The newest book by Brother Andrew and me is scheduled for release on August 1. Our challenge to readers is to clearly hear God’s call and then engage in one or more of the conflicts raging today in our homes, society, nation and world. We draw from the stories of five Old Testament figures who over 10 weeks (6 short devotional readings per week) show us how to fight today’s spiritual battles.
I heard Brother Andrew preach about Jonah over three nights at an evangelistic campaign in a Muslim country. His approach was fun and challenging. The following is an excerpt from our book:
Try to understand Jonah’s problem. He was ordered to go to the enemy of his people. The Assyrians were making forays into northern Israel where Jonah lived. It is entirely possible that they had attacked his home village of Gath-hepher. Perhaps Assyrians had killed his parents. Maybe he had watched soldiers rape his sisters. If that’s the case, we can certainly understand why Jonah hated this assignment. Being told to go to Nineveh would be like being ordered today to go to Baghdad. Or Mogadishu. Or Pyongyang, North Korea.
Maybe your enemies are closer to home. Perhaps it is the abortion provider in your community. Or the drug dealer who has ensnared too many students in your high school. It could be the neighbor who loudly promotes the political candidate who opposes everything you consider Christian.
Jonah should have been pleased to learn that the wickedness of Nineveh had come to God’s attention. Jonah believed the Assyrians should have been judged for their brutality. His solution: Go—and kill them!
God has a different message—Go—and win them.
It is easier to identify with Jonah than with any other prophet. Others feel so holy. Jonah is so much like us.
God says: Go ye!
Jonah says: No!
Jonah’s basic problem: He had too much love for himself. He thought: God will make a fool of me. I will lose face. He refused to be a fool or Christ. He wanted God, but not God’s Kingdom. He wanted blessing without responsibility. He had no compassion for the lost. He was more than willing to let them go to hell.
What Jonah did have was money. He had made some wise investments. Rather than going east to Iraq, he headed west and bought a ticket on a Mediterranean cruise. He figured it was his money and he could spend it any way he chose. He did not stop to think that all we have in our bank accounts and investment portfolio belongs to God. Jonah pays with God’s money to escape God’s call.
God spoke to Jonah because Jonah had a relationship with God. God also speaks to us if we have a relationship with Him. Are we listening? Do we hear Him? Are we eager to receive God’s Word?
Or are our heads filled with noise? Are the headphones of an MP3 player or smartphone constantly plugged into our ears. Must we always have the television on in the room? Are our schedules filled to overflowing with meetings and activities? If so, how will we know when God is speaking to us?
What are the consequences if we miss God’s Word to us? They could be catastrophic—eternity may hang in the balance for millions of souls.
For Reflection: Can you hear God’s voice in your life? Or is there too much outside noise? How can you reduce the noise in order to hear God more clearly? How do you recognize God’s voice?
You can pre-order your copy of Fearless by Faith here: Fearless by Faith: How to Fight Today’s Spiritual Battles: Brother Andrew, Janssen, Al: 9780800763206: Amazon.com: Books