A God of Second Chances

The God of Second Chances

Today’s Passage – Jonah 1 – 4 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 1 – 3; Psalms 116 – 120; Proverbs 24)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 Timothy 1:17

Read the “0924 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.” (Jonah 3:1-3)

“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:29 )

This morning’s passage is one of the most familiar portions of Scripture in the Bible: even many lost people could tell you something about this famous story. I will not take the time to revisit much of the familiar ground here, but I will sum up what happens up until chapter 3. Jonah is called by God to prophesy against Nineveh, which he refuses to do. Instead he heads east on a ship as far away from Nineveh as he can get. God causes a great tempest on the water, and Jonah ends up being thrown into the sea where he is swallowed up by a whale. While inside the belly of the great fish, Jonah repents, and after three days and nights, Jonah is vomited up on to dry ground.

Notice in chapter three that God comes to Jonah the second time, and commands him to do the exact same thing that he wanted him to do earlier. There are a couple of thoughts that I would like to consider this morning regarding these verses. First, why didn’t God ask somebody else to go. I am sure that God had other prophets, and probably even had one that would have been willing to go to the despised people of Nineveh. Why did God insist upon using Jonah? Why didn’t God give up on him and go to somebody else? Does God do the same thing with us today? In other words, is there something that God wants me to do that He will not allow somebody else to do, and if I rebel against his call, will it get done? Just a thought.

My second thought from this passage is that God did not give up on Jonah, even though Jonah rebelled against God. God patiently brought Jonah to where he needed to be, and used Jonah even though his heart wasn’t completely in the work. God gave Jonah a second opportunity to fulfill the will of God. What a great God we serve that puts up with our reluctance and our rebellion against him. God could have just let Jonah drown in the sea, but instead he brought him back to where he needed to be, and showed him what he needed to see.

God also gave John Mark in the New Testament a second chance. He was called by Paul and Barnabas to travel with them on the first missionary journey, but shortly after the trip began, he turned back. When the planning for the second journey was being discussed, Barnabas wanted to give John Mark another chance, which Paul refused to do. Barnabas ended up splitting with Paul and taking John Mark with him. Paul admitted later on that John Mark was profitable to him for the ministry. Sometimes people don’t want to give you a second chance, but God does. By the way, if God is willing to give second chances to people, shouldn’t we?

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Doest Thou Well To Be Angry?

Today’s Passage – Jonah 1 – 4 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 4 – 6Psalms 116 – 120Proverbs 24)

Scripture Memory for July – Philippians 2:1 – 18

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 55:17

“…and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.” (Jonah 3:10b – 4:1)

I thoroughly enjoy reading the little book of Jonah. This was one of the first Bible passages that I ever read or learned about as a child; but it still helps me today. I got to thinking about how Jonah is not much different than me a lot of times. I get rather apathetic toward the things of God; and sometimes even get hardened toward His people, losing my compassion for them. As I read today, I thought about three ways that you can tell that you are a backslidden preacher. By the way, this does not just apply to preachers in the pulpit, any Christian can make these applications.

You know you are a backslidden preacher when:

1  You avoid and even run away from opportunities to serve God.

Jonah was given a unique opportunity to serve God by preaching to the Ninevites: a people that God loved, but Jonah despised. Millions of others were bypassed, and God chose Jonah; but he refused; he rebelled; he ran away from the will of God. Preachers and Christians today often do the same thing. It may be something as big as running from a ministry; or it may be something as small as not volunteering to serve in the nursery. Either way, an opportunity was there  to serve the God of Heaven, to make a difference in His Kingdom; but it was refused.

2  Your life ceases to be a blessing to those around you; but rather, you become a burden.

If Jonah was on board the ship on his way to fulfilling the will of God, the sailors would have been helped along the way by the blessings of God. Notice also, that it took the storm to get Jonah to even mention God to the sailors.

3  You fail to rejoice when God saves a soul. You even get angry in the midst of revival.

I remember when I was in college. We used to see literally hundreds of people saved and baptized every week. At first, I was excited as I saw the the people lining up for baptism, but after I had been there for a while it got old and I wondered to myself “when will the service be over. I want to go home.” The thought of people getting saved didn’t thrill me like it used to. Now I am here in New Jersey, and I don’t see nearly as many saved as I used to; but I got my excitement back. God gets excited over one sinner that repents. We have become hardened to the true spiritual victories that God gives us. We would be thrilled if somebody gave us something tangible, but we have lost our zeal over the spiritual blessings.

Have you found yourself becoming like Jonah? Do you get angry about the trivial, when God is doing great things in the eternal realm? Ask God to re-kindle the flame of revival in your heart; and re-ignite a passion for people.

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You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide – The Saturday Morning Post by Pastor Ted Stahl

Today’s Reading: Jonah 1-4, Proverbs 24, and Revelation 5-8.

Today’s Passage: Jonah 1.

Good Morning! It’s amazing how much we can see of ourselves in Jonah. The Book of Jonah is one of my favorites. Right-off-the-bat Jonah is given his marching orders from the Lord. Right-off-the-bat Jonah runs off in the other direction. Sin will take you quickly from the presence of the Lord. Remember what Samuel told Saul? Samuel said, “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” (1Samuel 15: 22-23).

Also notice, back in Jonah, verses 4-6, that God sent a tempest in the sea, and a great wind. The sailors thought they were going to die. Notice two observations here. When we sin, it affects those around us. And also notice where Jonah was: he was in the side of the ship, fast asleep. When we sin, it not only affects others, but how we affect others: his soul winning hit an all time low: while those on deck were facing the wrath of God, Jonah was asleep.

So, while Jonah is asleep, what are the people on deck doing? They are running around deck, throwing things overboard, trying to lighten the ship.

When they cast lots, and found that Jonah was to blame, they asked him what they should do. “And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.” (Jonah 1:12-13). Jonah knew that the wages of sin was death: he knew that someone had to die to save those on the ship. The crew did not believe Jonah, and worked hard to save the ship. Of course you know: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). And you should also know that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6); and that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). Wait, wasn’t that the task given to Jonah: to give people the Word of God?

God wasn’t done with Jonah yet. After the crew threw Jonah overboard, the Lord not only calmed the sea, but sent a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.

Not only does our sin cause us to run from God. Not only does our sin affect others. Not only does our sin cause our soul-winning to come to a halt. Our sin causes us to be separated from God: we find ourselves in the belly of the fish: dark and lonely. In those places are the times we usually turn back to God. 1John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

A good example of this happened to David. Psalm 51 says, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.” (Psalm 51:1-15).

This is what Jonah did in chapter 2, and the Lord caused the fish to vomit Jonah out onto dry land. And, of course, Jonah went on to witness to all of Nineveh, and they turned from their evil ways. God spared that city of 120,000 souls.

Peace. (Psalm 51:12-13).

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