Read Jonah 1:1-2:10
He wanted to die. Seriously, Jonah would have rather died than to do what God had asked him to do.
Sure, he was a Hebrew, a worshiper of God by virtue of genetics. But he was less than pleased to do things God’s way. For he knew God’s mercy would save people he himself did not care for.
Funny thing was, by doing his best to avoid God’s command, Jonah pointed more undeserving pagans to the One True God.
When Almighty God commanded him to “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it” because of its wickedness, Jonah thought he could run the opposite way and avoid obeying God entirely.
So he boarded a ship and headed to the other side of the world.
Jonah was willing to sacrifice his very breath, all while remaining unwilling to sacrifice the kind of life his heart would not give up.
The life of pride.
You see, Jonah preferred his way over God’s. His pride made him unwilling to obey the Lord of Life. The One He called the Lord of his.
When he told the fishermen he was a Hebrew, he said he “worship(ed) the Lord.” In the original Hebrew, his words look something like “I fear the One who made the sea and the dry land.” As in, “I’m afraid of the One True God. Still, I’ve chosen to disobey Him and go my own way because I don’t like His plan. I have a better one. How ‘bout you just toss me overboard and we can end this crazy storm?”
But God did not care for the words that only sounded like praise. Jonah offered so many words, probably even called them a sacrifice, but God would not have it.
He wanted Jonah’s obedient heart not his beautiful words or even his fleeting breath.
Have you ever tried to appease God while holding back your full surrender? It’s easy to do.
A little white lie on our state tax form followed by a nice big tithe in Sunday’s offering plate.
A morsel of gossip with a friend on the phone just before sacrificing a Monday night to lead a small group Bible study.
God wants our wholehearted surrender not our empty acts of sacrifice.