Call to worship
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4
Let us Pray
Mighty God we come to you in humble adoration. You take us, such very imperfect people, and give us the chance to prove that when we place ourselves in your care we can be the people you want us to be. We bless you, Lord. We praise and adore you. Amen
Confession: For the times we dash haphazardly into your presence, finding it hard to leave behind our cares and worries. For the times when we don’t learn from our experience, For the times when we don’t take care of ourselves, or the people we share our lives with: for the times we don’t see what you want us to see and just take things at face value. For the times when our own plans become more important than yours rather than letting your Holy Spirit guide us.
Forgive us, good Lord and make us new. Amen
- Jonah 3:1-6
- Matthew 12:38-42
Message: Jonah’s Second Chance
“The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.” Matthew 12:41
A short time ago we looked at the Apostle Peter’s Second Chance in the New Testament. Today I want to look at one of the Old Testaments Prophets who was also given a second chance; Jonah, the man that made a whale sick.
Jonah’s name in Hebrew means Dove, a prophet in the reign of Jeroboam 2nd of Israel and came from Gath-hepher which is located near Nazareth.
Nineveh was the last capital of Assyria and had a population in Jonah’s day of 120,000. The city’s ruins today can be found near the river Tigris opposite Mosul in Northern Iraq and are marked by a mound Kuyunjik and Nabi Yunus.
Whereas Peter denied his Lord, Jonah ran away! Both these men acted out of fear. Jonah was frightened of the people of Nineveh so he fled from the presence of God who wanted him to go to that great city and warn them to turn from their evil ways.
Jonah’s Second Chance
The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. Jonah 1:1-3
- The first thing that Jonah did was disobey God, he ran away and boarded a ship heading in the opposite direction from where God wanted him to go.
- The second thing Jonah did he put himself before others. God wanted to give the people of Nineveh an opportunity to repent of their sins. Don’t forget these were Gentiles and Jonah thought that God was for Jews only.
- The third thing Jonah thought he was doing was saving his life for the city had a bad reputation of being corrupt.
- The fourth thing was that Jonah wanted the people to pay for their sins. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God slow to anger and abound in love, a God who relents from calamity. But the Lord replied, “Have you any right to be angry?” Jonah 4:2 & 4
- The fifth thing Jonah learnt the hard way that there was no place to run too or hide from the will of Almighty God. The Psalmist David wrote in Psalm 139:7, 9-10: Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I go flee from your presence? If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me and your right hand will hold me fast.
Out of the belly of the fish we read in Jonah 2 how he cried out to the Lord for mercy, repenting of his sin and like Peter was forgiven and his commission restored. We read those beautiful words in Jonah 3:3 Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh.
We read how successful Jonah’s mission was in Chapter 3:5-9. They responded to the word of the Lord and from the King down to the man on the street they repented of their sins and sought God’s mercy.
Perhaps you who are listening or reading this too once loved the Lord, spent time in the past reading His word and enjoyed spending time in prayer. Christian joy has departed from your heart. No longer do you enjoy the peace that passes all understanding. Those who have trusted the Lord and failed to cooperate with Him are offered a second chance by the God of Jonah. As God was concerned for the unsaved people of Nineveh He is concerned for the unsaved in our community. Maybe you are one of the unsaved be assured that He wants to have a chance to forgive your sins and give you the gift of eternal life. Don’t you think it’s time that you gave the Lord a chance?
Prayers of Intercession
Lord God, we pray today for our Queen, the royal family and our government. We pray for all the people given the great privilege of spreading your gospel. We pray for the Church worldwide, but particular in the places where people are still being persecuted for their beliefs. We pray for ministers, who prayerfully seek your face, and bring us the words and understanding we need to become more faithful followers of you. We pray for writers, poets, and artists as they pore over your word and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to bring your message to life on the page. Amen
May God bestow his gift of love on you.
May he teach you how to share that love with others.
May his love lead you to everlasting life, and may God bless you
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.