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Four Barriers to Obedience

February 16, 2015

The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.’  (Jonah 3:1-2, NIV)

God sometimes brings you back to face a challenge that you have faced before, and when that happens, you will see how his grace has changed you.  That’s how it was with Jonah.

It was not a foregone conclusion that Jonah would go to Nineveh when God called him the second time.  Jonah still has all the old objections to overcome:

  1. Fear—the Assyrians were still known for terror and torture. Nineveh was still the city of blood, full of lies and plunder, never without victims (Nah. 3:1). Nothing had changed in Nineveh.  Jonah still had to face his old fears.
  1. Shame—Jonah had failed the Lord big time. His sin had been exposed and he must have wondered “How can God use me?” Jonah had to get over his shame in order to obey God’s call.
  1. Self-InterestNineveh was one of the great Assyrian cities and its army was a threat to God’s people. If Nineveh had been destroyed, God’s people would have breathed a huge sigh of relief. Jonah says (in chapter 4) that the reason he did not want to go to Nineveh was because he feared that God would have compassion on them, and God’s people wanted Nineveh destroyed.
  1. Unbelief—God said “Go to Nineveh and preach.” Can God really change a wicked city like Nineveh through one man speaking God’s Word?

Nineveh had not changed, but Jonah had, and when God’s word came to him the second time, we read that “Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh” (3:3).

What’s keeping you from obeying God’s word today?  

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The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

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