Do you sometimes disobey your parents even when they’ve asked you to obey more than once? When you disobey your parents, you are disobeying God. In the Old Testament, we read about a man named Jonah who also disobeyed God. God asked Jonah twice to obey Him, but Jonah refused to listen to God’s command the first time.
Jonah lived in a place called Galilee in Israel. One day, God told Jonah to go and preach in the city of Nineveh, 500 miles away. The Ninevites were wicked people who wanted to destroy Israel. God asked Jonah to plead with them to repent of their sin, but Jonah thought they deserved God’s judgment, not His mercy. He didn’t want to obey God, so he fled in the completely opposite direction! He went to Joppa, the nearest seaport, and boarded a ship to Tarshish, 2500 miles from his hometown. How far Jonah was running from God!
God was displeased with Jonah for disobeying Him, and sent a huge gust of wind out to sea. Everyone on Jonah’s ship cried out in fear that the ship would sink, but Jonah was fast asleep in the bottom of the ship! The captain woke him, begging Jonah to pray to God for deliverance. Jonah knew the Lord was punishing him for his disobedience. Jonah confessed to the crew that he had disobeyed the Lord God of heaven and that the only way to calm the sea was to throw him overboard! Can you imagine what these sailors thought of such an idea? In desperation, they threw Jonah into the deep Mediterranean Sea. Immediately, God calmed the sea and the sailors gave Him praise for delivering them.
But what happened to Jonah? Jonah 1:17 tells us that God “prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah.” Think how terrified Jonah must have been! First, he was thrown into the ocean; then, he was swallowed by a huge fish! Jonah’s disobedience against God had brought him very low, and he knew what he must do: after three days and three nights in the belly of that fish, he cried out to God, repenting of his disobedience and asking forgiveness. Even though Jonah had greatly disobeyed, God had mercy on Him.
At the Lord’s command, the fish spat Jonah onto the shore, and once again, God told Jonah to preach in Ninevah. This time, instead of running in the other direction, Jonah obeyed God and begged the wicked Ninevites to turn from their sin. Rather than rejecting Jonah’s message or killing him, the Ninevites did repent and turned to God for salvation. See where Jonah’s obedience led? The Ninevites were spared judgment because Jonah obeyed the Lord.
Just as there are consequences when you disobey your parents, disobeying God also has consequences. Sin brings misery, and disobedience brings sorrow. The Ninevites deserved to be destroyed for rebelling against God, but God had mercy on them when they repented.
Have you turned from your sin and asked Jesus Christ for forgiveness? God graciously forgives us when we repent of our disobedience against Him.