DAILY DEVOTIONAL FROM PASTOR WESLEY May 6, 2022
God doesn't just want our obedience; He wants us to obey with loving, glad hearts.
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 up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. So, he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. The LORD hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. Then the sailors became afraid, cried to his god, and they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below, lain down and fallen sound asleep. So, the captain approached him and said, ``How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Each man said to his mate, ``Come, let us cast lots so we may learn on whose account this calamity has struck us." So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, ``Tell us What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? He said to them, ``I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land." Then the men became extremely frightened for they knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. So they said to him, ``What should we do to you that the sea may become calm for us?"-- He said to them, ``Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you, " However, the men rowed desperately to return to land but they could not, for the sea was becoming even stormier against them. Then they called on the LORD and said, ``We earnestly pray, O LORD, do not let us perish on account of this man's life and do not put innocent blood on us; for You, O LORD, have done as You have pleased." So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging. Then the men feared the LORD greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows. And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights. Jonah 1
Have you ever resisted obeying God because His instructions were something you didn’t want to do? That was the case with Jonah. The inhabitants of Nineveh were Assyrians, a people known for aggression and cruelty. Since they were enemies of Israel, Jonah thought he had good reason to resist the Lord’s command to preach to them.
While the goal was to draw the Ninevites to repentance through Jonah’s preaching, the Lord was also working to change the prophet’s unloving spirit—Jonah did not want that hostile people to experience divine grace and forgiveness. Though he eventually obeyed and went to Nineveh, his heart didn’t change.
The same thing can happen to us. It’s possible to go through the motions of obedience while harboring resentment, anger, and a rebellious spirit. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 warns us that even our greatest acts of sacrificial obedience, done without love, profit us nothing. God wants more than begrudging compliance; He wants us to do His will from the heart (Ephesians 6:6).
The next time you’re reluctant to obey the Lord, ask Him to change your heart. He wants His children not simply to obey but to delight in doing His will.
This is Dr. Michael Wesley, Sr.'s latest book on the subject of marriage. As a Pastor he has counseled many couples before, during, and after marriage so this has given him keen insight into the marital relationship. He himself has been married to the same woman for over 40 years so he has a wealth of knowledge on this subject. In this book Dr. Wesley covers that marriage comes from God, the keys to compatibility, the keys to staying in love, and even what to do if you feel you have married the wrong person. This is an excellent read if you are considering marriage in the future or even if you are currently married.