Obadiah verse 15 says, “For the day of the Lord upon all the nations is near; as you have done, it shall be done to you; your reprisal shall return upon your own head.” Think about this verse in our national-present.
We had a children’s chorus that went like this: God told Jonah to go down to Nineveh, that old wicked town but Jonah didn’t want to go where he was sent. Until a big fish came along to show old Jonah he was wrong, and after that ordeal he changed his mind and went. When God tells you what to do you’d better do it, you better do it (repeat). It doesn’t pay to disobey that’s all there’s to it. Like old Jonah you’ll find out the hard hard way.
Jonah found out that no matter how much he tried to avoid what God wanted him to do, he found himself in futile activity. It is much like a hamster in a wheel. You get nowhere. Disobedience is a dead-end that blocks spiritual growth. When a believer disobeys the Lord, shame and guilt crowd in. Why? We know in our heart that we are wrong but still seek ways to hide.
What did Jonah do? He hid. Jonah 1:3 says, “…and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” Verse 4 says, “But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea…” Verse 5 said that the seasoned mariners were afraid, yet Jonah was fast asleep.
In verse 9 Jonah told them that he feared the Lord who made the heavens, the sea, and the dry land. His words were right in theory but his practice belied his words. His message and messenger did not match.
We can learn a valuable lesson from Jonah. Our witness is only authentic when our words and actions match. I love Franklin Graham’s statement about his father. He said that he was the same in the pulpit as he was at home.
How are you behind hidden doors? Does heart-integrity mark your words and actions? Proverbs 12:17 says, “He who speaks truth declares righteousness, but a false witness, deceit.” 1 John 1:9 says that when we confess our sins, the Lord is faithful to forgive us. The rest of the verse says, “…and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.” Disobedience is sin that blocks our fellowship with the Lord.
When Jonah sought to run from the Lord, he found out how creative the Lord was to bring his hidden reason for disobedience to the surface. So He will do the same for each of us. That is a glorious truth! Even in our self-deceptive ways, the Lord will perfect our way to lead us back to His perfect way.