It was God’s intention to show Jonah compassion, unforgiveness and unconditional love. He began to show Jonah this when he placed him in the belly of a big fish and did not destroy him. Jonah began to cry out to God and submitted to do God’s will not his. Jonah’s prayer ends with Jonah declaring that salvation comes from the Lord. (Jonah 2:9)
Jonah completed his assignment, but became angry with God because He saved the Ninevites. Jonah’s angry was so great that he asked God to kill him.
How many of us have Ninevite people and experiences in our lives and God has commanded us to pray for them, forgive them, and bless them and we continue to sit in the belly of the fish with so much anger that we won’t even cry out the Lord and submit, repent and rejoice?
Do we understand that God will ask us to do things that are outside our comfort zone not because He wants us to be uncomfortable but because He wants us to see the scope of His love? It goes beyond who we believe deserves to receive His mercy. It goes beyond the depth of our understanding. It goes beyond the scope of our vision.
In conclusion, let us stop trying to outhink God and overthink God. Let us just do what thus saith the Lord.
Let us keep in mind that no matter where God sends us, two things are for sure:
- God has gone before us and prepared the way.
- God will go with us.
So fear not, walk out of the belly of the fish in the enemies’ camp if that is where God sends you.
Hallelujah! Have a blessed life.