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Simply obedient

And Jonah got up and went to Nineveh, according to the LORD’s word. (Now Nineveh was indeed an enormous city, a three days’ walk across.) Jonah 3:3

Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord. He did what God said to do this time. He got up and went. God specifically told him do do something and he did it. It's the same thing that God told him to do before, that he did not do, which he got in so much trouble for not doing. God gave Jonah a second chance and he is taking that chance now.

Jonah exercised his faith. Faith is an action. You say you have faith. Good, now show me. That's action. Faith is not just a belief, but belief acted upon. If you act upon it, it's real faith. When you act on faith, you also risk. John Wimber said that faith is spelled r-i-s-k. Jesus asked various people to do something often and complimented others who did something to express their faith like the guys who lowered the man through the roof to get to him (Mark 2:4). Remember when Jesus said to the disciples, "you give them something to eat" (Mark 6:37 & Luke 9:13)? Jesus told the man with the shrivelled hand to stretch it out (Mark 3:3 & Matt. 12:10). Jesus told the man at the pool to get up (John 5:8). Paul said that we must work out what God works in (Philippians 2:12-13).

What is faith? Is faith when we get the blue print or get the orders or plan from God and then go do it, go make it happen? No, that is not faith. It is God that does it, God that makes it happen. Faith is in God who does it, whatever it is. His faithfulness provides all the power. I put my faith in him. My faith is in his faithfulness. Even if he does not do it, my faith is in him, in his person. He is good no matter what happens. If it does not happen, whatever it is, it does not make me or anyone else bad; but he is always good. This is how Job could say, "though he slay me, yet I will trust in him", (Job 13:15).

Did Jonah perhaps get way ahead of God, in his mind, the first time and get overwhelmed? It says that Nineveh was enormous. It does not say that God's assignment was enormous. It was simple. Like the U2 song, Jonah got, "stuck in a moment", and he could not get out of it. But God got him out and gave him a second chance. Big plans seem overwhelming, but a big God is up to it. God tries to say to us, "don't worry, I will do all the heavy lifting." Yes, he says, "don't worry". When we worry, we are calculating without God in the equation.1 God gives us peace in the storm, the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). When we try to understand or figure some things out that are beyond us, we can get overwhelmed and depressed and anxious (Philippians 4:6). That's why we need to exercise faith in God by casting our cares on him (Psalm 55:22 & 1 Peter 5:7).

When Jonah again began his journey of obedience towards Nineveh, it was just one foot in front of the other, step by step; simple. To try to figure it out is complicated. Making our plans outside of God is sophisticated. God is not sophisticated, but simply brilliant. What God is looking for is simplicity. Simple faith. Simple trust in him walked out. Simply obedient.

1. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, July 5th, Don't Plan Without God: Psalm 37:5

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