“The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.’” (Jonah1.1-2)
One could almost hear Jonah thinking, “Nineveh? Why, they’re a cruel, pagan people, an enemy of Israel. Besides, there’s still lots of preaching to be done in my own country with my own people.”
So, “…Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish.” (Jonah1.3a)
We know how that little excursion of disobedience turned out for Jonah.
The LORD had one thing to say to Jonah: “Go.” He gave no leeway, no options, and He asked no opinion from Jonah. The LORD simply said, “Go.”
Options are the unprincipled distinction of the self-controlled.
Commands are the wonderful privileges of those under God’s authority.
Options are the prideful considerations of those serving self.
Commands are the humble honors of those serving Him.
We do not pick and choose our areas of service to God. We receive His call and obey as willing servants.
At the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus said, “Go.” (Matthew 28.19; Mark 16.15) He also said to His disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1.8)
Nineveh was not a lovely side trip to which Jonah was called. Neither was it to be considered a burden. The omniscient God, our Creator God, the God who loves us and loved Nineveh said “go and preach repentance” to that city. It was an order to be obeyed, plain and simple.
When God speaks to us, we can do no less.