READING ALL OF JONAH?…Jonah 1-4

Here’s a challenge for you.  Read the entire Old Testament book of Jonah.  Only 4 chapters.   A measly 48 verses.  Too much to ask?  I think not!  So, go for it!  While serving my second church, I was asked by a local radio station to tape four Bible studies for weekly broadcast.  The topic?   Any Scripture of my choice.  Really?  And me…on the radio?  Very thrilling, indeed!

Let me tell you why.  It was listening to Billy Graham’s radio program, ‘The Hour of Decision’, when I first heard about faith in Jesus Christ.  I responded ‘YES!’ to the invitation.  The message of God’s love was crystal clear to me.  I knew nothing about the Bible.  I was not from a family that often attended church.  God was rarely  mentioned in our home.  And He wanted to be in my life?  I was merely flipping the dial.  News programs?  No.  But the best news I’d ever heard.  Now, years later, I’m on the radio telling others that God loves them as much as He loves me.  All because of what His Son did on the cross thousands of years before.

What should I talk about?  I chose Jonah for my talks.  Why?  I identify with him…the reluctant prophet.  The one who says ‘no’ to God.  The presumptuous preacher, who would rather go as far away from God’s call as he possibly could.  He ships off to Tarshish, when God had clearly commanded him to bring good news to Ninevah, the opposite direction.  As if the Lord was telling you to preach in New York City, and you high tale it to Los Angeles.  That’s Jonah.   Rebellious.  Angry and bitter.

Not only Jonah.  That’s me… sometimes.  You too?  No, never!  This is an amazing story.  Chapter 3 verse 1–  ‘Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time…’   Not giving up on His prophet.  Or letting him off the hook, either.  God puts it right to him to do the tough work of God’s will.   The word of the Lord comes right at Jonah a second time.

There’s that word ‘again’ again!   God gives Jonah another shot at obedience.  I love that thought.  God majors in forgiveness.  He loves to give us His mercy… in spite of all our failures, our flippant and feeble excuses.  He comes alongside…a second time.  A third.  A fourth.  Again and again.  Not giving up on.  Thank God for second chances.  He’s done that for me many times.

Unfinished business for God in your life?   Is there not someone, whom you’ve been avoiding, running away from, who needs to hear the good news of Jesus?  And God says to go back.  Tell them of His love and about His Son.  Will you?  What will we do with God’s second chances?

Prayer:  Lord, for all your love and forgiveness, we thank you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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