Get up and go (again)

Get up and go to Nineveh, that great city, and declare against it the proclamation that I am commanding you.”
-Jonah 3:2 (CEB)

The Lord's second word to Jonah was almost identical to the first word he gave him. The first time, the Lord said, "Get up and go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it, for their evil has come to my attention.” God had patiently taken Jonah through the "hard way" and now again offered him the "not as hard way".

Jonah might have thought to himself, "remember what happened last time when I didn't go to Nineveh?" Obviously, Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh the first time, for some reason. We don't know what that reason was at this point. We do know that there was an evil in Nineveh that had come to God's attention. Something bad was going on with the Ninevites and Jonah previously had a strong aversion to them. Was it fear, prejudice, dislike, anger, or all of these?

Notice that both times, God said to him, "get up and go". Jonah was being commanded to specifically do something. Not to think about it, write about it, talk about it, pray about it, but to do it. This was a directive "now" word. Some or perhaps most prophetic words are future words, words in which God says, "I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the LORD; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope." (Jer. 29:11)

This word from the Lord was a command word. He did not obey the command the first time. Will he obey God the second time? What happens when we don't like God's assignment for us and refuse to do them? Sometimes when we take the wrong turn, the only way to get back on the right path is to go all the way back to where we missed the turn and retake it.

There was something that Jonah did not like about his assignment and we might not like our assignment either and try disobedience. If we focus on our selves, saying, "I can't do it", "I don't want to do it because I am afraid", "I don't want to do it because I don't like those people", or, "they are too far gone to hear"; we have missed it. We have gotten our focus off God! God has decided on this assignment in his wisdom. He knows best. Will we trust that where God guides, he provides? But, the proviso of God's provision is that he may not provide the way you think he should.

Maybe God gives us assignments we would not choose and do not like because he wants to stretch us? He stretches us to change us, to make us more godly and Christ-like. During the rest of Jonah's story, we will see how God wanted to change Jonah; how God wanted to give him a deeper revelation.

Where has God called you to get up and go to? Are you having trouble just getting up? Perhaps God has not given you an assignment like Nineveh, but he is calling you to get up and just go, to follow him, like Abraham. The rhythm of the kingdom, modeled in Jesus is going and resting. We go and we rest.

Obedience. Will we obey when God assigns us? Will we take our second chances when they are offered again?