WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
AUGUST 20, 2021
TOPIC: WILLINGLY SUBMIT TO GOD’S GUIDANCE
BY T. O. BANSO
“Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you” (Psalm 32:9 New King James Version).
Jonah was a prophet who didn’t willingly follow the LORD’s guidance. The LORD told Jonah, the son of Amittai, to go to Nineveh, a great city, the ancient capital city of the Assyrian Empire, and announce His judgment against it. This was because of the wickedness of the people, which had come before the LORD.
Jonah 1:3 says, “But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD” (New King James Version).
One would have expected that as the prophet of God, Jonah would have obeyed the LORD immediately and followed His guidance to go to Nineveh but he didn’t. He rather went in the opposite direction, several kilometers away from where the LORD had sent Him. “But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction in order to get away from the LORD” (Jonah 1:3a New Living Translation). How could he have thought he could get away from the LORD? Money was not his problem. He had enough money to go outside the will of God! The Bible says he paid the fare!
There are many people like Jonah today. The leading of God is very clear to them. They have no doubt about God’s guidance for them. They are fully aware of His will. But they are not comfortable with it. They don’t like where God is leading them or what He is leading them into. Therefore, they go their own way because they have the resources to go outside His will.
Eventually, God interrupted Jonah’s journey with a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. When the sailors found out Jonah was the cause of their trouble, they, at his request, threw him into the sea and the raging storm ceased.
Jonah preferred to die than go to obey the LORD. A repentant sinner would have the LORD he would obey Him but Jonah did not. He had thought he would die in the sea rather than go to obey God, which should have been a wiser option, but he was joking. The LORD ensured he didn’t die. He had prepared a fish to swallow him, not to eat him.
Jonah spent three days and nights in the belly of the fish and repented. “I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, and He answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and You heard my voice. For You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the floods surrounded me; all Your billows and Your waves passed over me” (Jonah 2:2-3 New King James Version).
Jonah continued, “Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight; yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’ The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; the deep closed around me; weeds were wrapped around my head. I went down to the moorings of the mountains; the earth with its bars closed behind me forever; Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD, my God’” (verses 4-6 New King James Version).
Eventually, the LORD commanded the fish to vomit Jonah on the beach (Jonah 3:1). The guidance that Jonah refused to submit to initially, he submitted to. He couldn’t escape from submitting to the LORD. He preserved him in the belly of the fish, a condition that must have been a nightmare for him! He was now ready to obey the LORD. The fish vomited him on the beach of the city he didn’t want to go to.
Jesus referred to Jonah’s experience in the belly of the fish thus: “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40 New King James Version).
The LORD could have left Jonah and called another person to go and deliver His judgment to Nineveh. When Elijah thought he was the only true prophet of God remaining, the LORD told him He had reserved seven thousand in Israel, who had never bowed to Baal or kissed him (1 Kings 19:18).
I believe the LORD insisted Jonah must go to deliver the message He had sent him to make a point that nobody could run away from Him. His eyes run to and fro through the earth (2 Chronicles 16:9). His counsel shall stand and He will do all His pleasure (Isaiah 46:10b).
Psalm 66:3-4 says, “Say to God ‘How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You. All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name’” (New King James version).
Let’s go back to the story of Jonah, the prophet who was forced to deliver the LORD’s judgment. The LORD gave him a second chance. The Bible says this after the fish had vomited Jonah: “Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.’ So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent. And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!’” (Jonah 3:1-4 New King James Version).
I will stop here on Jonah’s story. I will not go into his bad attitude when God later forgave the people of Nineveh after they had repented in response to Jonah’s message of impending judgment. The simple word God has for you in this message is not to be like Jonah who didn’t willingly follow the leading or guidance of the LORD. It took three days and three nights in the belly of the fish for Him to submit to the will of the LORD.
How many people have delayed their journeys in life because they didn’t want to go to the Nineveh God sent them but preferred Tarshish? Unlike Jonah, some died on their way to Tarshish. They didn’t have the privilege of a great fish swallowing and vomiting them. The ground opened its mouth and swallowed them. They died prematurely.
Some are living in misery; they’re living a miserable life because they’re outside the will of God for them. Psalm 68:6 says, “God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land” (New King James Version).
Don’t rebel against the will of the LORD as Jonah did and suffered needlessly. Don’t expose yourself to unnecessary hardship, frustration, and danger by refusing to go where God has sent you or rejecting His offers. There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25).
Willingly submit to God’s guidance. Go where He leads you. Don’t struggle against His guidance, leading, or direction. The Lord says He will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; He will guide you with His eye (Psalm 32:8). He knows what is best for you and you should willingly submit to it even when you don’t understand. Trust in Him. You are in a safe hand.
The LORD warns: “Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you” (Psalm 32:9 New King James Version). Horses or mules won’t come near you unless you force them by bit and bridle. They will only act by force and constraint.
You are a human being, not a horse or mule. You are not just a human being; you are a child of God. “Be ye not as a horse, as a mule, which have no understanding: whose trappings must be bit and bridle, for restraint, or they will not come unto thee” (Psalm 32:9 Darby’s Translation).
The horse or mule doesn’t have an understanding but God has given you understanding. When you act as if you don’t have understanding, you bring yourself low to the level of a horse or mule!. You have a conscience. In addition, you have the Word of God to guide you. His word is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path (Psalm 119:105). You also have the Holy Spirit. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God (Romans 8:14). Don’t be stubborn and be forced like a horse. Don’t wait until you find yourself in the belly of the fish or in trouble before you submit to God’s guidance or will.
Don’t be like a horse or mule. “Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body” (James 3:3 New King James Version). You are a child of God, not a horse or mule that doesn’t come near willingly. “A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the fool’s back” (Proverbs 26:3 New King James Version). You’re not a fool; you have understanding. You’re not a horse or a mule. Respond willingly to God’s leading. He doesn’t want to treat you like a horse. Learn by instruction, not by destruction. Obey God promptly.
Jeremiah 4:22 says, “For My people are foolish, they have not known Me. They are silly children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge” (New King James Version). Don’t be a fool. Submit to God’s guidance. Don’t turn to your own course, as the horse rushes into the battle (Jeremiah 8:6b).
The LORD says if you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword (Isaiah 1:19-20). The sword shall not devour you in Jesus’ name. God has made you wiser than the animals and birds (Job 35:11b). Don’t act like a horse or mule. Willingly submit to God’s guidance. “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:7-8a New King James Version).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of any way I have not submitted to your guidance, leading, or will. Forgive me, Father. Let me not be confused about the way to go or your will in every circumstance. Holy Spirit, help me to willingly submit to God’s direction or will as from today. I shall be willing and obedient and eat the good of the land. I shall not refuse and rebel; the sword shall not devour me.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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