Summary: This devotion is about the 2nd call of God to Jonah to go and preach to the people of Nineveh. This is the 22nd of 31 devotions on the book of Jonah, where a comparison is made between Jonah and The Church-at-large, in the light of the present global pandemic.
Jonah 3:1 – “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.”
“Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time…”
When we read the above words of the Lord to Jonah in Jonah 1:2, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” We are also reminded of Jonah’s reaction to the Lord’s commission to him in verse 3, “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.” We’ve looked at all that happened as a result of Jonah’s rebellion that eventually led to his repentance. Now we see the Lord being gracious and commissioning him the 2nd time with the same commission to go and preach to the Ninevites.
Isn’t it a wonderful thing to know that our Lord is so gracious and does not give up on us no matter how much we rebel against Him, and how He is willing to forgive and restore us back to Himself and to His calling on our lives, if only we are willing to repent? I’m sure at least a few of you reading this devotion can identify with Jonah’s initial rebellion, where we too, rebelled against God’s call on our lives to take His word to the world and perhaps later repented and responded in obedience. I for one, can certainly identify with Jonah in this way as I had rebelled twice before I actually responded in obedience to the call of God on my life to go into full-time ministry, and I’ve never regretted that decision ever since.
It’s really sad that The Church-at-large has, to a large extent not willingly and gladly embraced the Great Commission as a Commission to us to make disciples of all nations, but has instead rebelled against the call of God on us as The Body of Christ and we’ve brought upon ourselves untold misery and even been the cause of the name of the Lord being blasphemed among unbelievers, much like it says in Isaiah 52:5 and again referred to in Ezekiel 36:20-23 and by Apostle Paul in Romans 2:24. It does seem like history has a way of repeating itself. Rebellion seems to be not just an issue with the people of God in the past, where God said through Isaiah in Isaiah 65:2-3, “I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, according to their own thoughts; 3a people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face…” but it seems to be the problem of The Church of today as well. We’ve become so lackadaisical concerning God His ways and His plans and His purposes for us as The Body of Christ, that we no longer matter to the world. Not only are we the cause of the name of the Lord being blasphemed among the non-believers, but we’ve also become a laughing stock to them.
It’s high time we stopped, pondered our ways and repented of our rebellion. This global pandemic has shaken us up, woken us up alright, but if we don’t repent despite this, then there’s every chance there’s going to come a time of persecution that The Church will go through and that will bring about repentance alright. We can learn things two ways – the easy way or the hard way – let’s not have to learn it the hard way.
“Saying, ‘arise, go to Nineveh, that great city…”
It’s interesting that the posture Jonah was in when God gave him the first commission seems to have been similar to that of the position he was in when God gave him the second commission, because God begins again with the word, “Arise.” When God gave him the first commission he might have been lying down in bed or on his knees in prayer and now when God speaks to him again, he might have just been lying on the beach after being vomited by the fish and so God uses the same word to him again, “Arise.”
The next thing God tells Jonah is once again the same thing He said to him the first time – the words were, “Go to Nineveh, that great city.” Though we might have forgotten our mission as The Church, we should not, for one moment think that the Lord has forgotten too. He is not man that He should change His mind.