Summary: If we ever would think that someone is beyond the grace of God, that they would never turn from sin and to God, study Jonah 3.
The Ministry of the Reluctant, Rebellious Prophet: Jonah Chapter 3
Today's message is the third in a series on Jonah, with today's message centering on Jonah Chapter 2.
In the past two messages, which we studied chapters 1 and 2 respectively, we learned that God will have done what he wills.
In studying Jonah chapter 1, we saw how Jonah, a prophet of God, tried to do what some Christians do today when they are in sin--run from God. Can we run from God? Of course not. God is everywhere at the same time and knows everything. We may think sometimes that God isn't watching, but that's just wrong. God is there.
When we do something wrong, we should know that we are doing wrong. Our conscience should fire all over the place, and we should be under conviction not to do it.
The second thing is that we have guilt over the things that we do wrong. As soon as we do something wrong, we should have a mindset to make things right with God, and to make things right with those that we sin against.
God said go!, Jonah said no, and God made the storm to blow. We saw how there were five miracles in Jonah chapter 1; the storm, the lot falling on Jonah; the storm calming when Jonah hit the water, God prepared a great fish as the fourth and Jonah being swallowed by the great fish being the fifth. Go, No, Blow, Throw, Swallow.
We also saw the sailors go from being idol worshipping pagans to saved saints as they had a fear, or respect of God as the creator, made vows, and honored Him with sacrifice.
In Jonah chapter 2, we saw how Jonah called out to God in despair, dedicated Himself again toward God and to God's service, and was delivered from the belly of the fish. Could Jonah have lived three days in the belly of the fish? Yes. The sulphur bottom whale and the whale shark were two "sea monsters" that could easily have been the fish, and men have been swallowed and lived to tell the tale. Did Jonah die, and was resurrected? Maybe.
Now, let's look at chapter 3, which is on page 1324 of your pew bibles, or if you have your own Bible, it is after Obadiah and before Micah in the latter part of the Old Testament, just a few books before Matthew which is the first book in the New Testament.
Today, we are going to learn some great stuff about God, and how he works in the lives of the saved and the unsaved. How he works in mighty ways to bring those to Him, those that seem beyond saving. God can fool us, at least it seems that way, but in truth it is God who is all wise and us that can sometimes be tainted by our preconcieved notions.
Here are the three words for today that are the key words: Warning, mourning, and transforming.
Now, let's look at Chapter 3, verse 1 & 2.
1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying,
2 "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you."
There are a four key phrases in verses one and two, starting with two in verse 1: WORD OF THE LORD and THE SECOND TIME.
I've said before that most often, God does not speak directly to us, in a verbal nature. Instead, it's a strong pull on the heart. But in the case of His prophets, God did speak to them, and He spoke to them often. THE WORD OF THE LORD means that God spoke to Jonah and gave him a message.
Next, we see the key phrase, "THE SECOND TIME". Our God is a God of second chances. This is something that I want you to always remember--God does not give us just one chance and then writes us off. He loves us, and works through trial to bring us to the state that he wants us to be in when we do wrong. It's like I mentioned earlier, conscience and guilt are tools that God uses.
Let's suppose that the President were to order one of his Army generals to initiate a miliary campaign on Yugoslavia, a country that was oppressing it's people, to set them free. The general, who hated these people because of atrocities committed against people of Bosnia, some of which were his grandparents and aunts and uncles, said no and instead went AWOL. When the M. P. s caught up to this general, what would they do? In prison, and he would be stripped of rank and never would serve again.