Jonah Will Obey – Your message to your Nineveh is not complex, but simple, direct, and confrontational. Your clock, their clock, is ticking. Where are you and your Nineveh in God’s mercy time clock? Nineveh believed God. Will you believe, or just go about life? I want you to know, Jonah, one day you will obey!
The Book of Jonah
By Pastor Delbert Young
Jonah Will Obey
Jonah Will Obey
Scriptures: Jonah 1:17; Jonah 2:10; Jonah 3:1-3; Jonah 3:2; Matthew 28:19; Jonah 3:3; Jonah 3:4; Jonah 3:5-9; Jonah 3:10
I want to take a moment and catch you up on the story of Jonah in case you have not been with us. Verse one, chapter one said, The word of the Lord came to Jonah instructing him to go to Nineveh. Jonah, like us, for whatever reason, did not obey, went the opposite direction, boarded a ship, and sailed toward Tarshish. The Bible says the Lord sent a great wind, which eventually turned into a violent storm just as it happens in our lives when we refuse to obey God’s word. Those in the boat cast lots, figured out Jonah was the problem, and threw him overboard. Chapter one ended by saying,
Jonah 1:17 But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.
Chapter 2 is about the time Jonah had to spend in his situation. During this time, Jonah did give the Lord his attention, could not run, and did pray, vowing to go to Nineveh. Chapter 2 ended by saying,
Jonah 2:10 And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
This is where we begin our study today – JONAH WILL OBEY and when the Lord decides it’s time you obey, YOU WILL OBEY!
Jonah 3:1-3 THEN THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME TO JONAH A SECOND TIME: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” JONAH OBEYED the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city – a visit required three days.
Let’s put our names in place of “Jonah.” The Hebrew word translated second is sheniy(shay-nee’) and means double, i.e. second; again. Our God is a God of sheniy – second time, again, again, again, again. Our God is a God of a second chance. Jonah did not deserve a second chance, but received a second chance from God.
God gives everyone a sheniy. The Bible says the Lord had said to Abram, get thee out of this country. Abraham had not obeyed, but God gave him a sheniy. God gave the children of Israel, in the wilderness,sheniy after sheniy after sheniy. How many times did David receive a sheniy? Maybe a hundred? What about the apostle Peter, who used profanity denying the Lord, yet the Lord gave him a sheniy.
I think about my times of sheniy. I was a young boy about ten taken to church by friends and the Lord came to me, but I ran from him. When I was about 17, he came to me with a sheniy. Again, I ran and did not obey. Later, I was in my 20’s and another sheniy came to me. I ran. Again, at 28 a sheniy came to me. This time the Lord had my attention. In all my years of serving him and leading this church, there have been sheniy after sheniy after sheniy for me.
Some of you will experience a sheniy today. The word of the Lord will come to you again right now. You feel him calling you. It’s a sheniy. It’s time for you to get serious with the Lord. Realize he will never, ever, give up on you.
Others of you realize the many times of sheniy you experienced when the Lord came a second, third, fourth time, again and again to you? God is not going to give up, or leave you alone. Jonah (you), the Lord has his ways of convincing you to obey. JONAH, YOU WILL OBEY.
Never give up on people you want to see come to the Lord. God is going to visit them a sheniy. Just watch and wait. Never give up on the child. Never give up on your spouse. A sheniy is coming.
We sort of think of sheniy as God’s “loving kindness” and it is, but it’s more than this. You only think you are hardheaded. You have not seen hardheaded until you observe God. Ask Jonah. Why is God like this? It’s not only about “saving you.” It’s about saving you and you going to your Nineveh. In the middle of the mind of God for you is exactly what was in the middle of the mind of God for Jonah.
Jonah 3:2 “GO TO the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
The Hebrew word translated go, has an urgency to it.It means get up and go now! We try to put it off. There are people God said for you to GO TO now. To whom are you to get up and go? Who’s face comes into your mind? Is there anyone? Surely there is. Surely you are not this callused. Jesus said…
Matthew 28:19 Therefore GO and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
I want to make certain we connect the dots here. Remember every negative thing happening to Jonah was because he did not get up and go to his Nineveh. Who would have ever connected the great wind, violent storm, thrown into the sea, swallowed by a great fish, etc with Jonah refusing to go to Nineveh? Who would ever connect your great winds, violent storms, treated badly, and swallowed by horrific circumstances with you not going to your Nineveh?
Jonah 3:3 JONAH OBEYED the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh…
YOU WILL OBEY! People cop-out on going and try to say, “Well, I don’t know what to say.” It’s because you think you have to take them down the Roman Road or something. No. God told Jonah to simply say what God told Jonah to say. It could not have been any simpler – 8 WORDS.
Jonah 3:4 On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “FORTY MORE DAYS AND NINEVEH WILL BE OVERTURNED.”
You must “start.” You will never go to your Nineveh unless you get started. Pick up the phone and call. Send an e-mail. Do a good deed. Invite someone to church. Get “started.” When you do, you will see it is a simple message. For Jonah, it was simply 8 words. FORTY MORE DAYS AND NINEVEH WILL BE OVERTURNED. It most likely will not be what you are to say, but it will be just as simple.
Jonah’s message was short, direct, offensive, and confrontational. It was not the “Roman Road.” It was not a typical preacher’s message, i.e. a joke, 3 points, and a poem. A typical preacher would soften it a little. A typical preacher would “sugarcoat” it, right? I have learned something over the years. Softening and sugarcoating the message does not change lives. By my saying it straight, you will get upset with and criticize me, but your life, children, and family will change.
Let me ask you a question. How many would rather have a direct message rather than a “beat around the bush” message where you walk out asking, “Now, what did he say?” How many of you would rather have a short impacting message than a loooooooooooooooong message? How many would rather have an offending message, but confronted issues in your life rather than you nodding off and watching your watch? I have learned people want the truth. I have learned students want it straight. I have learned you do not come to our church for milk and sugar. You come for meat. You want it short, direct, offensive, and confrontational. SO DOES YOUR NINEVEH. Let’s look at 3:4 again.
Jonah 3:4 On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and nineveh will be OVERTURNED.”
Notice it is overturned, not overthrown. The Hebrew word is haphak and means to turn about or over; by impl. to change. It means one way or another you will change. You can turn about or turn over. Either way, you have FORTY MORE DAYS!
Don’t miss this point. Time was ticking and it had ticked down to FORTY MORE DAYS. How many more days do you have? Though God is a merciful God, his mercy has time increments involved in it. In a specific time you will hapak. You will change. You will turn about or turn over. Either way you have ??? days.
This is not sugarcoated or milk, but it will change/save your life. It is direct, confrontational and offensive. Some of you are on day 39. You will change or you will overturn and I am not only talking about coming to Jesus. I am talking about the things in your life you know need changing. Don’t run out your “40” days. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. Your time, my time, our time is ticking. On what day are you? The problem is, you don’t know. You hope it’s way early, but you don’t know… tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.
Jonah 3:5-9 The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone CALL URGENTLY ON GOD. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”
The Ninevites believed God…, not Jonah. I trust you are not debating about what I am saying. BELIEVE GOD!
Let’s put this in relevance for today. This is like saying Howard Stern believed God and is now on Satellite radio broadcasting Jesus with a message of moral purity. It’s like saying Tom Cruise has left Scientology and is now a born again Christ Follower. It’s saying all of Hollywood are now followers of Christ. It’s saying the most wicked evil person you know repented and came to Jesus. This is what happens when you say what you should say to your Nineveh, but will you?
Sackcloth was a garment made from goat or camel’s hair. Imagine how uncomfortable, itchy, scratchy, sackcloth would be. This is the point. It symbolized being uncomfortable is much better than God’s wrath. It’s not comfortable changing how we act, but better than the consequences of the clock running out.
Tuesday is election time. I need to make some comment about the king. Our nation needs a president who knows how to “urgently call upon God.” We need, your children need, a president who understands the necessity of believing God. Please allow this to be in your thinking when you vote. The existence of Nineveh linked to the ability of the king to CALL URGENTLY ON GOD! It is no different today.
Also, do not sit under a pastor who cannot, or will not, CALL URGENTLY ON GOD. Where is the clock concerning Life Gate Church? How am I doing as the leader? Do I, and does the leadership, keep you at a place of sackcloth in your life? As I look, there are people who attend here to whom it is “just going to church and going about life.” Nothing changes. I suppose this will always be. I watch the clock run out on them. However, for the most part, I see changed lives. I see people reaching up to God and wearing sackcloth on their hearts.
To you whom church is “just going to church and going about life,” I am so sorry. Your clock is ticking. I’m so sorry. Jesus is either who he said he is or this is all a big joke. I simply look at lives and I see exactly what I have told you today. You see it too. It’s not a joke. People hope they will avoid the clock running out. They can’t. It’s not because God does not love them. It’s because he does. He loved Nineveh, but YOU WILL OBEY!
Jonah 3:10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, HE HAD COMPASSION AND DID NOT BRING UPON THEM THE DESTRUCTION HE HAD THREATENED.
I honestly believe two things happened in my life keeping me from being either dead or a worthless addict. I believe both were God’s working in my life. First, marrying my wife. Second, coming to Jesus and serving him. I put it in this order because this was the way it happened for me. My point is I would have experienced destruction without allowing God to move in my life. God had compassion on me and did not bring upon me the destruction I could have experienced. How about you?
Do you realize most of the bad storms and bad circumstances of your life have happened because you did not obey the word of the Lord? Do you realize God has gotten you out of the fish’s belly specifically to go to Nineveh. He gave you sheniy after sheniy – a second, third, fourth… chance. Do you realize he will not stop coming after you? He is hardheaded! You have a Nineveh to “GO TO.” Your message to your Nineveh is not complex, but simple, direct, and confrontational. Your clock, their clock, is ticking. Where are you and your Nineveh in God’s “mercy time clock?” Nineveh believed God. Will you believe, or just go about life? I just want you to know, Jonah, one day YOU WILL OBEY!
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