“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it” (Jonah 1:2)
Many Christians are frantically searching for the will of God for their lives, when frankly, it is very simple: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). The will of God is expressly made known in the pages of Scripture. If you desire to know the will of God, don’t look for a mystical sign, read the Word of God. Paul wrote to the Romans, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
The Lord does not speak to us through his Word generically or ambiguously, and neither did he speak to Jonah ambiguously. He made his will clear to Jonah: “Arise and go to Ninevah.” There, you must preach against that city because their wickedness has come up before me. Jonah said, “You want me to do what? You want me to preach to them?” The Assyrians were the terrorists of the day and were the archenemies of Israel. It’s hard to imagine that any Israelite would have a neutral emotional reaction when the name Assyria was mentioned. Therefore, it is understandable, though inexcusable, why Jonah was reluctant to obey God and boarded a boat bound for Tarshish. However, Jonah was wrong to disobey God. God wanted to demonstrate His sovereignty in that He had the right to save the most wicked sinner at the time of his choosing. Who was Jonah, and who are we to question that? Has not the Word of God come plainly to us as it did to Jonah? Jesus instructed his disciples to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). Jesus also told the assembled church in Jerusalem that “you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Wait. Lord, you want me to go to Samaria? Jews have nothing to do with Samaritans. We’re not going to preach repentance to those half-breeds.
To be judgment day honest, we all have our Ninevites and Samaritans – people we don’t want to tell about Jesus and places we don’t want to go to preach the gospel. Like Jonah, we run. Like the disciples, we rebel. I’m not going down there, Lord. I’m not going to share the gospel with them. Let that Muslim go to hell! Oh, that we may repent and obey the expressed will of God to preach the gospel to every man and watch God save sinners in a marvelous display of His sovereignty.