Let’s be real. Not being able to do what you feel like doing sometimes gets in the way.
As humans, we want to do what we want, when we want to do it, how we want it and then have the audacity to expect outcomes to be in our favor.
Well, you and I both know that’s not how life works.
& honestly praise the Lord it doesn’t.
I am not all-knowing enough to be able to foresee every single consequence and reaction to a single action or lack of action on my part.
Of course, it doesn’t take the divine prophecy of the Lord to predict a simple consequence; like if I slap my mother, I can easily anticipate that she will most certainly slap me back and may even throw in a courtesy body slam.
But it is in those Lord-given instructions that seem to not connect or make any sense at all to your current season that would make a mere mortal like you and I scratch our heads in bewilderment.
And sometimes due to the lack of understanding of how these particular God-sent instructions will work out for us, we decide to operate in the free will He graciously gave us and simply not adhere to them.
This is what we’ll be chatting about in this key, Cutie.
Before we dive all the way in, just a few preface points.
Let’s take a look and a stand on Romans 8:1-4 CEV
If you belong to Christ Jesus, you won’t be punished. 2 The Holy Spirit will give you life that comes from Christ Jesus and will set you[a] free from sin and death. 3 The Law of Moses cannot do this, because our selfish desires make the Law weak. But God set you free when he sent his own Son to be like us sinners and to be a sacrifice for our sin. God used Christ’s body to condemn sin. 4 He did this, so that we would do what the Law commands by obeying the Spirit instead of our own desires.
If you don’t take anything away from this scripture, takeaway these:
You belong to Christ, so you are not condemned/guilty.
You have been set free already.
But He set us free so that we would follow Holy Spirit and what He desires for us and not our own desires.
2. This message is being delivered to you from God through me in love and regard for your well-being. I personally want you to move into all of what God has made you to be, all that He has for you, all that He has destined for you to do.
& that depends on our obedience and worship to him.
Which leads us into this week’s message.
We all know this Sunday School story but the Lord led me to read the book of Jonah at my big grown age with my big grown understanding this time last year coincidentally. (I don’t believe in coincidences by the way).
Now I pass that same assignment on to you as well. Read the entire book in your own adult understanding now that you are hopefully more spiritually mature than your Sunday school days.
In the meantime, let’s go through together.
The story kicks off with the word of the Lord coming to Jonah saying “go to the great city of Nineveh[a] and say to the people, “The Lord has seen your terrible sins. You are doomed!”.
(AMP) Go [b]Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim [judgment] against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.”
Now understandably Jonah wasn’t really feeling this particular instruction and so he decided to just go somewhere else. The Word says he decided to go away to a different city instead “to escape the presence of the Lord and his duty as His prophet.”
While Jonah was on his way via ship, the Lord hurled a great wind towards the sea so much so that the ship was about to be destroyed.
Verse 5 of the first chapter says:
The sailors were afraid, and each cried out to his god.They threw the ship’s cargo into the sea to lighten the load. Meanwhile, Jonah had gone down to the lowest part of the vessel and had stretched out and fallen into a deep sleep. CEV
Now Cuties, I was a bit perplexed this go around while studying this particular part because why in the world was the man so soundly asleep when he was 1) operating in deliberate disobedience and 2) was in the middle of a violent hurricane-like storm while traveling on the lowest level of the ship at that!
Then the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance how comfortable I also used to be in my own sin and disobedience. Sleeping just as good as Jonah in the midst of a messy storm that I was the cause of.
Ain't that something?
So Jonah, knowing that the storm was because of him, told the men on the ship to throw him overboard.
I now interrupt this program to inform you of this Khi.S.A:
Your disobedience can very well cause a storm in the lives of others. Your life is literally not your own. We are a part of a bigger plan at work. This is bigger than you.
Jonah 1:17 AMP
Check out this very interesting footnote in the Amplified regarding that fish
The ancient Hebrew term “fish” did not make a distinction between fish and marine mammals. There are no marine creatures known today which would be capable of swallowing a man, either because of their anatomy or because of their observed behavior. It is possible that the creature that swallowed Jonah has long since been extinct, or even that it was uniquely created by God for this one purpose.
Just because it sounds so much like God, I’m going to go ahead and believe that He uniquely created that animal specifically for that purpose.
Wow. He is Jehovah Jireh. He sees to the need beforehand.
Even in the midst of Jonah’s disobedience. Even more mind-blowing.
In the second chapter, Jonah offered up a prayer to the Lord that literally was the epitome of Psalm 34:18 (AMP).
The Lord saves those who are truly sorry for their sin!
Before sitting down to do this key and to get into Jonah again, I wondered why did the Lord pretty much forcefully persuade Jonah with these particular events to be obedient if we have free will.
After reading chapter 2 again and with Holy Spirit’s help, I now understand.
It’s not that the Lord was forcing Jonah to just do what He told him to do, He was positioning Jonah to win. The Lord was positioning Jonah to be successful; but that success (for him and for thousands of other people) literally depended on Jonah’s obedience so the Lord had to get him in a place to use him.
God knows us so well. He knows our hearts more than we will ever know. Even when we are not behaving in a way that mirrors what is deep in our hearts. He has to put us in situations to pull that worship out of us; to come to our senses, to show Himself a Deliverer.
I have had my own encounter with God from the belly of the fish (figuratively speaking). He sent a storm in the midst of my disobedience & my running from His presence. But that storm was just the positioning for His glory and my success.
Praise His holy name!
(Hear more about that testimony on the podcast edition of this key).
In the third chapter of Jonah, the Lord instructed again for Jonah to go to Nineveh and say what He would tell him to say in which he did.
The Bible says Nineveh was an exceedingly great city so I assumed that Jonah’s initial hesitation was because perhaps the thriving and successful people there wouldn’t believe such a stark prophecy, especially when that prophecy didn’t align with their natural reality. But to my surprise (and probably to Jonah’s too), the people of Nineveh gave no pushback and “believed and trusted in God”. According to the Bible, everyone in the land proclaimed a fast in response to that Word of God. Even the king was with it chile!
Verse 10 of Jonah Chapter 3 says
When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God [had compassion and] relented concerning the disaster which He had declared that He would bring upon them. And He did not do it. (AMP)
Jonah was actually not feeling this at all. He was very angry and prayed to the Lord in Jonah 4:2 pleading the following:
“O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still in my country? That is why I ran to Tarshish, because I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and great in lovingkindness, and [when sinners turn to You] You revoke the [sentence of] disaster [against them]. 3 Therefore now, O Lord, just take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” (AMP)
Now in all honesty, I can understand where my man J was coming from. Hear me out.
He probably felt 1) he went through all of what he did just for the Lord to “not” do what he sent Jonah there for in the first place. 2) he may have been embarrassed that he spoke such a severe prophecy and wholetime it won’t even be coming to pass, making him look a bit like a liar.
But let’s keep it real, Jonah was being selfish in this way of thinking. He was only thinking about himself and how God’s decision inconvenienced him.
If he would’ve sat and looked at the glass half full for just a moment, he would’ve noticed that because of his obedience, an entire city turned back to God. That right there is enough to rejoice! Had he not gone and spoken what the Lord told him to, this exceedingly great city and its over 120,000 citizens would have probably perished!
Which is probably why the Lord responded the way he did in the next verse and then proceeded to show Jonah who’s God and who is not for the rest of the 4th and final chapter.
The storm that you are in the midst of may very well be a part of your divine positioning. Yes, it may be a result of your disobedience however the Lord uses ALL things for your good even your mistakes and moments of being hard-headed!
I pray that you will stop running from God and check your heart posture. Holy Spirit is awaiting you to ask for his help with living your life completely unto God.
No more luke warm. No more straddling the fence. No more part-time Christianity.
The Lord is calling back his daughters and wants to use us in an extraordinary way.
That begins with our “YES”.
The storm will cease and peace will follow our Yes.
Check out the podcast edition of The Key of Obedience: The Positioning here! Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.