Photo Credit: Greg Raines
Remembering the story of Jonah , God instructs him to go to the city of Nineveh and preach against it because of all the wickedness there. However Jonah fled from the Lord and ran in the opposite direction. After being thrown into the sea and swallowed by a giant fish for three days, Jonah cries out to the Lord and is then spat up from the belly of the fish to go and do as he was instructed.
The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, : Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me." But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarnish, paid the fare and went down into it to with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
I still have a time wrapping my head around the fact Jonah was in the belly of a fish for three days. I can not fathom the intense grossness of it all. Can you? Had he gone as soon as God told him to, those three days would not have been. His lack of obedience caused him more distress than actually going into Nineveh from the start.
Then we have the story of Barak in the book of Judges. Deborah instructs him of God's commandment. He is to march to Mount Tabor that the Lord will draw out Sisera and deliver him unto Barak's hand. And what does Barak say? He tells Deborah he will go but only if she will go with him. It is then Deborah tells him she will but the honor will no longer be his as the Lord will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman.
Now she sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, Behold, the Lord, the God of Israel, has commanded, " Go and march to Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men from the sonx of Naphtali and from the sons of Zebulon. I will draw out to you Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his many troops to the river Kishon, and I will give him unto your hand." Then Barak said to her, " If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go." She said, "I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the honor shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman. "
In both situations there is disobedience. Jonah runs away in the belief he can actually hide from God. He hunkers down in a boat ,as if that will hide him. Just the thought brings a small giggle to my my spirit; like when I was a child and pulled the covers over my head so the monster would not get me. The reality is, had there been a monster of sorts out to get me, my covers would not have kept me hidden any more than a boat kept Jonah hidden from God. Jonah is brought to his knees by living in the belly of a stinky, smelly fish. Once again the fish thing still has my head spinning and my stomach turning.
I. Can. Not. Even. Imagine.
Barak agrees but puts a stipulation on his obedience causing him to lose honor in the sight of God. Think about the time period he lived in. Women were not thought of in high regards. Even though Deborah was the expection to that rule, women had their place to maintain per say and here the Lord called Jael up to honor in place of Barak due to his disobedience. This mighty warrior who held such distinguish valor with his comrades, now has a woman beholding the honor that would have been his. Can you fathom the humiliation he suffered amongst his kinsmen? I am all about women warriors but once again we must remember the time period in which this took place.
Going between the stories of these two men, I take a look inside my own life. How many times has my daddy God had to put me in the belly of a fish? ( well, not literally) When did I allow my own fear to take presence over my obedience to God? How long did it take me to hit my knees,surrender my emotions and become a willing servant to my Lord? And then I bounce back to Barak and ask, How many times have I lost favor due to placing stipulations on the plans He has for me?
"Sure Lord, I will do it but............." Yeah you get my point. The truth is, God doesn't send us out to glorify the life we want to live,He sends us to glorify Him and the life He has for us to live through Him.
Both men made decisions based on their fear and lack of trust. Jonah had to get dirty in the belly of a fish before he submitted and even though Barak marched to Mount Tabor, he did so by bringing Deborah whom he though held his victory. In turn he lost his honor to Jael when she herself drives a tent peg through Sisera's head. Courage is an understatement for that girl!! She had to hit that tent peg with such accuracy and force causing Sisera to never know what hit him. The hand of God moved over her to capture that victory.
I do not believe the Lord would have me to literally drive tent pegs in the temple of my enemies head, nor will He have me swallowed up by a giant fish. My fish may be fashioned as unopened doors, or maybe a season of silence when I have taken a path that was not mine to take. And then there were those times I was told to march but yet I remained firm in the place I stood. Sadly He had to allow me to become held in the muck of my disobedience and His favor placed on another.
There is so much to be learned from the examples God has laid out in His word. Lessons learned the hard way along with victories won by the hand of God. And all have a common factor........ Obedience.
I am grateful He continues to take me back, time and time again, to the lessons of love and growth He has woven through out his Holy word. God's word will always be fulfilled regardless if the one He has called is obedient or not. It is however up to us to choose to obey and go where He says go, or cause Him to call upon another.
When God says go, will you go?
Forever His Daughter,