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The Cloud of Witnesses

Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible



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Lesson 1: Jonah – Reluctant Missionary


Jonah 1.

Reluctant Missionary

God told Jonah to go to Nineveh. That was east of where he was. Jonah decided to go west. ‘God couldn’t want me to go to that wicked city. They are all evil and deserve to die. I’m not going to warn them – they will get their just desserts. I’m going off west to Spain. Oh look, there’s a boat going there. I knew I was right. Oh great, I’ve even got the right money for the trip. Wow, there’s one place left – must be just for me. Now I know I’m doing the right thing.’ Wrong!

Beware circumstantial ‘evidence’. It is usually neutral. Jonah knew better. He was just plain callous and disobedient.

Did you notice? While everyone else was terrified and doing all they could to stay afloat, our friend Jonah was fast asleep in his ‘couldn’t-care-less’ cabin. He thought he would be O.K. He was unknown. He wasn’t bothering anyone else. But he was found out. So will we be. He had to admit to being a follower of the true Creator God.

I wonder why he wanted to be thrown overboard. Was it to be ‘aided suicide’? Over he went but that was only the beginning. Did he touch the water or was it straight down the throat? Whichever it was, it was really cosy for the next 3 days, wasn’t it?

Listen. Disobedience is disobedience, regardless of the excitement. God expects us to warn the lost, and obey His last command – ‘Go (and preach) and make disciples’(Matthew 28: 19). Be obedient and own up to being one of His followers.

We might be judgmental over Jonah as a person, but can we be so without being hypocrites? How many of us, as Christians, have been asked to do something by God and gone off and done nothing about it, or just like Jonah done the complete opposite?

You see, the Lord has actually asked each of us to do the very same thing He asked Jonah. To go to the cities and tell the people there that they need Jesus and that He is The Answer to their needs. Maybe if our message were more direct like Jonah’s, people would listen up.

How are you doing with that or are you trying to go ‘west’?

You can’t hide.

(And watch out, you could end up in a watery grave or worse.)

Jonah would say to us today...

Don’t argue with God… The results can be frightening.


Father, please make me a risk-taker for You. Help me to be sensitive, responsive and obedient to each of Your promptings in my life. Forgive me whenever I try to rationalise or explain them away. Please give me the faith to follow You wherever You want me to go and to speak to each one You want me to speak to. Amen.

Additional readings

Romans 11:11-21; Acts 9:1-9; Numbers 16:1-35.


Why are we reluctant to share the Good News of Jesus?

Why do we even try to argue with God?

What experiences have you had when you have argued with God? (Or not followed through on His prompting?)

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