Last time, we considered the believer’s responsibility to the share their faith with others, especially those who do not believe. This week we will come at it from a different angle…
For those of you reading this who do not believe, who have not yet accepted the precious gift of redemption, I know you are out there. I want you to listen carefully to me here: No matter what you may think about church, or faith, or Christ Himself, put that aside for a moment and think, really think, about all of the provisions that God has sent your way that you may have never taken the time to appreciate. How many “miracles” have you seen in your life? How many times has someone opened their heart to you and shared the love of Christ?
Even if it wasn’t a sermon or a dead-on confrontation about salvation through the Gospel, you can rest assured that if someone took the time to love you, to think about you, to pray about you, to pray for you, to pray with you, my friend, that was God’s provision! I want us all to think about these things. How is God using you now, and how is He going to use you, to reach others?
Let’s look back at Jonah again.
God sent Jonah to Nineveh. He ran at first, faced many trials and tribulations along the way because he did not heed God’s words to him. Finally though he gave in and went with the message that was given him. And do you know what it accomplished? Let’s carry on with Chapter 3, beginning with the first verse and continuing on through the Chapter, and see where this led:
“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. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”
Jonah relented, he went and preached his message, and because of the signs that were put in him, his message from God moved everyone, from the lowest beggar to the high king. Scripture tells us that they all, every one of them, changed their ways and because of that the Lord turned away that which was due them for their iniquities.
Jonah was what I call a “reluctant provision.” He ran at first, fought against his destiny, if you want to call it that. Ultimately though, he knew what he had to do, he listened to God and went.
In a way, it makes me think of another individual who came for a purpose, but what He had to do weighed heavy on His heart one evening as He knelt and wept in the Garden of Gethsemane. Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22 all tell us that He pleaded with God, saying “Father, take this cup from me.” Ultimately though He knew what He had to do. He had to fulfill His purpose, what He had been called to do. He knew He had to finally meet the destiny that had been laid out for Him since before the start of creation and because He went, friends, so can we. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, was our greatest provision, and even He, on the very cusp of destiny, was reluctant too.
Jonah didn’t want to go and preach to the Ninevites. He didn’t want to leave his comfort zone just to deliver a message to a people that he disliked, indeed a people that most certainly did not like him. Ultimately though, he went. He fulfilled that which had been laid out for him since before time itself and because he did, the Bible tells us that not only was every soul in sinful Nineveh saved but also even the cattle from certain destruction!
You know, friends, even if it was just a single solitary soul that turned from his life of sin to God, wouldn’t that have been enough? Let me tell you something: God is good! Jonah’s message didn’t save just a single soul; it saved more than 120,000 of them!
One person can make a great difference…
The message continues next time…
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