The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me." (Jonah 1:1)
When we think about the Old Testament book of Jonah, we usually think about a great fish. But this true story is actually more about our great God and His sovereign authority over all people, animals, even nature; The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm... (Jonah 1:4); The Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah. (Jonah 1:17); So the Lord God appointed a plant. (Jonah 4:6}; But God appointed a worm... (Jonah 4:7) God appointed a scorching east wind... (Jonah 4:8)
Jonah, God's Prophet, choose not to obey God. He arose, but instead of going to the city of Nineveh and crying against the wicked people there, he disobeyed God and tried to go the opposite direction toward the city of Tarshish. You remember the rest of the story-- God appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, three days later vomit him up on dry land and again sent him on to Nineveh. Not exactly first class travel! God is serious about His commands.
Our old friend Tom Shrader used say, "There is a little bit of Jonah in each of us." We all are sometimes stubbornly and sinfully disobedient to God's commands; Therefore the one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. (James 4:17)
Like Jonah, whenever the word of the Lord comes to you or me, it is best to immediately obey. We may not have to spend some time in a great fish, but God is sovereign and He does discipline His children who choose to disobey Him; And have you forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him; For those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives." (Hebrews 12:5-6)