Obeying God's Words (Jonah 1:1–3) - Radical

Obeying God’s Words (Jonah 1:1–3)

“Now, the word of the Lord came to Jonah, the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city and call out against it for their evil has come up before me. But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.”
– Jonah 1:1–3

There is so much here. I’m actually studying Jonah right now in preparation for the next Secret Church as we’re going to dive into the book of Jonah and I can’t wait. This book is so rich, like every single word you can just see inspired by the Holy Spirit. Every single word matters. So that’s coming up in April 2023, if you want to be a part of that, you can find out more information at Secretchurch.org.

Jonah 1:1–3 Shows Us How Much We Are Like Jonah

But that’s not the point here. The point is I’m going to have a really hard time over the next few podcast episodes, condensing these verses from Jonah into a thought and a prayer because there’s so much here. The picture I just want to clearly point out in Jonah chapter one is that Jonah heard the word of the Lord and did the exact opposite of it. He didn’t obey God’s word, God’s leadership in his life. And I read that and I think I’m so tempted to do the same thing every day, all day long at different points. To hear God’s word, God’s spirit prompt me to do something and to not do it.

Jonah 1:1–3 Teaches Us the Foolishness of Ignoring the Lord

And it’s interesting, in my New Testament reading for today, Luke 6:47, listen to this, Jesus says, “Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I’ll show you what he’s like. He’s like a man building a house who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood rose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them, who hears my word and does not do it, is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell and the ruin of that house was great.”

Simple takeaway for you and me today, hear the word of God and do it, hear the leadership of the Spirit of God through his word and obey and you will find yourself standing on a rock. If you hear and disobey, you will find yourself with no foundation underneath you and in Jonah’s case, in a lot of trouble in the belly of a fish. But that leads to Jonah chapter two.

So we pray today, according to Jonah chapter one, God help us to hear your word and obey it to hear you prompting us by your Spirit, through your word to action and to do it. God, we want our lives to be built on strong, solid foundations that are able to withstand floods and challenges that come our way. So help us God, to live in obedience. Help us to resist the temptation in us, the Jonah in us, to not do or even do the exact opposite of what you are telling us to do.

Praying for the Bugis People of Indonesia

And God, as we think specifically about Jonah’s call to go to a foreign nation to spread the gospel, your word, we pray today for the Bugis people of Indonesia, 5.7 million of them and very few followers of Jesus among them, meaning most of them, have little to no knowledge of your grace and your love.

God, please change that. Cause laborers to go, not to resist your call, to go. Use our resources as you lead us to give for the spread of the gospel among the nations. God, help us to obey you. And even now as we obey your call, to ask you, to send out labors into the harvest field, God, we pray send labors cause the gospel to go to the Bugis people of Indonesia that they might be saved. And God, we pray that you would use our obedience and our praying and giving and going and making disciples of the nations right where we live and wherever you lead, help. God use our obedience, we pray, to lead them to stand on the rock that your word is. In Jesus’ name we pray, according to Jonah 1:1–3. Amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical, a ministry that exists to equip Christians to be on mission.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the following volumes in the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series: Exalting Jesus in MatthewExalting Jesus in JamesExalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, and Exalting Jesus in Galatians.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Resources from David Platt can be found at radical.net.


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