Jonah 4: God Always Gives His Children One Last Chance
This is the fourth in a series of six blog posts from the prophet Jonah. The third chapter of Jonah tells us:
"The word of the Lord returned to Jonah, 'Get up and go to Nineveh and preach the message I already gave you.' So Jonah got up and went to Nineveh as God instructed him."
Metropolitan Nineveh was so large it took three days to walk around it. As Jonah entered the city he announced that God planned to destroy it in forty days. He issued the same proclamation every day, all day long, for forty days, during which the people of Nineveh believed in God and proclaimed a fast. They dressed in sackcloth from the greatest to the least.
When word reached the king, he too got up from his throne, took off his robe, dressed in sackcloth, sat in ashes, and issued this decree:
"By order of the king and his nobles, no man or beast is to eat or drink anything at all. Furthermore, both men and beasts must be covered with sackcloth, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. Each must turn from his selfish ways and renounce violence. Who knows? God may yet turn from his burning anger and relent so that we don’t perish."
When God saw that the people turned from their evil ways, He retracted His threat and withheld destruction.
God gave Jonah a serious shaking, a wake-up call. Jonah experienced desperation and the Bible indicates he was a dead man. But God let him off the proverbial hook, if you’ll excuse the metaphor. God invested a lot in Jonah preparing him for his earthly destiny. Jonah was too valuable a tool to be lightly discarded.
God has invested a lot in you. He gave you the peculiar experiences and exposures you’ve lived through so that he could one day put you to good use in His kingdom. You may be down, my friend, but you’re not out. Jonah had no idea someone would actually listen and respond to something he had to say. It was a simple message. He didn’t expect much of a response. But the response was world changing. We can now look back and clearly see that it was miraculous in scope.
You may not think you have much to offer. But God can take your meager contribution and rattle a nation into repentance. He can use you to change the world, or reach a soul. It’s not too late. Have you ever considered what a blessing it is to alter a single person’s eternal destiny? That is huge, my friend.
Is there something you have felt called to do or say that you didn’t act on? Have you put it on hold, stashed it in a drawer, or worse, cast it aside altogether? Does hearing my voice rekindle a flame or create a curious spark? That may actually be the Lord, calling you to remembrance. God may be giving you a last chance to serve him.
Don’t keep wondering “what if”. Step up, like the prophet Isaiah, and say, “Here am I Lord, send me.” This might be the last time God prompts you to do the thing he designed you to do. Jonah had no idea what success he would enjoy and the impact it would have on so many people. Just do what God is calling you to do. Be faithful to plant a seed, then watch in awe and wonder as God brings the harvest.