Summary: Obedience on the part of Jonah and the people of Nineveh brought a great revival.
TEXT: JONAH 3:1-10
TITLE: “JONAH PREACHES – GOD FORGIVES”
OPEN: A. Most of you are probably familiar with the poem “Footprints in the Sand”
1. It tells about our journey through life
a. How Christ walks with us
--how we see both His and our footprints in the sand
b. Yet, when life gets difficult, we look back and see only one set of footprints
--Why has Christ left us to walk these difficult times alone?
c. Yet, when Jesus is questioned over the matter, the lone set of footprints belong to Him
because He was carrying us through those difficult times
d. It’s a poem that has brought comfort to many people
2. Some years back, someone wrote a revised version of the poem
--One, I think, probably is more candid and truthful about our walk through life:
One night I had a wondrous dream,
One set of footprints there was seen,
The footprints of my precious Lord,
But mine were not along the shore.
But then some strange prints appeared,
And I asked the Lord, "What have we here?"
Those prints are large and round and neat,
"But Lord, they are too big for feet."
"My child," He said in somber tones,
"For miles I carried you along.
I challenged you to walk in faith,
But you refused and made me wait."
"You disobeyed, you would not grow,
The walk of faith, you would not know,
So I got tired, I got fed up,
And there I dropped you on your butt."
"Because in life, there comes a time,
When one must fight, and one must climb,
When one must rise and take a stand,
Or leave their butt prints in the sand."
B. I know that the poem certainly represents Jonah’s life as described in the biblical book by his name
1. God comes to Jonah and tells him that he is to go to Nineveh and preach against it
a. Nineveh – that large and wicked city
b, A place where the people are cruel and enemies of the nation of Israel
2. Jonah has no desire to proclaim God’s message to the Ninevites
--so he runs in the complete opposite direction
3. Jonah secures passage on a boat to the western coast of Spain
4. God sends a fierce storm
--one so fierce that it frightens the crew – men who have been experienced in all kinds of sea
5. The begins to unload anything not tied down and begin to pray to any deity they can think of
6. They finally determine that their passenger has something to do with what is going on
--They ask and he says, “Throw me overboard!”
7. Just when Jonah thought he was done with God, God wasn’t done with Jonah
--God sends a great fish to swallow Jonah
8. Jonah spends three days and nights in the belly of this fish
--Plenty of time for meditation and reflection
9. Jonah repents and cries out to God
10. God hears and orders the fish to vomit Jonah out on the beach.
C. Jonah 3:1-10 – “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. Now Nineveh was a very important city—a visit required three days. On the first
day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: ‘Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.’
The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put
on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his
royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. Then he issued a
proclamation in Nineveh ‘By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast,
herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let man and beast be covered with
sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.
Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not
perish.’ When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had
compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.
I. JONAH PRESENTS
A. What did Jonah present?
--God’s message to Nineveh
1. Jonah went to Nineveh and proclaimed the message God gave to him
a. That was the primary role of a prophet
--to deliver a message that comes from and usually involves a message of repentance
2. The place was so big and spread out it took him three days to get the job done.