“‘But every person and animal must be covered with sackcloth; and people are to call on God vehemently, and they are to turn, each one from his evil way, and from the violence which is in their hands.’”
I may have told this story before in one of my blogs (I’m getting older, so just pretend you haven’t heard it, lol). I was on a trip once with a work colleague in North Carolina. We were driving back to Florida after a conference and decided to stop and get a bite to eat. We finished and got back on the interstate. After about 30-45 minutes I begin to notice things I had seen already along the highway, only this time they were on the opposite side of the road. We had headed in the opposite direction. Wrong way!
Jonah is watching what is taking place there in Nineveh. Now, the king continues his proclamation demanding that not only the people but that every animal be covered in sackcloth as a sign of mourning. But what he says next grabs me. He tells them to call on God with all their strength. That’s what the Hebrew word for “vehemently” means. And he says they are to turn from their evil ways and violence. That’s true repentance.
True repentance requires a change in behavior. It requires us to turn from the direction we have been going and go in a totally new direction. That new direction is at the discretion of the Lord. He may change the direction, according to what He is trying to teach us at the moment.
The problem we have is that we like to determine our own direction. We veer off the course the Lord is showing us, determined to show Him how we can handle it. I just finished reading “Pilgrim’s Progress.” That was Christian’s problem. He kept trying alternative routes which all brought him pain and grief.
I am getting too old to try it on my own. I know if I stick with the Lord, He will always keep me safe. It may not be easy, but it’s safe. It always is when I am traveling with Him. Will you today allow the Lord to direct your steps? There is no telling what you may find yourself doing.
I come before You, O Great Elohim, and bow before You. I turn from my evil ways.