The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me” (Jonah 1:1,2 NIV).
The word of the Lord should come before we can preach. We cannot and should not dare to preach when there has not come to us any word from the Lord. For it is God who gives us the ability to communicate His Word. And we should listen when it comes.
You may ask, “Does God speak to us in like manner as He did talk to the prophets of old?” The answer is both “yes” and “no.” God is the same. He changes not. So He can talk to us as He did talk to the prophets.
But times have changed. He has given us His Word in the form of the Bible to us. And God often chooses to speak through His Word to us.
Therefore it is important for us to be in constant communion with the Bible if we want to hear God speak to us. As we keep reading God’s Word prayerfully, we shall hear God speak to us through the words in it.
But we cannot change what He speaks to us. For example, here the message is to preach against the great city of Nineveh. We cannot change that. The only course of action open to us is to obey it.
It means that we have to have an open mind to listen to what God speaks. It also means that we have to have a willing heart to obey what God says.
Let us therefore be ready to hear God’s word and willing to act when it comes. It is this combination of listening and obeying that is much valued in God’s sight.