(The Book of Jonah)
Preaching by: Pastor Rene Sanqui
Summarised by: JILC Rockdale Publishing Ministry
God has certainly have plans for our nation. He is the one who appoints leaders to redirect and lead the nations. In Daniel 2: 21 it says, “It is He who changes the times and the seasons; he removeth kings and setteth up kings.” In the old testaments, we can see how the Lord uses ordinary men to preserve the nation of Israel. From the story of Joseph, the dreamer, he was used by God to protect his family from famine and the Lord made them into a great nation. Moses, who had to run for his life after murdering an Egyptian was used by God to lead the Israelites to the Promise land. Queen Esther was used by God to save the Jewish nation. All these ordinary people were used by God to accomplish extraordinary things. This is a great encouragement to us all that no matter how unfit or unqualified we may think of ourselves, the Lord can still use us to accomplish great things. He is the one who will enable and who bestows power and authority to his chosen people (Romans 13:1)
The Book of Jonah reflects God’s heart towards His nation and His people. The land of Nineveh was a land of convicted murderers. Its people had drifted away from God and chose to live in wickedness. Hence, God ‘s plan is to save and to deliver them.
GOD’s BUSINESS. God is in the business of calling ordinary individuals.
In the story, Jonah was commanded by God to preach against the City of Nineveh, but he refused to obey and went to opposite direction. We can learn from this story that God is the God of second chances. Although Jonah failed to obey at first, but the Lord redirected him to his call.
- Our simple act of obedience could lead to someone’s salvation.
- God is calling ordinary people who would not make excuses but rather obey.
- One step of obedience could be use by God to really capture your God-given purpose.
GOD’s MESSAGE. God’s message calls for humility, repentance and transformation.
A call for humility
“Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” When the people of Nineveh heard this message from the Lord, they believed it, a fast was proclaimed and all of them from the greatest to the least put on sackcloth. Even the King of Nineveh, rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust.
- When we receive a message or any warning that comes from the Lord, this will make us see the authority of God and will make us realise our need of God.
- Humility is not as the same as timidity nor insecurity.
- Humility is being under the authority of God.
- There is power and authority in the word of the Lord.
- We need to have the humility of hearts and acknowledge the authority and power of the Lord and obey the command of the Lord.
“The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” John 6:63
A Call for Repentance
In Jonah 3:8, everyone in Nineveh call urgently to the Lord, they confessed their sins, they repented earnestly to God.
- We have all sinned against the Lord.
- Repentance is personal, absolute, ultimate, unconditional surrender to a Sovereign God.
A Call for Transformation
“Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.”
- The message that was delivered by the Lord through the life of Jonah brought transformation of hearts and lives.
- Through the Word of the Lord, there is newness of life in Christ. The old has passed away and the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- It is time for us to really pray and fast for our nation. Like the people of Nineveh, they prayed, fasted and humbled themselves and God listened to their prayers.
John 3:10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
- God’s love for his people is so great that instead of destroying the city Nineveh right away, he did not do it. He called an ordinary man, Jonah to warn his people.
- The Lord’s heart beats for the nation. He loves the nation that He founded and created.
- In Jonah chapter 4, God’s allowed Jonah to see a leafy plant grew and withered so that Jonah will capture and understand God’s heart. The Lord said to Jonah “it is for me if I wanted to do it or not, to withhold the destruction of that place. All I want is for the people to turn back to me and know me as their Lord, their Saviour and their King,”
- God has a heart for those people who are known to be wicked, violent and criminals.
- God needs an ordinary people who will be a messenger to these people whose heart is in sync with God’s heartbeat.