And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey. - Jonah 3:1-3
Jonah was a well-known prophet, his story doesn’t start with the whale. He was not always a failure. He had a relationship with God. God had confidence in Jonah, enough confidence that He wanted him to go to Nineveh and preach to the people so their hearts would be turned towards God. Instead of doing the right thing, Jonah did the opposite. Jonah ran the opposite direction.
Jonah ran from what God wanted him to do, and went down to Joppa, he went down to the bottom of the boat. Whenever you run from God, you will always go down. God is calling you today, do not run from God. God is sounding the alarm. In Revelations when God is speaking to the church at Ephesus when He tells them “You have left your first love”.
None of us are perfect, we may have started in our walk with God, and then walked away. God’s drumbeat has grown dim in our heart. The Psalmist complained in Psalms 60:10, “Wilt not thou, O God, which hadst cast us off? and thou, O God, which didst not go out with our armies?” God does not march with us. God plays the drum, and we march. We are either marching to God or away from God. The drumbeat is still there, but the sound has grown dim.
Jonah learned the same lesson as Simon Peter if you follow God from a distance, eventually you will end up denying Him. We are human, there will be times you will feel overwhelmed and the pressures of life will weigh you down, life can distract you and we can forget about our relationship with God. Micah 7:18 reminds us that God delights in showing us mercy, “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.” The Bible tells us there are new mercies every day.
We are reminded once again of God’s mercy as we know in Jonah’s story he was thrown overboard and swallowed by a whale. While in the belly of a whale, he prayed and sought after God, and was given a second chance. He responded to that drumbeat and turned back towards God. I am so glad God is a God of second chances! Not just for Jonah and men of old but for you and I just the same!
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