God told Jonah to go, and Jonah said “no!” He secured passage on a ship headed in the opposite direction. Jonah thought he deserved a better assignment than Nineveh. God wasn’t offering an option, yet Jonah treated God’s command as if it were a suggestion. Once aboard the ship Jonah curled up and went to sleep while the crew battled a terrible storm that threatened to destroy the ship and kill them all. The Captain finally awakened Jonah who was oblivious to what was taking place. Having thrown the cargo overboard and done all they could do to increase the chance of survival, those aboard cast lots to see who was responsible for the crisis. The lot fell to Jonah, and he admitted that his disobedience had caused the storm. He told them to throw him overboard and it would solve the situation. Although the crew tried desperately to row the ship out of the troubled waters, all efforts failed and at last they tossed Jonah over the side, praying that the God of heaven wouldn’t condemn them for Jonah’s death. The sea became quiet and Jonah spent 3 days and nights in the belly of a fish. Some serious rehab took place during that time. In the end, Jonah did as he had been commanded and went to Nineveh.
Scriptures – Is 46:10; Jo 1:1-17
Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass. For I do whatever I wish. (Is 46:10)
When we believe we deserve something better, some privilege or special treatment, we feel entitled. How often have you heard it said or said yourself, “I deserve better,” “They owe me,” “I am going to do what makes me happy.” Most of us struggle with entitlement to some degree. It often involves ignoring or disregarding authority or responsibility. As was Jonah’s case, it doesn’t turn out well, especially when it’s God’s authority you are dodging. When you ignore authority or responsibility in your life, it affects those around you. They have to pick up the slack for you at home or at work or financially. There are consequences. Others try to help you, get you to face your issue. Over time, your friends, family and co-workers grow weary and exasperated if you are unwilling to change. They may, indeed, throw you overboard just as the crew did to Jonah. You get fired. Your spouse leaves. Your friends move on. You crash financially. Until you reach the point of acknowledgement and humility, your life will be pretty miserable. Spiritually, we so often think we can take or leave God’s commands. Our loving God sends warning after warning, but if we continue living as we are, it will destroy our lives. We pray that God will change the world, but God thinks, “How can I change the world when you continue to ignore my commands?” We must live in obedience to God’s authority, be God honoring. God’s commands are not optional. Thinking and praying that God will bless you while you continue in your disobedience is a fantasy that won’t hold up. We need to kill the unicorn of entitlement. We are owed nothing; we deserve nothing, but God has given us grace. If we want God to change the world it starts with us. God’s commands are not suggestions for consideration. In obedience we are blessed!
Are you ignoring responsibility or authority in some area of your life? How do you respond to authority at work or school? Name one area in life where you feel you deserve better. Is someone having to clean up for your irresponsibility? Are you cleaning up for someone else’s irresponsibility? Name some ways in which we ignore God’s authority or don’t completely obey Him. Does partial obedience count? Spiritually in what area do you need to fully honor God’s authority?
Examine your life, your work, your relationships, and assess whether you are being responsible. Determine to be submissive to the authority that is over you. Examine your spiritual life and determine how you are responding to God’s commands. If you are shirking your responsibility, establish a plan of action and DO IT!
Prayer – Dear God, thank you for being a loving Heavenly Father whose commands are for my good. Help me to receive and obey your will and your word so that I can prosper in the life you have given me. Thank you for this one and only life that is a precious gift. May I honor you by being obedient. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.