"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." (Jonah 3:1-2)
In our last study, we saw how Jonah ran from the call of God. His hardness of heart was reflected when he took a ship to Tarshish (Modern day Spain) and fell asleep along the way, not caring nor being convicted of fleeing from the call of God. God, in his love, did not give up on Jonah. He allowed a storm to come his way to call his attention, but still, Jonah was asleep.
It was not until one of the men woke him up and called upon him to pray. This would have been a wonderful opportunity for Jonah to preach the word and win souls. The sad thing was that he kept silent and did not care to share his faith. It wasn't until by the hand of God that he was found out.
The incredible thing was that, even, when he was found out, he preferred suicide than be obedient to God. It was not until a fish, most likely a whale, swallowed him that he was faced with reality. Instead of a fast death, Jonah was facing a slow and painful death inside of the whale's belly.
God knows how to get our attention and praise be to his name that he never gives up on us. Jonah was facing a last call...a last chance and then all bets would be off. He would face eternal damnation because of his disobedience.When faced with this, he cried out to God in his"hell". He repented, trusted and praised him in the midst of his "hell". Friend, God can deliver you from your "hell", if you trust and praise him. We, all, know what happened---The whale had heartburn and vomited him out.
Tradition has us thinking that Jonah came out nice and fresh and went out to preach, but nothing could be further than the truth. I have read reports of people that had been swallowed by a whale. Their skin turned pure white and, in some cases, they lose their hair. Can you imagine how Jonah looked when he came out?
Notice in the above verse. God give him a command for the second time. Thank God for second chances. God is willing to give us all the time of the world if it would make a difference. Jonah was smart and walked out to Nineveh. Can you imagine the spectacle that Jonah caused? His condition called the people to attention.
What does that tell us? When we go to preach, we need to trust God because he has a plan. We hear of street preachers preaching gloom and doom but without no demonstration of God's power. Brethren, I am not against preaching gloom and doom and if that what God has called you---more power to you! The thing that concerns me is that God's word is preached with signs and wonders.
Jonah was a wonder in his condition, but God did not leave him that way. I believe that during his preaching, his skin started to change colors and that amazed the people. They saw a demonstration of his power! No wonder they took heed and repented. They saw signs and wonders.
Recently, our church went out to evangelize near a store. God gave our Senior Pastor favor and we were allowed to put tables and chairs near the entrance. As the people entered the store, all we asked them was if they needed prayer. The reaction was mixed, but we had some good results. Friends, the word says he that winneth souls is wise.
The world is looking for answers and if they can get a taste of God with signs and wonders, your church will be full. Jesus demonstrated this principle when he preached to the multitudes through signs and wonders. So, friend, as you share your faith, be open to the gifts of the spirit.
You will be surprised at the results you can get. In Russia, they were cases of churches being formed overnight, just like in the book of Acts. Who knows if the Lord might raise you up to form a church? So, the word in this day is to preach the word with signs and wonders following...A world is waiting for good news!