August 28, 2020

Brothers and Sisters, (Jonah 3:6-9)  For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.  And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:  But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.  Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? This week we have seen how that God had called Jonah to go and preach to the city of Nineveh and let them know that He was about to destroy the whole city.  Jonah refused to go the first time and ended up in a pickle of a mess.  He found himself inside the belly of a great fish.  Jesus called it a whale and said it was a sign.  (Matthew 12:40)  For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. After Jonah repented, God gave him a second chance and he traveled to Nineveh and cried out, “Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown”.  This brings us to our text this morning.  We see that the King of Nineveh upon hearing the Word of the Lord being delivered by the prophet Jonah arose from his throne, took off his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes.  Any time you see men do this in the Old Testament it is a sign that they were repenting for their sins.  The King not only repented personally, but he proclaimed a decree throughout the city of Nineveh for every man and even the beasts to be covered with sackcloth and cry mightily unto God. Verse 9 really speaks to me this morning.  “Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?”  The King was unsure of his future, but he knew that the only hope he and the rest of the people had was to repent and turn to God.  This is what the whole world needs to see this morning.  Their only hope to get out of the mess they’re in is to turn away from their evil way of living and turn to God.  That is the true definition of repentance.  To turn away from sin and turn to God. Well you and I know that God is merciful and is always standing ready to offer forgiveness to anyone who calls upon His name.  We know this because this is what He has done for each of us.  The King and the men of Nineveh were about to experience this same mercy and forgiveness because look at what the Word of God says in the very next verse.  (Jonah 3:10)  And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. God shows mercy and does not destroy the city.  This made Jonah angry.  (Jonah 4:1)  But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.  Jonah was mad at God for not destroying the city.  He felt like he had wasted his time.  I can imagine that he felt as if God had made him out to be a liar.  After all, he had prophesied that the city would be destroyed in 40 days and now God has decided to not do it. May I say it’s not up to us to figure out God.  You are wasting your time when you try to figure out what God is doing.  We just have to trust God and know that He works all things out for His glory and for our good.  Did Jonah waste his time in going and preaching to Nineveh?  No!  If Jonah hadn’t obeyed God and cried out to the people of Nineveh, chances are they would have never repented and got right with God.  Was Jonah made out to be a liar?  No!  If the King and all the people hadn’t repented and cried out to God, the city would have been destroyed. The devil will make us think that when we serve God it is a waste of time.  Just because we don’t see or understand all that God is doing, doesn’t mean that God is not working.  God is always up to something and when it is made known to us it is always the right thing and the best thing.  In the end, all things work together for the good to those who love God and are the called according to His purpose.  I hope our look at Jonah was a blessing to you this week.  It has been a blessing for me to look back over this amazing story in the Bible once again. 

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