Summary: Perhaps the greatest revival in history is recorded here. When there is a caring God and a changed preacher there can be a converted people.
Have you ever had a bad day?
There was a fellow standing at a bar, just looking at his drink. For a solid hour he just stares at it. Suddenly, a big trouble-maker type guy steps up next to him, takes the drink and chugs it down. The poor guy starts crying.
The big guy says, “Come on man, I was just joking. Here, I’ll buy you another drink. I can’t stand to see a man cry.”
“You don’t understand, says the first fellow, “This day has been the worst day of my life.” First, I sleep through the alarm this morning and get into the office late. My boss fires me on the spot. I leave the building to go to my car and find, that in the few minutes I had been inside, it had been stolen. The police were no help, they say I am probably out of luck.
“Luck? I get a cab to return home, and when I leave it, I realize that I have left my wallet and all my credit cards on the back seat. I try to get the cabbie’s attention as he drives away, but no. Off he goes.
“I get inside the house and find a note from my wife that she has left me for another man.
“I leave home, and come to this bar. I stood here seriously thinking about ending it all. And, I was just about ready to do it when you showed up and drank my poison.”
This guy was having a bad day. So was Jonah. He was a preacher, a prophet. God had told him to go east to Ninevah and preach to the people of that great city. Jonah hated the Ninevites so he ran away. He boarded a ship going west from Israel. God sent a storm that was about to destroy the ship. The sailors find out that Jonah is the cause of the storm and throw him overboard. The storm stops but a whale shows up and swallows Jonah. For three days Jonah is in the belly of the fish. He asks God to forgive him and God does and the fish spits him out but he still has to go to Ninevah and preach to the people he hates. Jonah was having a bad day. He needed revival. We need revival.
In October, our church has a revival scheduled. Revival may or may not come. Only God can send a revival. We can schedule them and pray for them but unless God sends them they won’t come. Our revival team to lead us in October is Life Action Revival Ministries. God has used this team of 16 greatly across America. Next Sunday, Russ Simonson from Life Action will be with us to begin the preparation for revival. He will preach both services. Don’t miss it.
Perhaps the greatest revival ever in history is the one recorded here in the book of Jonah. I want us to look at the elements of this revival, not to duplicate it but to learn from it. Here we see a caring God, a changed preacher, and a converted people.
I. A CARING GOD (3:10)
The people repent and God relents. They were under a death sentence. They were living on death row. They had 40 days until execution. Their wickedness had become so bad that God had had enough. God sent Jonah to announce their pending doom. But look at 3:10. God can and will change his mind. Jonah knew this about God. He knew that God was a not only a God of judgment but also a God of mercy. Look at 4:2.
What about America? What about Lincoln Park? What about you and I? Aren’t we like the Ninevites? We love to quote John 3:16 but listen to verses 18-19:
18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
The Bible teaches that we are dead in our trespasses and sins. We live on death row waiting for the executioner to come. Without God to commute our sentence, there is no hope. But, God cares and offers forgiveness.
II. A CHANGED PREACHER (2:9-3:4)
The Bible says that, “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Listen to Rom. 10:14:
14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? NKJV