God needed the Ninevites to hear the message of impending judgment, and He needed Jonah to deliver that message and call the Ninevites to repentance. In four short chapters, the phrases about God providing what was needed appear six times!
Because His messenger was running away and prejudiced against the Ninevites, God had to provide the means to get Jonah’s attention and provide a way to get him back on mission. So God provided…
- …a great wind on the sea (1:4)
- …a huge fish to swallow Jonah (1:17)
- …the command to the fish of where and when to deposit Jonah (2:10)
- …a green plant, a worm, and a scorching east wind to awaken Jonah to his prejudice (4:6-8)
The storm God provided caused the sailors to turn to God. The fish God provided caused Jonah to turn to God. And the sermon God provided Jonah to preach caused the Ninevites to turn to God.
What about the worm and the wind? Did those cause Jonah to turn his attention back to God? The Bible doesn’t tell us because I believe we each have to complete that story ourselves. When God provides trials, discomforts, and even disasters, they are intended to get our attention.
Let’s keep this in mind the next time things aren’t going the way we had planned. Instead of complaining—or even praying for God to remove us from those difficulties—let’s instead ask ourselves:
- Have I been disobedient to something God has directed me to do?
- Have I allowed myself to get off-track?
- Is my attitude about my God-directed assignment God-honoring?
- Is there something God is trying to bring to my attention?
God provides everything needed to keep us on mission for Him. Let’s not try to get out of these difficulties, but let’s ask Him what we need to get out of these difficulties.
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