Summary: The gifts and callings of God are beyond our wildest capacity to understand.
The Magnitude of God’s Call
* The New Testament tells us in Romans 11 that both the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable and/or without repentance. This literally means that God didn’t make a mistake, He doesn’t regret, and He is not saddened by the gifts and callings He has given you and me. Rather, He knew exactly what He was doing and beyond knowing exactly what He is doing He also knows exactly what He expects from what He has done. Now, that’s a long sentence, probably not grammatically correct, but it is accurate.
* When we accurately consider what God expects of us, it defies our imagination. Think about this; the God of the universe doesn’t give us small, little, or rinkie-dink, jobs. He gives us “God-sized” tasks.
* Such is the case with Jonah. (Turn with me to Jonah 3). After running from God, getting thrown overboard, and winding up in the bottom of a fish, Jonah repents and is given a second chance. But watch, it is a second chance at the first call. God simply said, “Now, go and do what I told you to do.” Let’s Read.
* As I read this text, I am struck by the overwhelming task which God has place in Jonah’s hand. However, I believe that task is transferable to us.
1. Magnitude of our mission – Now I could be mistaken because (of time constraints) I have not thoroughly investigated the generalization which I am about to give but it would seem to me; that God rarely calls us to small tasks. God told Jonah to “go to Nineveh and preach.” This was no small task for a number of reasons. First, look at the size of the city. It took 3 days to walk across town. This was going to require Jonah to make plans as to the best way to cover the city. There was no radio, internet, TV, or public address system available. He literally had to put for a huge effort to get into the position where all could confront every person with God’s truth. I can hear him, “this city is too big, and I’ll never be able to do any good in that culture, who’ll listen?” And the list goes on, all the while sounding very familiar.
* When I was a kid, it seems I learn a lot of lessons the hard way. As a young boy, I was very tender hearted which is adult talk for “I cried very easily.” It is not cool for a young boy in Mississippi to cry. He is called all those wonderful names which boys love; “cry-baby, sissy, and I was even given a girlish nickname.”
* One day when I was attempting something for my papaw and discovered I could do it, I said, “I can’t do it” the response came, “Can’t never could do nothing.” Then I was told about the little train and big train climbing a hill. Come to think of it, I am amazed at how little things make such a big impact. Since that day I have been almost a “hard-head” about things being too difficult to accomplish.
* Whenever God gives us a task, extends a call, or points out a mission, generally, it IS impossible on our own. In fact, we may never get it done if we leave Him out of the equation. Certainly without the hand of God, Jonah would have never completed his call. It is worth noting that it is not just his “call” which was huge, also notice;
2. Magnitude of our message – Jonah did as God commanded him to do and the only thing bigger than his mission was his message. He did not begin with “God loves you so you better listen.” He didn’t have a seminary degree and know how to “dress up” his words. He simply walked in and said, “turn or burn”, “repent or receive”, and “follow or fall”. Think about this: Nineveh is a large and prosperous city. Quite likely, the stock market was up, banking was good, commerce was on the rise, as was divorce, immorality, idolatry, and every other imaginable sin. Into this hodgepodge of debauchery Jonah came preaching. His message was pointed, personal, penetrating, and came with a timeline.
* It was personal because it called Nineveh by name. Name calling is not big today, but it surely was in Bible days. Who ran from Jezebel? Who ran from Saul? Even in our study, who ran from God? Now, this message points only to Nineveh.
* It was pointed because it didn’t say “might be”, “could be”, or “may be”, the message was, Nineveh WILL BE. This message is not in question.
* It was penetrating because it used the most dreaded word in every civilization know to man; “overthrown,” “overturned,” or “destroyed.” Life as they knew it would be no more.