Amplified Bible (AMP)
1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying,
2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.
3 But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from being in the presence of the Lord [as His prophet] and went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish [the most remote of the Phoenician trading places then known]. So he paid the appointed fare and went down into the ship to go with them to Tarshish from being in the presence of the Lord [as His servant and minister].
Jonah was instructed by God to deliver a prophetic word of judgment against the city of Nineveh. It's a very difficult assignment to tell a city or even one person that what they are doing is wrong. I can understand completely what it feels like to be hesitant to deliver a word of correction, even if that word of correction turns a person from the world to God.
Jonah did not desire to put himself into the position of being thought of by man as "the bad guy." Instead of obeying God immediately, he ran away from his assignment and his God.
As a young girl, I remember working with my dad. One memory was helping dad mix cement. It was strenuous and tiring, and I'm pretty sure I whined something like, "I don't wanna, daddy!" My father, being a gentle and gracious man, didn't force me to do something I couldn't or didn't want to do. Instead, he probably took me to Reed's Inn for lunch or a snack. My father understood that I was a little girl. That I was not strong enough or mature enough to complete the work of an adult.
I loved hanging out with my dad.
Today, my Abba understands my areas of immaturity and weakness. He may ask me to do or say something that I just don't wanna. But like my earthly dad, my heavenly Daddy is full of gentle grace. Be assured, I'm not speaking of the disobedience of sin. Abba, does not tolerate sin!
Abba knows me better than any other. He knows my heart wants to be all that He desires. He also knows that a child needs to mature in his ways. I am learning to trust my Father when He tells me to speak or do...trust that He will give me the grace that I need to accomplish His directive. But, I still miss His mark at times, cave into my immaturity, and may even whine, "I don't wanna, Daddy!"
Abba doesn't get angry or punish me for an immature heart, because that heart isn't intending to be disobedient. That heart is just too immature to comprehend.
Instead, my Abba calls me to come and hang out with Him and dine with Him at His banqueting table. He knows that in His Presence I am changed; I am matured. He knows that from glory to glory to glory, I am transformed into His Image.
I love hanging out with my Daddy (Abba).
Just like Jonah, I have a great mission. Abba calls me, matures me, equips me. He understands my immaturity and weaknesses, just as He understood Jonah's immaturity and weaknesses.
However, Abba doesn't allow me or you to continue in immaturity.
My destiny is too great!
Your destiny is too great!
Abba may send a modern day whale to transport us to the place of our assignment. It may feel scary. It may feel lonesome, but ultimately, Abba has only good in mind for us!
Abba, help us to trust and rely on Your grace when You ask us to say or do something that feels scary. You are good always! You love like no other! Thank You for not allowing us to stay in our place of immaturity. All for You, AMEN!!!