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Summary: 4th in 4 part series on God’s X-Files "unexplained phenomenon" and the lessons we can learn from them.

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“Deep Throat”

Book of Jonah (Selected passages)

INTRODUCTION:

There are a number of situations in this life, that for the most part, we have only one chance to get right. What are some that you thought of? (Take answers from the audience - 2 or 3) Well, there are some things that you have just one chance at.. No matter how much you might cry out, “Wait, I can do better!” the appeal is ignored and a second chance is most of the time denied. Well, having days, rather than minutes, to contemplate that question, here’s some that I listed.

1. Borrow a healthy sum of money from a friend and never pay it back. Then try to borrow some more. I doubt they’d lend it again.

2. A walk on try-out at a major university’s sport’s program. But you’re cut. Doesn’t matter how much you might say, “I can do better, Coach.” You’re gone.

3. Tight roping without a net - over the Royal Gourge. Can you imagine? “I’ll do better nexxxt tiiiiiime!” No next time!

4. Invite all your friends to a party at your house, then when everyone shows up say, “I decided I didn’t feel like a party tonight, come back another time.” I really doubt it!

5. Or here’s one. How about today when I finish preaching, I say, “Folks, wait, I think I can do that better. Will you stay an extra 30 - 35 minutes & let me get this right?”Let me see a show of hands.. How many would stay.. No, don’t.. It might not be pretty. My wife and I came in separate cars, she’d probably leave to!

But it’s true isn’t it? There are many situations in life in which we have only one chance to get it right, even if you desperately need a second chance. The good news is, that with God, it works differently. With Him, we get a second chance. Oh, we don’t deserve one, but we get one. And there is no-one in the Bible in need of a second chance more than the guy we are studying today. Jonah is in deep trouble.. A “deep throat” of trouble. But from studying his life and how God dealt with him and with those he was to preach to, we can learn one of the greatest things about the Creator: He’s a God of second chances! (Insert - prayer)

I. THE REACTION OF JONAH TO GOD’S PLAN:

First let’s look at the reaction of Jonah to God’s plan. The first verse of this book clearly shows us God’s plan and the part in which Jonah was to play. “The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: ‘Get up and go to the great city of Ninevah! Announce my judgement against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.’” The plan is clear.. Jonah is to be God’s messenger to the people of this very large city and tell them they better straighten up.

Now, it’s important here to at least get a glimpse of why this city is called “wicked” by God. Ninevah was a part of Assyria, modern Iraq, and the atrocities of Assyria are noteworthy. The Assyrians were a dominant and aggressive nation. At the time of Jonah they had invaded much of what we now know as the middle east. When they conquered a land they not only took spoils but they also piled up corpses, often dragging them all the way back home, beheading them and stacking the skulls at their city gates so all could see their dominance. They were known to strip the flesh from their prisoners while still alive, to take all the leaders, their wives and their children of a defeated city and burn them alive. And far from trying to hide their brutality their own records brag of it, actually glorifying in it. What is especially difficult for Jonah is that during his lifetime the Assyrians invaded Israel and did some of the same things. For example, in 722 BC Assyria lay siege to Samaria, a town in northern Israel. The Assyrians surrounded the city and even though the citizens pleaded for their lives they let each and every citizen starve to death. Some scholars think that Jonah may have been directly affected by the Assyrians cruelty, possibly losing family members in the conquest of Samaria. But perhaps knowing this we can better understand Jonah’s hesitancy to take God’s warning to Nineveh. It was like walking into a death trap and even more Jonah did not want the people of Ninevah to be spared, he wanted them destroyed.


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