Jonah 3:3 “Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city – a visit required three days.”
I will never forget my first visit to New York. As a native Texan, I was accustomed to wide open spaces and mile upon mile of open land. I knew that New York was much smaller in actual measurement than Texas, yet I had heard how “big” the place was.
When I got there, I figured out how they packed so many people in such a small place. Everything goes up. Skyscrapers are everywhere, and if you are standing in the middle of the a street, it is difficult to see even one block over.
Like New York, Nineveh’s name referred to both the city and the district. The city, which was about eight miles across, was home to about 175,000 people. The district of Nineveh was somewhere between 30 and 60 miles across. Since Jonah was probably traveling on foot, it was going to take him a few days to do what he had to do.
Poor Jonah. He was tired. He didn’t want to be there in the first place, and now he was probably having post-traumatic stress. After three days in the belly of a fish, expecting to die a slow, tortuous death, I’d have been ready for a relaxing week at a hospital somewhere, letting the kind nurses take care of me.
But Jonah knew what was required of him, and he did it. He’d had his time of running from God, and he’d learned his lesson. God said, “Go to Nineveh, and tell them about me.” So Jonah did it.
As stubborn as Jonah was in the beginning, I think I’m more stubborn. I often know what God wants me to do, but I don’t want to do it, so I don’t do it. God can do everything in His power, it seems, to reign me back into His will, yet I still turn my back on Him. I still do exactly what I want to do, instead of surrendering to God and doing what is required of me.
Oh, I surrender to Him as long as it’s convenient. But when He asks me to do something hard, I often put it off and off and off. I like to call it procrastination. God calls it disobedience.
I’m glad Jonah obeyed God, even if his obedience was a little late. After all, delayed obedience is better than no obedience. I hope I can get to the point where I will obey God, no matter how big or inconvenient the task, right away.
Dear Father, I’m sorry for my disobedience. I’m sorry for my procrastination. Please help me to obey You immediately when I hear Your voice.