Proverbs 3:1-12 (NIV)

1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.  3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.  4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.  5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.  8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.  9 Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.  11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

Jonah 1:3 (NIV)

3 But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.   

DEVOTION -Rosemary Feull (Cambridgeshire, England)

Jonah knew what he was supposed to do.  He was commissioned to go east to Nineveh, but he went to the sailing company and bought a ticket to go far away to the west.  Maybe he was afraid or confused or simply unwilling to accept God’s command.  Perhaps he thought he knew better.  God gave him freedom to disobey, to choose his own path, but God also responded with a storm and later by allowing Jonah an unpleasant stay in the stomach of a whale.  Later Jonah argued his case with God, but eventually he went to Nineveh as originally proposed.

Like Jonah, we may resist God’s leading, reasoning that something else is more appealing or more likely to be successful.  Deep down we may be willful, angry, or just plain scared.  God gives us freedom to choose our own path, but God will meet us on whatever path we take and will lead us further on the good route he has for us.  As our savior and deliverer, God responds to our decisions with more promptings to follow the purpose he has set for us and calls us to grow in faith and trust.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God guides us and gives us freedom to choose our way.

PRAYER: Dear God, we confess that we often ignore or reject your guidance.  Forgive us and help us to trust that the things you desire for us are good.  Amen.