Sunday, March 19, 2006

Exegeting Jonah Devo

I am studying the book of Jonah for my exegesis project in Intro. to Bible Study. Because of this, the idea of obedience, which is so prevalent throughout this book, has been on my mind a lot lately. I have wanted to share some of my thoughts as I've been studying this book, but I just haven't sat down to do it. Coincidentally, I had to write a devotional for written communication, so I chose to use Jonah as a basis to briefly discuss the topic of obedience. I still have so much to study, and would like to finish that before I really go into my thoughts, but here is the devotional for now. Just thought I would share it with you as a beginning to getting my thoughts down. much love becky

Bible Reading: Jonah 1:1-3:10 (NIV)

Lyrics: Hear me laughing as you run from your calling
See me crying in the storms that rage
One way or another you will be going
To obey is such an easier way
-Jason Upton Run Baby Run

Bible Story Recap:
Jonah’s story is a classic tale of running from God’s calling. God called Jonah to go to Ninevah and preach to the people there (1:2). Jonah did not like this idea because the Ninevites were a wicked people, so Jonah “ran away from the Lord” (1:3). Jonah hopped on a boat and sailed in the opposite direction. He was going to do everything he could to get as far away from Ninevah as possible, but he did not anticipate God trying to stop him. God caused a great storm on the lake which brought about chaos on the boat (1:4-5). Jonah admitted that he was the reason for the storm, and he was thrown off the boat (1:12-16). The Lord “provided a great fish to swallow Jonah” (1:17). Jonah spent three days and three nights inside the fish. He used that time to pray to God (2:1-9). Jonah had a heart change and the Lord commanded the fish to spit Jonah out (2:10). God then gave Jonah a second chance to go preach to the Ninevites (3:1-2). This time, Jonah obeyed (3:3). As a result, the whole city of Ninevah repented and God had compassion on the Ninevites (3:5-10).

Making it Personal:

As much as we would all like to point fingers at Jonah and say, “I can not believe you didn't listen to God,” we are all a lot more like Jonah than we would like to admit. There are many times during the course of life that we say “no” to God. He may not ask us to go preach to an entire city, but He does ask of us. He asks us to put down the remote and pick up His Word. He asks us to go talk to that person sitting by him or herself. He asks us to love Him above all. Many times, we fail. We disobey. We keep watching our favorite show. We tell God, “They probably don’t want to be bothered.” We love ourselves more than we love Him.

I am just as guilty as the next person when it comes to disobeying God. When I was younger, I fell in love with softball. A few years later I fell in love with the Lord, but my love for softball was stronger than my love for Him. I continually chose practices and tournaments over youth group and church. I continually said “no” to God and “yes” to softball. My dream was to play college softball, and I did not want to think that God might have something else for me. I made plans to go to a community college and play softball for a year and then transfer to a four-year college. Just like Jonah, my plans never fell through. God grabbed a hold of me before I could make my plans happen. He made it clear that I had to let go of my plans, and obey his calling on my life. This time, I obeyed.

My story is not much different from Jonah’s. I had my own plans and I was not going to allow God to change that, but God caught up with me. God will always catch up with us. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” As the lyrics above explain, God will watch us try and do our own thing for a period of time, but eventually, His plans will succeed. Life would be so much easier if we would just listen to God the first time He calls us, rather than putting Him off. Jonah ignored God and put his life and the lives of others around him in danger. Don’t be a Jonah; obey God the first time.

Questions to Think About:
1. What are some areas you struggle obeying God in?
2. What keeps you from obeying God in these areas?
3. What can you do to start obeying God in these areas?

Lord, help me to obey You in (whatever you’re struggling with). I don’t want to be like Jonah and run from you anymore. I want to obey you. Give me the strength to follow You, no matter what the cost. Amen.


  1. Now Becky...I have to say we are pretty branched out! We like almost EVERY kind of music except country. We know we're not missing out! We just wanted to promote one of our many favorite artists!

  2. Hey Becky! I think this devotional is awesome. I can defiantly say i'm being a Jonah in some parts of my life. But I never of it this way before. Anyways have a great day. Love ya! Shauna