"Would we be willing to take God's word to our mightiest of enemies?"
"Would we follow God's calling no matter where it led?"
"Would we go no matter how scarry it may seem?"
I started here primarily because it's where I was as I began studying the first chapter of Jonah. I couldn't help but question myself as to whether or not I would follow in the same type of situation. Would I go to such an evil city and share God's word, or would I be so scared to follow that I would run in the complete opposite direction facing other fears along the way?
In the first three verses of the book of Jonah, we find God speaking to Jonah regarding the journey to Ninevah.
A few interesting tidbits I found as I studied these verses.....
- In the Hebrew, God is literally commanding Jonah to "arise". However, if we read in the King James translation of Jonah 1:3, we find that Jonah "rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord." That's right, Jonah did "rise up" as God commanded, but he rises up to then go DOWN to Joppa and DOWN into the boat. The words paint a good picture of the situation, don't they?
- For an Israelite, Joppa represented the edge of the earth. Additionally, many people of this time were fearful of the sea. So, for Jonah to run to Joppa and then to also get on a boat showed the total deperation and desire to escape that was felt by Jonah.
I keep going over that in my mind. So afraid to follow God as to be willing to face other fears.
Fears that are completely unnecessary to face if I follow God.
Fears that are completely unnecessary to face if I trust God and believe that he only has my best interests in mind.
If I truly believe the words of Jeremiah 29:11, do I turn the opposite direction and run as far away as I can get from God?
I can't tell you how often this has replayed in my mind over the last week or so. We humans tend to not react completely rationally when we are scared. Therefore, it is possible that I would run away from God and wind up facing fears that are alot bigger than where God is leading.
The one thing I keep coming back to over and over and over again, though, is this..... if I believe all that I say I believe about God, and if I fully trust that He means what He says, then I will follow regardless.
If I have a relationship with Him and keep Him as my priority, then I won't question and I won't risk falling prey to those very human tendencies to run away. I will follow.
Yes, I will probably be scared and there is a good chance that in the beginning I won't want any part of it.
But, if it is God leading, then He will show the way, he will carry the fears and the worries, and He will lead me to where I should go. He will guide me and direct me and show me the joys to be had by making the journey.