Summary: This sermon has five points: 1. Obedience To God Is ALWAYS IMPORTANT 2. Obedience To God Is NOT ALWAYS EASY 3. Obedience To God Is SIMPLE 4. Obedience To God PRODUCES FANTASTIC RESULTS 5. Obedience To God MAKES GOD SMILE
The Greatest Revival Ever
When we last left Jonah he was praying. At the end of his prayer the Bible says:
Then the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land. Jonah 2:10 (NASB)
What would you do if you were Jonah at this point? His life had been spared. No longer was he in the belly of the great fish. Now he was standing on solid ground again. God had come through.
The first thing I think I would do would be to get cleaned up. After being in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights I doubt that you would look or smell very good. But the Bible doesn't go into those details does it? Instead it says:
Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you." Jonah 3:2 (NASB)
Go ahead and circle the words "the second time". It is good that God gave Jonah a second chance isn't it? I like it when someone gives you a second chance. I like it when you have one more try. I have heard people say that God is a God of second chances - and for the most part that is true isn't it. In the story of Jonah - he is given a second chance. In the story of the prodigal son - he is given a second chance also. Peter after he denied Jesus three times - is given a second chance too. I like it when that happens.
But let me throw a word of caution in here:
God does not always give second chances. Sure - sometimes He does - many times He does - but not always. Do you remember the warning we have in the Bible which says:
"Remember Lot's wife." Luke 17:32 (NASB)
Do you recall that Lot and his family were told to leave Sodom because God was going to destroy that place? Lot was told, "Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away."
As they were fleeing Lot's wife looked back and she was turned into a pillar of salt. There was no second chance in that situation. You see God's has mercy on who He chooses to have mercy on. And He will give second chances to those He chooses to give second chances. That is why God is God. But I always like it when God grants a second chance. And here is a truth:
Jonah's Disobedience Hasn't Canceled God's Call
Nineveh still needs a messenger. The word of God still needs to be preached there. So Jonah is offered a second chance - what does he do?
"So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the LORD." Jonah 3:3a (NASB)
At this point there is no debate. There is no argument. There is no heading in the wrong direction. There is no disobedience. At this point Jonah obeys God. Today I want to talk about obedience. Point one:
1. Obedience To God Is ALWAYS IMPORTANT
The Bible tells us:
"Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams." 1 Samuel 15:22 (NASB)
The Contemporary English Version says it this way:
"Does the LORD really want sacrifices and offerings? No! He doesn't want your sacrifices. He wants you to obey him."
1 Samuel 15:22 (CEV)
You know - most of the problems in our lives would be gone if we simply obeyed God's word. We would not be aboard the ship of despair if we were obedient. We would not be tossed by the wind and the waves of this world if we simply followed God's leading. We would not find ourselves in a whale of problem if we simply did what God wants us to do. But we are a lot like Jonah in the fact that sometimes we would rather disobey.
I want you to note here though - this is the first and only time in the book of Jonah where he obeys the Lord. He got off up off the beach, cleaned himself off, and headed for Nineveh. Good for him. Before and after this episode, Jonah has a stinky attitude, but at this point he obeys God’s call. God gives Jonah a second chance to do what he should have done the first time and this time Jonah is successful.
We should always try to obey God. He is looking out for our good. The Bible says: