Summary: God’s patience far surpasses what we call patience
Date Written: January 2004
Date Preached: January 2004
Church: OZHBC (PM) Wednesday
Series: Study in Jonah
Title: The Loving Patience of God
Text: Jonah 2:10-3:9
When you hear the word ‘patience’ what does it mean to you? There are 3 definitions of this common word.
1st is the most common, and that is ‘stoical endurance’ or in other words able to endure ANYTHING without showing emotion. Like sitting in traffic without getting upset at the long wait… or why the traffic is stopped!
Even tho’ we may admire those who can do this, such an attitude usually deteriorates in time and turns into self-pity and bitterness.
The 2nd kind of patience characterizes those people who are endless optimists… these people are those who seek to find the silver lining in all the dark and gray times of life!
And although we can commend those people for that upbeat optimism, it usually only succeeds in hiding their faces in the sand and not really facing what is before them in life. As they tend to fantasize and refuse to accept the reality of the situation.
Then there is the 3rd kind of patience and this type is the most rare! It is the kind of patience God shows to His creation… it is the kind of patience God showed to Jonah in his situation!
This type of patience turns a seemingly impossible situation into a great learning experience!
Even tho’ Jonah had some problems and issues AFTER he preached in Nineveh, we can see that he still learned some valuable lessons about God thru his experience in the storm and in the great fish!
And so tonight I want us to focus in on the subject of God’s unwavering love and patience toward those who disobey Him.
When we look at the passage 2:10-3:2 we can find God calling Jonah, yet one more time to go to Nineveh…
I want to ask you a question… does it surprise you that God spoke to this great fish and instructed him where to go and what to do?
If it does, then I would like to point out that God is the creator of ALL things, why would we believe anything different! He created it and that means that He can communicate with it!
But even before this spectacular event took place, we can see that Jonah was convinced in his mind that he could do NOTHING in Nineveh… that God could NOT work there! That these people were beyond hope and belief in God.
Don’t we often find ourselves in that very situation! We feel that someone is simply beyond hope and we simply give up on them… even tho’ God does NOT!
God brings us to the absolute utter end of ourselves so that we can see, beyond a shadow of doubt, that when HE rescues us or delivers us from our impossible situation… it is totally of HIS doing and nothing of our own!
And this was precisely the point God was driving home with Jonah. When Jonah finally came to the point where he knew and understood that he was helpless on his own, and that his only salvation and help was in God!
Jonah hit rock bottom… and when he did God had Jonah’s undivided attention!
It was at that time that God spoke to the fish and out Jonah came. From a spiritual perspective this verse in and of itself reveals a great promise from God Himself! When God speaks… He liberates, He delivers… and this is because He is the TRUTH! His Words embody the all eternal truths that we should seek to live by. Jesus told those who followed Him, “…and you shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free…”
The 1st 2 verses of chapter 3 present to us the high point of this particular book of the Bible.
It is here that we come to see one of the most gracious and beautiful expressions in the Bible about God’s love…even for those who are disobedient.
Look at 3:1 “…the word of the Lord came to Jonah a 2nd time…” In Eph 2 Paul tells us that by our very nature we are objects of God’s WRATH! That is because our nature is to rebel against God and to serve ourselves!
But Paul goes on in that same chapter to tell us, “…but because of His great LOVE for us, God, who is RICH in MERCY, made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in our transgressions – it is by GRACE you have been saved…”
Yes, God came to Jonah a 2nd time, it was God’s grace and mercy… God’s enduring love and patience that brought Him back to Jonah that 2nd time! To show Jonah and to teach Jonah about His love and mercy.