Jonah 1:1-3 The WORD of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “GO to the GREAT city of Nineveh (with a population of 120,000+ people. God called it great despite its sinful state!) and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
When God speaks, WE HAVE A CHOICE but there will be consequences for us and others, when we disobey Him. What has God said to you recently? What has He asked you to do?
The word of the Lord was very specific…He called Jonah by name, told him where to go and what to do when he got there. In this season we need to know WHERE God is calling us to GO and what God is calling us to do! Generally we should bring words of challenge, hope, life, peace, joy, freedom, direction, and encouragement.
Even though Jonah was called and commissioned by God to deliver God’s WORD, Jonah chose to run away. RUNNING AWAY FROM GOD’S WILL AND PRESENCE IS DANGEROUS FOR US AND FOR THOSE AROUND US!
Jonah boarded a ship and despite a great storm he fell asleep. At first, the sailors thought they could get through the storm by rowing harder! How often do we do that? Desperate the sailors threw their valuable cargo overboard thinking that would help! Everyone loses out when we are disobedient! When they realized it was Jonah who was the problem, and they eventually had to throw him overboard to save the lives of everyone else.
God hadn’t finished with Jonah, graciously sending a whale to swallow him. Terrified… Jonah wouldn’t have known that God’s rescue plan was a whale swallowing him alive! We often don’t recognise God’s rescue plans for us! It was during this time in the belly of the whale, Jonah realized the consequences of his disobedience. How often do we forfeit God’s grace? In that place of confinement, Jonah cried out desperately to God.
After 3 days and 3 nights (a powerful pointer to Jesus spoken of in Matthew 12:40) the Lord commanded the whale and it vomited Jonah on to the dry land. Jonah, a reluctant Prophet ran away from an unrighteous city while Jesus chose to come to an unrighteous world.
God will use anyone, and thankfully He doesn’t wait for us to be perfect. God LOVES US and always has a plan to restore US back to our destinies.
Jonah (no doubt stinking of whale vomit), hears God once again…ARISE, GO to Ninevah, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.
When God calls you to ARISE and GO – He EMPOWERS you, He PROVIDES for you, He OPENS DOORS for you and He RESOURCES you!
Romans 8:19 “All creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.” The people of Nineveh were waiting and ready to respond. People are waiting for US to arise full of God’s spirit and His word, so they can be restored and released into their destinies.
Romans 10:14 How can people call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? The people of Nineveh were waiting for someone to tell them the truth!
Trust the power of God’s word. Isaiah the Prophet said in Isaiah 55:11 “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” It’s OUR responsibility to bring God’s word and HIS responsibility to enforce it!
Jonah walked into the city and began to release God’s WORD, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown!” JUST 8 WORDS BUT 8 WORDS PACKED FULL OF THE POWER OF A HOLY GOD… THAT CONVICTED THE PEOPLE OF THEIR SIN. JONAH BROUGHT NO HOPE! BUT THE PEOPLE BELIEVED AND TURNED TO GOD ANYWAY!
Immediately the people of Nineveh responded to God’s Word, they turned from their wickedness, began to fast and cry out to God. They humbled themselves in deep repentance and grief.
Then the King said, “Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish”.
1. Came the word.
2. People believed and genuinely repented.
3. The King heard and laid aside his robe to wear sackcloth.
4. God moved in mercy, compassion and relented releasing disaster upon them.
This is what revival looks like! God’s word is full of creative power, and He desires to use us to release His word to bring Revival, Harvest and Transformation.
God had compassion. Jesus also full of compassion stretched out his hand. He fed the people, cleansed the lepers, opened blind eyes and healed the sick. We need our hearts to be conjoined with Jesus, to empower us to have that same compassion for the people He loves so much, despite how they choose to live their lives.
God watches how we care for people around us; How we minister His Word, govern, live, work, rest and play within our towns and cities. He watches how we respond relationally, emotionally, and strategically.
When we refuse the great commission and watch our communities self-destruct, and it’s evidence that we need our hearts transformed.
The world is watching, and we must be people of integrity.