Summary: God's Call, God's Grace and God's Love...
God's Grace to the Gentiles
This morning I would like to take a study into the book of Jonah.
This book has a lot of good stuff in it, just to name a few:
1. God's Call - God calls Jonah to go to Nineveh and cry out against it. Preach.
2. God's Grace - Jonah doesn't want to go, but God spares Jonah's life and gives him another chance.
3. God's love for a people who do not know Him. ¬- God wanted to send Jonah to Nineveh which a place that was a wicked place and hated by many.
1. The calling of Jonah
The book of Jonah starts off by saying - The Word of The Lord came to Jonah saying. Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it.
God had called Jonah to go to Nineveh.
Before we get into The Call of God - Let's do a little research about the city of Nineveh.
The city of Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian Empire and was a large and prominent city in its day.
It was not a city of Israel; so that means that God had called Jonah to go to a sinful city, a unbelieving city, a Gentile city and to call them to believe in God.
Some say that Nineveh was the largest city in the world at that time.
It was a dominating empire and very large, so it could have been a very imtimidating place to go.
As we see in Jonah Chapter 1 veres 3, that Jonah ran away from The Lord. For some reason Jonah didn't want to go.
Jonah didn't want to do what The Lord had called Him to do.
Eventhough he had a relationship with God and was known as even a prophet, as we see in
He was the one who restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Dead Sea, in accordance with the word of the LORD, the God of Israel, spoken through his servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher.
but for some reason Jonah didn't want to go.
Now I know some of us may be thinking how can someone be in The House of God and not want to do what God has called them to do.
Well it happens quite often. Believe it or not there may even be some of us here this morning, in The House of God. We know that God has called us to do a specific thing, but we don't want to do it.
The call of God...
Why didn't Jonah want to go to Nineveh and do what the LORD told him to do?
1. Maybe because he felt this was an impossible task. According to Nahum 3:1-4 Nineveh was a pretty Wicked city.
He probably thought man if I go there, I may be mocked, mistreated, and possibly even killed, because those people are so Wicked
2. Another reason could be because maybe Jonah didn't want the Assyrians in Nineveh to escape Judgement. The Assyrians were not liked by alot of people. As a matter of fact Jonah despised the brutal Assyrian capital city of Nineveh.
One commentator put it like this:
Imagine a Jewish man in New York during World War II hearing God say, 'I'm going to bring terrible judgment on Germany. I want you to go to Berlin and tell Nazi Germany to repent.' Instead of doing it, the man heads for San Francisco and then hops on a boat for Hong Kong.
The Assyrians were a people who were known for their cruelty. So when God tells Jonah to go and bring them good news, Jonah sets sail in the other direction.
Why would Jonah chose Tarshish. Well Tarshish is the city that was thought to be towards the end of the earth, and is usually associated with ships in the Bible.
Maybe Jonah thought if I can get as far away as possible from Nineveh, I might be able to escape The Presence of The Lord.
The Bible does say - that he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from The Lord.
Nineveh was east of Israel and Tarshish was at the other end on the west and it was on the furthest end of the west of Nineveh.
So Jonah wanted to get as far away from Nineveh as he possibly could, he wanted to flee from The Lord.
But the Bible says in -
Psalm 139:7-10: Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. You can't escape the presence of God..