We can see now that Jonah’s life would have gone so much better if he had just obeyed God in the first place. He had wasted money on a fare to Tarshish. He had wasted days traveling out to sea and then was transported by a fish. If he had immediately responded to the call, there would have been no storm, no drowning, and no fish. All of his efforts to derail God’s will for him had been a waste. If you could talk to Jonah at this point in the story, you might ask him, “Jonah, is there anything you would have done differently?” Surely he would scream: “Of course, I would! I’d obey the first time!” But even still, as we will see, Jonah’s heart was not right in his obedience.
God has promised that He will patiently and lovingly work discipline into the lives of His people to bring about repentance and obedience. Disobedience is a waste of our time. God will continue to pursue us, sanctify us, and create in our hearts a greater desire for Him and His gospel. We will be brought to completion at the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6), so let us join God in this work that He is doing in us rather than futilely fight against it.
How might you use your sinful choices and their consequences in the past to encourage a younger believer to obey God immediately today?