We continue and conclude our 2-part series in Jonah today.
Last week we considered God’s message to us in Jonah 1 & 2…
Our faithful God calls us as obedient servants to fulfil our appointed part in His purpose that sees us share and experience His message of hope and deliverance in a hopeless world.
As we explored last week…
God called Jonah to a specific prophetic task.
We are also called….
We have been called to salvation in Christ. Our highest calling.
We are all called to live in the new life we have in Christ. Our common calling.
We are each individually called to serve God in a specific way as He has planned it. Our specific calling.
We were asked the question… “What Has God called you to?”
All God's call required was Jonah’s obedience. Jonah’s response to God’s calling, to flee.
As those called by God, all God requires of us is obedience.
We were asked the question… “Are you obedient to God’s call on your life?”
Jonah’s disobedience required God’s loving discipline. God has many ways of bringing our sins to light before us and it often starts with a journey into hopelessness. In Jonah’s case it was a divine storm and a divinely guided huge fish.
We were asked the question… “What is your response to the storms of life? When things seem hopeless?”
The Lord’s purpose was to restore Jonah from his self-inflicted disobedience. There was hope. And that hope came in the form of a huge fish.
We were asked the question… “What is your hope in?”
God delivers Jonah from a watery grave through a huge fish. And in spite of his reluctance to preach to the citizens of Nineveh, Jonah ended up being part of revealing God to a group of sailors. Jonah fled because he didn’t want to preach God’s word, but ended up being an instrument to bring the knowledge of the true God to a group of sailors.
We were asked the question… “Have you experienced and continue to experience the true deliverance that God provides through the person and work of Jesus Christ?”
God’s deliverance brought him to the point of renewed devotion to God. Jonah learned…
There is no escape from the Almighty God.
Everything is an instrument in His hands and leads to the glory of His name.
God is a gracious God and takes the initiative in saving us and restoring us. Divine grace.
Salvation is from God. Jonah also experienced salvation through sanctification.
Jonah’s life is an image of the work of Jesus Christ. An image of the death burial and resurrection, of Christ. As Jesus said himself in Matthew 12:38-41 the sign of the prophet Jonah was to point to Christ.
As with the whole of the Bible, the main character in the book of Jonah is God. To reveal the character and nature of God. To give God glory! To reveal who we are in light of the author of the Bible. To point to our need of God, and His solution in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
As we jump into Jonah 3, does this seem a little like Déjà vu? I feel like we are back at Jonah 1 again as we see, once again, Jonah called to preach God’s message to the people of Nineveh.
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 3:1–2
A restored Jonah was given a second chance to fulfil God’s call.
Nothing has changed regarding the call, but what has changed is Jonah’s response. He obeys. Instead of seeking to run away from God, Jonah obeys.
Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Jonah 3:3
But note what else is said here…
“…proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah 3:2
God was emphasising that in the same way it was God’s call, God’s purposes in Nineveh, it was also God’s message. Jonah was to say exactly what he was given to say. He couldn’t add to it, take away from it or even seek to jazz it up a bit to make it more attractive or palatable for the people of Nineveh.
A message that was all about judgement for sin.
We too are called, as part of our common call as believers, to share a message from God. His message.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures... 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
We are not to add to it, take away from it or even seek to jazz it up a bit to make it more attractive or palatable for the people we are called to share it with.