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Jonah: Heart of the Father

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Have you ever looked down on others? Have you ever been a “religious snob” or “holier than thou?” Or for whatever reason, you thought you were better than, or superior to, other people? These questions require honest answers.

But truth sets us free! Consider the prophet Jonah, who let his own feelings and opinions land him in the belly of a large fish. Do not judge Jonah harshly. Many people have done what he did. I looked down on others, not realizing it was a defense mechanism. I did not see people through the eyes of the Lord, but rather, through my own wounded soul. Compassion for others was simply not there. I thank God for His mercy and grace to deliver me from brokenness.

The book of Jonah illustrates the distinctions between man and God. Consider Jonah’s deeply felt conviction to not go to Nineveh—which was his disobedience to God with dire consequences. He spent three nights in the belly of a large fish. And he received divine revelation in that fish and emerged with new perspectives.

The heartbeat of the Father is compassion. He is the sovereign God who loves beyond comprehension. We were created in His image and likeness. So, how could Jonah, a prophet, choose to disobey God? I plan to talk with him about that when I step into eternity. 

The people of Nineveh committed atrocities against their enemies, including Israel—and Jonah despised them and had no compassion toward them. So, he chose his own way, through disobedience, seeming to say, “I have been there, done that, got the T-shirt.” But the Lord rescued Jonah, and Jonah complied when God spoke the second time.

We all must make the decision to obey God whether we understand the “why” or not. The privilege of hearing God’s voice is reason enough to obey Him. He commanded Jonah:

“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. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD. (Jonah 1:2-3 ESV)

Jonah’s message was short, compelling, and had an astonishing result. Consider:

Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. (Jonah 3:4-6) 

Did you catch the part where the people called for a fast, and the king joined them? The yoke-destroying anointing of God is real. When we allow God to use us, lives are saved, souls are won, and the kingdom is advanced. So, the next time you want to run away from fulfilling an assignment, remember Jonah.

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. (Jonah 3:10)

May we always have the heart and fortitude to obey the voice of God. May He grace us with His perspective and His heart for the nations! 


Scripture is quoted from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.


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About The Author

Image of Vernell Windsor

Elder Vernell Windsor is a Regent University graduate with a Master of Theological Studies and a lifelong learner who enjoys reading and laughter with friends and family. She's an ordained elder who loves Jesus and His people and had worked at CBN since 2013.

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