Uncomfortable Obedience

July 6, 2008 at 11:29 pm (Faith) (, , )

This weekend we started a new series at church on Jonah. So tonight at family worship I decided to read the first chapter of Jonah and we talked with the kids about obeying God even when you’re scared.

During his message this morning, Pastor Greg brought us some history on what exactly made Jonah fear going to Nineveh so much. My previous view of Jonah trying to avoid an “enemy land” was totally rocked as Greg talked about the Assyrians who occupied Nineveh and their reputation for torture of the Israelites. Their treatment was so bad that there would be mass suicides by a town’s occupants if they were about to be attacked. They would rather die at their own hand than suffer at the hands of the Assyrian army who would literally skin a human alive, bury them neck deep in the ground, pull out their tongue and nail it to the ground and leave them to die.

I suddenly had a new appreciation for Jonah’s dilemma.

Of course we didn’t go into the whole torture thing with the kids but we did talk about our choice to obey God even when what he wants us to do is dangerous, or scary, or maybe just embarassing.

Noah (8) said “Well, like what?” So we tried gave him a few examples – like God telling you to go to a mission field that is dangerous. Or maybe just having to apologize to someone you wronged but it’s embarassing.

Or, maybe it’s that God has told you to leave your job. A good job that provides well for your family. Where you work with people you care about and have a good time. And you don’t have another job lined up and don’t know what God wants you to do. You just know that he has called you to leave.

And then God provides a job for your wife that pays all the bills so you don’t have worry about finances.

“Like yoooooou guys,” says Natalie, pointing back and forth.




  1. Susie said,

    I love those teachable moments with the kids!

    I have a new perspective on Jonah, now, too! I love it when you hear a bible event that you’ve heard so many times before but then it comes alive in a new way! Pastor Greg has such a gift in delivering God’s Word!

  2. Stacey said,

    I love sitting around and having those moments with our kids. That’s when I know what we’re doing is really making a difference and they “get it!” Thanks for sharing your thoughts and letting us into your family time.

  3. Ashur said,

    Hello there,

    My name is Ashur Sada, an Assyrian from Iraq, currently living in Canada.

    I disagree with your premise about why Jonah refused to go to Assyria. It is not because he feared us. I believe it was a Jewish jealousy. The Jews, for whatever reason, didn’t want God to befriend the Assyrians or save them. Jonah thought ‘if I don’t go, these Assyrians will be punished by God…’ but he didn’t realize that God’s mercy is much greater than to wait for Jonah to obey his command.

    That is why when the Assyrian people and kings heard the news to repent, not only did they listen and obey, but they went much further than that.

    To this day, Assyrians all over the world, mark three days of fasting, which we call Nineveh feast (Baootha d Ninwayeh) ; one of our ceremonies, when Nineveh inhabitants feast three continuous days praying humbly to God to save their city from destruction (as in the past)

    I appreciate yourand Pastor Greg’s new take on this passage from Bible, but again, I have to kindly disagree.

    Thank You,
    Ashur S.

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