I Stopped Running From God When...
Summary: We have ideas about who God is that keeps us away from him, but the Bible tells us that when we approach him with a healthy fear and a spirit of humility we find peace and life.
Key Scripture (Jonah 3): 1 Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time: 2 “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.”
3 This time Jonah obeyed the Lord’s command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all.[a] 4 On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” 5 The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow.
6 When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. 7 Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city:
“No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. 8 People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence. 9 Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.”
10 When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.
Then The Lord Spoke to Jonah A Second Time
- God gave Jonah a second chance!
- It is in God’s nature to give you second chances
- When God gives you a second chance he asks you to, “Go now, immediately, right away”
- Don’t miss this, Jonah’s disobedience didn’t change God’s plan for his life. Nineveh still needed to hear the word of God, and Jonah was still God’s man for the job. Once Jonah got his heart right, God was ready to put is plan back into action.
I stopped running from God when...
- I realized He was who He said He is.
- I dropped my pride like its hot.
- I realized He’s the only hope.
- I realized I can’t do life without Him.
- I truly believed He is for me and loves me.
- I encountered His grace.
Jonah Obeys God
- Jonah preaches his 6 word sermon: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!”
- Destroyed has a double meaning in he Hebrew. It can either mean overturned and destroyed, or overturned and changed.
- God’s mercy is for a season.
The Ninevites Believed God And Changed
- Jonah 3:5, “The people of Nineveh believed God’s message…”
- When the Word of God is spoken, God’s voice is heard.
- God used Jonah’s testimony of rebellion and repentance to perhaps reach the people, to show them that God is not someone to be taken lightly. And so they declare a fast.
The Welsh Revival
- During the Welsh Revivals of the 19th century, so many people experienced God in such a real way, that they felt convicted of their sin and the need to make restitution. But it created an unexpected problem for the shipyards along the coast of Wales. Over the years workers had stolen items ranging from wheelbarrows to hammers. As people sought to be right with God, they started to return what they had taken, with the result that soon the shipyards of Wales were overwhelmed with returned property. There were such huge piles of returned tools that several of the yards put up signs that read, "If you have been led by God to return what you have stolen, please know that the management forgives you and wishes you to keep what you have taken." Can you imagine if that type of repentance came upon our city?
Repentance and Fasting
- Jonah 3:5, “they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow”
- When God speaks it’s best to listen!
- This “City of Blood”, this brutal dictator, declares “People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence.”
- They believed God, they repented, they changed their ways, God gave them a second chance. The repentance of Nineveh is nothing short of a miracle.
- God never gives up on His plans for you.
- Psalms 51:17 says that God is near to the brokenhearted. It says that a humble and contrite and broken heart God will not reject, He won't refuse, He won't despise it. His arms open wide for us we! We expect the back of his hands and we find ourselves in his warm embrace.