Summary: Let a Jonah get right with God and the entire city of Nineveh gets saved.
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I heard about an old codger who liked to sometimes go fishing. He was sitting in his boat the other day when he heard a voice say, “Pick me up!” He looked around and couldn’t see anyone. He thought he was dreaming when he heard the voice say again, “Pick me up!” He looked in the water and there, floating on the top, was a frog! The man said, “Are you talking to me?” The frog said, “Yes, I’m talking to you. Pick me up, then kiss me and I’ll turn into the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen. All your friends are envious because I will be your bride!” The man looked at the frog for a short time, reached over, picked it up carefully, and placed the frog in his front pocket. The frog said, “What, are you nuts? Didn’t you hear what I said? I said kiss me and I will be your beautiful bride.” The old man opened his pocket, looked at the fog and said, “Nah, at my age I’d rather have a talking frog!”
Talk about missing the point! We now are in the second half of the Book of Jonah. To me, this is the real essence of the book. People tend to fixate on the storm and the whale and miss the whole point of the book.
The book of Jonah is about a man whom God used to bring about a massive revival.
This revival was one of the greatest in human history. The whale is but a footnote, only 3 verses. Jonah was called to preach to Nineveh, which God described as “a great city” (see Jonah 1:2). Jonah refused and the Lord sent “a great wind” on the sea (see Jonah 1:4). Jonah was thrown overboard and was swallowed by “a great fish” (see Jonah 1:17). But the ultimate story of Jonah is of the great God who showed great love for a lost city like Nineveh, offering them forgiveness, and for a disobedient child, Jonah, offering him a second chance.
Have you messed up in life, feeling like the Lord could never use you? If Jonah’s story tells us nothing else, it tells us this: God gives second chances! God told Jonah to “go and preach to Nineveh.” In the same way, we too have been called to preach, not to Nineveh, but to our country. Not only are God’s orders the same for us as they were for Jonah, but so is the method. And what is that method? Preaching. The Bible says, “Go into all the world and preach” (Mark 16:15 NKJV). God takes the Great Commission seriously, and so should we.
Jonah’s preaching brought revival. Let’s look it and see what we can learn about seeing revival in our time.
“Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you” (NKJV).
the message we must proclaim!
To reach our culture we must preach the gospel.
God did not tell Jonah to go to Nineveh and simply “be a good example.” No, He told him to preach. Now, this immediately intimidates us because we think that means yelling or having to address a huge crowd. It could and it may include that, but boiled down, it simply means verbal articulation. God’s primary way of reaching a lost world is through the preaching of the gospel.
2 Timothy 4:2–3 says, “Preach the word of God. Be persistent, whether the time is favorable or not” (NLT). This is so important, because many churches are getting away from biblical preaching. But the early church, the church that changed the world, had preaching and teaching. “They continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine” (Acts 2:42 NKJV). They offered theology without apology.
Jesus himself was a preacher of the Word. We read that when Jesus began His ministry, “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matthew 4:17 NKJV). Then Jesus sent His disciples out to preach as well.
Matthew 10:7 says, “And as you go, preach saying, ‘the kingdom is at hand’” (NKJV). Preaching is God’s primary way of reaching lost people. 1 Corinthians 1:21 says, “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (NKJV).
There are many ways God could have come to us. He could have dropped down visual images like photographs or paintings to describe what He wanted people to know. And certainly God speaks to us, to some degree, through the testimony of nature. We read in Psalm 19:1, “The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship” (NLT).