Daily Reading: Jonah 1
“…and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”Acts 1:8 (NASB)
Arise and Go
So many times, it seems, the Lord asks His servants to “Arise and go.” This second verse of Jonah chapter one echoes God’s call of Abraham, the call to Moses at the burning bush and many others throughout time. Arise and go is the command of Jesus to His disciples at the time of His ascension, and it is required of us when the Lord calls us. No great missionary venture would happen without those who are called, going. Going is an act of faith; indeed, a tremendous act of faith. It seems God often calls us to places we would never consider going.
Jonah is now called to go to Nineveh. We’ve all heard the wickedness that Nineveh contained, and there is no sense recounting its details now. It is sufficient to accept the word of the Lord, who identified it as “wicked.” This extremely old city, situated in upper Mesopotamia is mentioned all the way back in Genesis 10. One might ask the question, “Why didn’t God choose someone closer.” Was it prudent for Jonah to walk some 500 miles to minister to this place? Jonah was not even sure they would repent, and his later actions dictate that he wasn’t expecting them to. This is how God works. Why did God use Abraham, who was in Ur of Chaldees to begin a nation in Canaan? These are questions for the omniscient (all knowing) God alone.
God Values Process
How often does this happen today. God will use a man from California to plant a church in New York, or a man from Phoenix, Arizona to plant a church in Alaska. God may take one from Michigan and send them to Papua New Guinea to reach a tribe of thousands with the Gospel. Could He not have used someone closer? Perhaps, but in God’s economy and purposes, He sees both the process and the outcome. He knows who needs to be touched along the way, and He carefully selects the right person for the right job.
There is one significant thing we see about every mission God sends man on. They were faithful, and obeyed. Perhaps they did not obey right away, as we will see in the book of Jonah, but eventually each prophet, leader, and missionary obeyed the Lord. Our example could be no better than Christ Himself. He left heaven (Phil. 2), to come to earth. While used in a slightly different context, keep in mind, “He who calls is faithful.”
Finally, we do well to remember that the outcome of any calling is not determined by man’s perspective but God’s. Consider the missionary who dedicates their lives to years of Bible and missionary training, learns a couple new languages, spends years learning culture and translating the Bible and lessons; only to have the Gospel message rejected by the tribe, and the couples asked to leave. Man may consider this a failure, however in God’s economy, it was a success. The couple(s) were faithful!
Are we being faithful to the calling of God in our lives? God may not be asking you to go to a foreign land, but to reach out to friends and family or serve in your local church.