Summary: The 3rd sermon in a series on Jonah.
1. This morning we look at the third chapter of Jonah. I’ve reviewed the basic outline of the book with you at the beginning of each sermon because by the time we finish the book I want you to be able to think through Jonah and have a basic understanding of what the book is about. Remember? Chapter 1, "Jonah Running from God." Chapter 2, "Jonah Running to God." Chapter 3, where we are today, "Jonah Running for God, Chapter 4, "Jonah Trying to Run God."
2. This week my Aunt Sue, who lives in Steeleville sent me a really cute e-mail that I want to share with you. In fact, I thought it was rather amazing. I’m not enough of a mathematician to understand how it works, but this little exercise does work with any phone number.
1) I want to take the prefix of our church phone number (pause) 846
2) Let’s multiply that by 80, (pause) 67,680
3) Then, add 1 (pause) 67,681
4) Multiply by 250 (pause) 16,920,250
5) Add the last 4 digits of our phone number 8511 (pause) 16,928,761
6) Now, add our phone number again (pause) 16,937,272
7) Then, subtract 250 (pause) 16,937,022
8) Finally, let’s divide by 2 (pause) 846-8511
3. That’s right, you end up with whatever phone number you started with. I thought the little trick was one of the best I’ve seen. That fact leads me to introduce you this morning to the best, chapter of Jonah. I didn’t realize how true that was until I was studying it this week. Everything that has happened up to this point has been leading to what takes place here. The story in chapter 3 is nothing short of a miracle. Most people see the miracle in chapter 1 where God sends the storm and then sends the fish for Jonah when he’s thrown overboard. In chapter 2, it’s a miracle when Jonah spends three days in the fishes belly and then is vomited up on dry ground. These are all miracles, but they aren’t the greatest miracles in the book. In Jonah chapter 3 we see an entire heathen city humble itself before the Almighty when God’s preacher came to town. The fact that unfaithful Jonah was doing the preaching makes the miracle of Nineveh’s response even more dramatic. God could have disqualified Jonah. But He didn’t, instead He chose to use Him.
The fact that God uses people who have let Him down isn’t surpassing, because He uses us.
4. It’s true that Jonah had taken quite a detour from where he was supposed to go, but God wasn’t finished with him. He still had an appointment in Nineveh. Come to think of it, so do we this morning. Let’s read the passage together.
1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying,
2 "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you."
3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three days’ walk.
4 Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown."
5 Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.
6 When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes.
7 He issued a proclamation and it said, "In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water.
8 "But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands.
9 "Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish."
10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it. (NAS updated)
I. Jonah’s Second Chance 1-3
1. There is special significance to the statement that the word of the Lord came to Jonah, "the second time." This would have little significance to us if we didn’t understand all that happened to Jonah when the word of the Lord came to him the first time and he said, "no".