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A Second Chance:
Discovering God's Love in the Old Testament
This article along with video, powerpoints, etc. can be found in BFF's Old Testament Training Library.
A Second Chance: Discovering God's Love in the Old Testament is an expository sermon from Jonah 3:1-10 enabling us to see how a proper view of God's mercy enables us to experience personal revival that can even run through the veins of our big cities.
If we accept the Book of Jonah as true and trustworthy, and we should for Jesus trusted its veracity (Matthew 12:39-41; Mark 16:4; Luke 11:29-32), then we must discard any notions that God is not involved in the world or our personal lives. The opposite is true: God is greatly concerned for us, and so we also must reject any thoughts about God being uncaring. Though Jonah 3 might seem to be a simple story, it is a powerful theological revelation of the merciful character of God.
Now to be honest, there is a lot of opposition to the involvement of God in this world. This kicks agains the major teaching here. There is no doubt, especially taking a close look at Jonah’s experiences, that most, if not all, of our major world and personal problems stem from a misunderstanding of God. Once we misunderstand God, then we come up with less than ideal life philosophies which hurl us into the storms of life. Let me suggest some of these crooked perspectives of God:
“Where is God?”
“I don’t think God cares about this world.”
“God must be evil to let this happen.”
“God is impotent.”
If this is God’s mercy, I rather not have it!
I know many of our friends, roommates and even family members sometimes say they do not believe in God. Usually, they are not admitting to be atheists but more like agnostics that find God has not personally revealed Himself to them in such a way that God makes any difference to their lives. And until He does, they will not pay much attention to who He is.
The Book of Jonah cautions us on making such a conclusion. It is dangerous to maintain an image of life that wraps around ourselves and our plans. It simply is not consistent with the real world, and on one unplanned day, our balloon will simply burst. And who knows at what place we will fall? No, don’t let the spirit of secularism or materialism hold you down. God is real and actively working in this world.
People do not particularly like everything God does, but this is only because of our misunderstanding of God and His purposes. Jonah wanted out from this assignment; he became a runaway and was even willing to be dropped overboard to end it all–as far as he was concerned. The problem is, though, that many of us, if not all of us, really do not understand God or the way He does things. God only reveals somethings to us. The Book of Jonah really helps us get an accurate picture of the Lord. After reading this book, we ought to conclude:
“I certainly do not know everything about God, but He is involved in things far more than I ￼could ever imagine. He is concerned with individuals rather than just things. And despite all the evil going on, God is good and a just God. I should learn more about Him and trust Him more.”
The point is, that we all are on a journey of knowing God more. If we are not consciously going that direction, then we will, at some point, get hit hard. But instead, if we could take the basic trust that God gives us here to see His greater purposes for our lives, enabling us to better know Him and carry out our life purposes, then our lives will see God as encouraging, helpful, faithful and definitely loving.
If not, you might just see your life though a clouded and scratched lens, forcing you to interpret a whole series of events in your life as if God doesn’t care for you - like Jonah–but that is not true.
To follow along with this theme, we will gain a deeper understanding of God in two ways:
A second chance is given to Jonah to show that the Lord patiently works with His people even when they disappoint Him.
A second chance is given to Nineveh through a preacher that God sends, calling for repentance and more.
Next => A) God genuinely cares for me (Jonah 3:1-3a)