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A Second Chance:
Discovering God's Love in the Old Testament
This article along with video, powerpoints, etc. can be found in BFF's Old Testament Training Library.
A Second Chance: Discovering God's Love in the Old Testament is an expository sermon from Jonah 3:1-10 enabling us to see how a proper view of God's mercy enables us to experience personal revival that can even run through the veins of our big cities.
To follow along with this theme, we will gain a deeper understanding of God in two ways:
A second chance is given to Jonah to show that the Lord patiently works with His people even when they disappoint Him.
A second chance is given to Nineveh through a preacher that God sends, calling for repentance and more.
This theme of love might not be what we expect to find in an old, brief prophetic book, stuck away in the Old Testament, but this is God’s powerful reminder so that we would know of His love, accept His Son, Jesus Christ as Savior, and live in the light of His love forever.
So here is a book, and indeed a chapter, that debunks those nonsense thoughts and words that say the God in the New Testament is loving but the God in the Old Testament is an angry God; what an outlandish and childish interpretation. Let us better understand who God really is and how much He went out of His way to reveal His love to us.
Try to understand how God wants to more deeply reveal His love to you, no matter what your background.
3:1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you.” 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the LORD. (NASB used here and elsewhere unless noted)
What we find so interesting here in Jonah 3:1 is that the Word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time. The verse mentions it, so that if we somehow had forgotten how God’s Word had come the first time and how Jonah blatantly disobeyed God, abandoned his prophetic assignment, and went his own way, and ended up there in the last verse of chapter 2 on the dry land, we should remember that God has brought him back to bat, so to speak. He is up again. He again has his whole life before him, not because he was good or deserved it, and not even because he wanted it! He didn’t.
God wants us to be overwhelmed by His gracious care for us so that we would trust Him and be used of Him. We are not Jonah, but we are God’s people. Let us draw a few points from this and identify some key points.
There are some parents and people who almost seem to want those around them to fail so that they can scoff at them and pridefully gloat in how they were right. This is so different from the way God gives His people assignments to complete. Those assignments, if rightly interpreted, should be seen as invitations to projects where we can be His coworkers and abundantly reward us. They are not there to burden but to bless! The Lord always makes us to be able to succeed when we trust in Him.
Jonah had received a call to make a prophetic statement in Nineveh. He had many others such assignments. He was a prophet. Few of us are prophets, but the Lord has His own assignments that He appoints us to.
Now we must understand that these assignments are not necessarily something big, though they can be. In one sense, Jonah’s assignment was a simple preaching assignment, but because of the personal struggle, it became a life event for him. Anytime we are called to be patient, realize this challenge highlights a God-given assignment, for patience is love. God seems much less interested in how much income we might get than what we do with it: tithing, charity, taxes, etc. The most important decisions are those private ones nobody else knows about, decisions to be men and women of integrity.
3) God clarifies and helps us to properly complete our assignments.
Jonah’s assignment was clear from Jonah 1:2:
“Arise, go to Nineveh the great city, and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.”
The assignment was clear. I know from what people ask me, many believers are troubled with not knowing what God wants. They wish God would make it clear. Actually, most of what God calls us to do is quite clear - probably around 98%. Forgive one another. Be kind to one another. Live holy lives. But we fuss and make excuses and end up confused why God is not speaking to us through His Word. The assignment was clear, but we guck it up, and blame God for the contrary winds. Perhaps we are more like Jonah than we think.
In this second chance here in 3:2 he says,
“Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you.” It appears that the Lord did not tell him what to say until the very moment he needed it. Do not think that the assignment is not clear; it is. He does not need to know what to say until the moment. God has His reasons for waiting till the last moment to help us. Just take those steps to obey that He has given to us.
Success in life is not judged by our house, car, number of children, our portfolio of investments, etc., but on how we carried out what He has put before us. It is important to go through life doing God’s will in a way that pleases Him and helps others.
Sometimes we fail, through our faults and misunderstandings, but God still wants us to succeed. God corrects us and sets us back where we can go forward–just like He did with Jonah. Jonah cannot make up what he lost, but he can now obey.
Never give up on yourself. That is always Satan’s voice tempting us to give up. God never gives up with us–until death (this is one reason suicide is very wrong). Our future can be bright from today forward, no matter how dark yesterday was.