Summary: The principle in this is that God is the God of a second chance. God had every right to leave Jonah in the belly of that fish. But isn’t it wonderful God is the God of a second chance?
Forty days that changed a life 5.
Jonah 3:1-10 06/26/05
We are continuing our study of forty days that changed a life. This time, we want to look at forty days that changed an entire city. This story comes from the book of Jonah and in the life of Jonah. Again as the rest of the stories we have shared from this series of forty days that changed a life; this story is a familiar one. Most all have heard of the miracle of the fish swallowing Jonah. Again, there are a lot of things we can learn from this story. Let’s read our text for this morning.
The first point I want to call to your attention is A GREAT PRINCIPLE.
You know I have read this many times and I don’t know that I have ever thought of the principle in the story. We all know the story of Jonah, He was called of God to go to Nineveh and cry out to the people saying 40 days and Nineveh will be destroyed. Jonah did not like the people of Nineveh. They were wicked people and had brought much misery to the people of Israel. Jonah just wanted to see God’s judgment on this wicked people and the quicker the better. But he certainly was not going to be the instrument God could use to bring about revival in the city of Nineveh. Jonah headed on down to Tarshish to catch and ship heading in the opposite direction than Nineveh. He went on down and caught a ship but out in the sea, the ship got in trouble when a storm came up. The sailors were praying to their gods to save them from what looked to be sure death by drowning. They asked Jonah to pray to his gods, but the thing Jonah realized was that the safety of the ship and the sailors depended on what he would do. So Jonah persuaded the sailors that it was his fault the storm was coming and for them to throw him overboard. They did and God had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. After three days in the belly of the fish Jonah had a change of heart. The fish spit Jonah up near the shore and again the Word of God came to Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach the Gospel.
The principle in this is that God is the God of a second chance. God had every right to leave Jonah in the belly of that fish. But isn’t it wonderful God is the God of a second chance?
You know there may be some here this morning and you remember God impressing you to do something. Maybe it was to go and share the plan of salvation to a neighbor, or a family member and you just put it off or just ignored it altogether. This morning God may refresh that call again in your heart to go. You ought to go because it can’t be much fun in the belly of a fish. When God calls us to do something, He doesn’t withdraw His call. But what He does do is give us another chance.
We see not only a great principle in our story but also A GREAT PEOPLE.
Now the reason the Bible calls Nineveh a great city is because of the population. There was nothing in the people that would be called great. We are told there could have been between 600,000 and 1 million people in the city. That is the reason it is a great city because of the population. Because the Bible tells us the people of Nineveh did not know their left hand from their right. Here was between 600,000 and a million people who did not know God. Jonah goes into this wicked city not armed with the bow but with the Word of God, the good news about salvation.
That brings us to our next point. We see a great principle and a great people; but I want you to see A GREAT PROCLIMATION. God told Jonah to preach the message I bid you. It is always good to preach the Word God gives in His Word. It is never good to preach your own views and your own theology but to preach the Word God gives the preacher.
Now Jonah was going to be a street preacher. I can remember seeing a few street preachers when I was a young boy. I remember hearing them down in Madison. I believe we ought to have street preaching in our cities. Some say, it makes me so uncomfortable. Well that is the way the Gospel message does. Too many are comfortable going right into hell today.
Now Jonah’s message was straight and to the point. He said 40 days and Nineveh will be destroyed. He was saying if the city doesn’t repent, then in 40 days God will destroy the city. Here was a message of wrath. But I want you to see it was also a message of opportunity. God’s message was 40 days and the city will be destroyed. If you comprehend what Jonah is saying he is you have 40 days to repent. What you see in this is a time of grace. There is a 40 day grace period in which to repent. If you do not repent, then you will be destroyed.