REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional was first posted on July 9, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“We Don’t Have to be Perfect for God to Use Us”
Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. 6 The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, 8 but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9 Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”
What does it mean for God to use us? In today’s text, we find a powerful movement of God through a person.
Here, we find Jonah beginning to pronounce judgment on Nineveh. This was the task that he ran away from previously. As he passes through this great city, which takes three days (Jonah 3:3), Jonah is loudly declaring judgment in 40 days. This was not a pleasant message to give, and Jonah was probably not a pleasant messenger. Yet, this is who God chose and the message God gave him to speak.
Seeing this, it would be safe to assume that Jonah would have been beaten up or thrown out of the city or even killed. Yet, we find the opposite: The King hears the message and calls everyone to fast and repent. The whole city calls out to God and is transformed.
This is the supernatural work of God. Not only does He transform individual lives through the sharing of the gospel, but He can move great cities and nations.
I am personally challenged by this because I often find myself lacking faith in what God can do. When we are told that we would be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, I am filled with more anxiety than passion.
But our encouragement for faith and boldness wells up when we look again at this text. Nineveh’s transformation didn’t happen through a conquering hero or even through a person who was excellent in following the Lord. The message wasn’t eloquent or appealing. It was Jonah who ran away giving an offensive message that God used.
What this means for us is that we don’t have to be perfect or even at a certain level of maturity or accomplishment for God to use us. When the Word of the Lord comes to us and calls us to go, we just have to obey and God will do the rest.
This morning, let’s ask the Lord to reveal to us people He has called us to speak the gospel of Jesus to. Let’s take encouragement from this text and say to God, “Yes, I will go and speak.”
Prayer: God, open my eyes to someone You called me to speak Jesus to. Strengthen me to trust that as You send me, You will use me. I say yes to You. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Ezekiel 25
Lunch Break Study
Re-read the passage for this morning’s devotion.
Read Matthew 28:19-20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.””
Questions to Consider
- What was the result of Jonah’s message in Nineveh?
- What does God’s persistence in using Jonah to transform Nineveh reveal about how God operates?
- When we look at the Great Commission in light of today’s Jonah text, what encouragement do we find?
- The Ninevites repented by turning away from their evil ways and violence, and fasting from food and water that signified their desire for God’s mercy.
- Throughout Scripture, and especially in this text, it is evident that God loves using people to accomplish His will. He doesn’t always do this (e.g. Balaam’s donkey), but it is safe to say that the overwhelming majority of the times He does.
- Fulfilling the Great Commission is about obedience and availability more so than skill or personal merit.
We are all commissioned by God to speak His message wherever we go. Who is God placing on your heart to speak the gospel to? Pray that God would reveal this to you, and ask for an opportunity to share tomorrow.