Summary: Sometimes we get second chances in life. This morning, we are going see that God in His mercy gave Jonah a mulligan on his mission to Nineveh and the results were spectacular!
A Great Awakening! (Jonah 3)
Pastor Jefferson M. Williams
Chenoa Baptist Church
I occasionally play golf. Not well, but I do play from time to time. I’ve learned there are different kinds of people who play golf. There are those who take it super seriously. I’ve played with a few of those. They didn’t allow me to use my “foot wedge.” Then there are those who don’t take it as seriously. I like playing with those kind of people better.
I remember playing with a friend when I first started playing golf and absolutely crushing it off the tee…right into the woods. I sighed and resigned myself to spend some time the poison ivy looking for a little white ball.
My friend stopped me, pulled a ball out of his pocket and handed it to me, and said, “You get a mulligan.” Do you know what a mulligan is? It’s a second chance. I teed it up again…kept my eye on the ball…beautiful swing…crushed it…right down the fairway.
The mulligan gave me a second chance to hit it straight, which I did. Then I hit it over the green into the woods!
Sometimes we get second chances in life. This morning, we are going see that God in His mercy gave Jonah a mulligan on his mission to Nineveh and the results were spectacular!
A Runaway Prophet
We are continuing our series on the OT book of Jonah. God said go to Nineveh and proclaim judgement. Instead of going 550 NW to Nineveh, Jonah boards a ship bound for Tarshish, which is 2,500 miles east!
God said go and Jonah said no. He knew it was a suicide mission. Imagine a rabbi standing on a street corner in Berlin in 1942. But he also hated the Assyrians and had no interest in seeing them get a chance to repent. The love of God was reserved for the Jewish people alone and the Ninvites were a brutal people who had terrorized Israel.
Jonah finds himself in the middle of the sea in a terrible storm. Jonah might run but God would pursue him.
The sailors understood this was a supernatural storm and began praying to their gods. The captain went below deck and found Jonah asleep. He woke him up and begged him to pray.
After casting lots, the sailors discover the storm is Jonah’s fault. He tells them that he is a Hebrew and that he worships the God who created the land and the sea.
The sailors are terrified. You are running from the God that created the sea…in a boat…on the sea?!
He tells them to throw him overboard and the storm all stop. What’s the best way to get out of going to Nineveh? Dying would work.
They have more compassion that he does and try desperately to row back to land. They finally give up and pray to Jonah’s God and ask that they not be punished for throwing him overboard.
They hurl Jonah into the sea and the storm stops immediately. The sailors break out in worship on the deck while the sulking prophet treads water waiting to drown.
But God had other plans. He appointed a big fish to swallow Jonah and he spent three days and three nights in the most interesting air B and B ever!
From the belly of that big fish Jonah finally did pray, that’s what we studied last week from Jonah two. If you weren’t here last week, I would encourage you to watch the sermon on our FB page.
It was a conflicted prayer. He was thankful that God sent the fish to rescue him but he still wasn’t sorry for his disobedience. He still had no interest in seeing the brutal Ninevites receive mercy from God.
Remember the big idea of Jonah:
God is a God of extravagant grace, especially to those who least deserve it!
Turn to Jonah 3.
A Second Time
“Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh.” (Jonah 3:1-3a)
This is such an encouraging verse! God gave Jonah a second chance. He certainly didn’t deserve it. It was God’s mercy toward Jonah.
We looked at this last week, but it is worth repeating because some of you need to hear this.
God gave Jonah a second chance to fulfill the mission that he gave him. He didn’t have to. He could have let him drown in the sea and used someone else. But that’s not how God works.
He gave Adam and Eve another chance after they drove the bus of humanity right off the cliff of sin.
He gave David another chance after his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband.