Summary: Part 4 of a 5 part series. This sermon speaks of God’s grace, mercy and compassion, because of His love for us.
August 09, 2009
When it comes to forgiveness, there are different types of people.
There are some people who cannot forgive, even the small things aren’t forgiven. Then there are those who say they forgive, but really don’t forgive, if you know what I mean. Then we have those who quickly forgive, only to get hurt time after time because they never learn from their experience. Forgiveness is a process we must go through in order to be a healthy person, and a healthy Christ follower. But, think about it . . . we love the song Amazing Grace, but we struggle giving amazing grace. And even basic grace.
As I’ve been considering the central message of Jonah, I’m brought back to the theme of God’s amazing forgiveness! Think about it, the Assyrians were not nice people, yet God wants to forgive and have a relationship with these people.
This speaks volumes about God’s character, and also calls into question who we are as God’s holy and dearly loved children. Jonah didn’t want the people to experience God’s amazing grace. Which begs the question, how do we forgive others who have hurt us? Do we want those who have hurt us or our friends to have the chance to know Christ?
And that is exactly where Jonah stands.
When we last saw Jonah he spending a luxurious 3 days and nights in the belly of a great fish. After 3 days the fish got sick of Jonah, and vomits Jonah onto dry land, leaving Jonah dazed, confused, in need of a real shower, and feeling like a beached whale! And that’s where we continue this morning.
The book of Jonah reminds us of the fact that God is a God of 2nd chances, in fact maybe it would be more accurate to say He is a God of almost unlimited chances. Jonah received a 2nd chance and so do the people of Nineveh, and think about how many times in our lives we’ve messed up. . . and pleaded with God to forgive us and we come to the amazing understanding . . . that God has forgiven us.
Pastor John Ortberg wrote, Redeeming is what God is into. He is the finder of directionally-challenged sheep, the searcher of missing coins, the embracer of foolish prodigal children.
His favorite department is ‘Lost and Found.’ If there is one way that human beings consistently underestimate God’s love, it is perhaps in His loving longing to forgive. How true that is for God.
In chapter 3, we’re told: The word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 "Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you." Notice that God hasn’t changed His mind. He’s changed the prophet’s mind, so Jonah continues his journey to Nineveh. Finally, Jonah travels across the desert to Nineveh.
Remember Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh and fled from God because —
Jonah wanted to see the people destroyed. They were the great enemy of Israel. The Assyrians were cruel and ruthless people, who had no mercy on their captives.
They were known as one of the bloodiest and most vicious people in the world. They found ingenious ways to torture people. Besides being brutal, they were godless and sinful -- and Jonah hated them. The one thing he wanted more than anything was to see Nineveh destroyed. Yet when God told him to go to Nineveh, he said, “O God, I know you too well. If anybody repents and gives you a chance to be merciful, you’ll always error on the side of mercy.”