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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.
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.
God evidently revealed the message when Jonah got there. Verse 4 says, “Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, ‘Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.’”
The message was not gentle or persuasive. There are some that state that a negative word should not be said. Let us first think about why God says that and then the benefit of it.￼
While the Lord does not say here in chapter 3 the reason for the message, it is given in chapter 1 and it is strongly inferred here as the people evidently knew the wrong from which they were to repent.
Jonah 1:2 says, “Cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” Let us think about the meaning of, “Come up before Me.” First, it does not mean that God was not knowledgeable about their evil before this. Nor does it mean, that they had not sinned before this. Instead, it means that their evil has come up to such a high level that it is time for judgment to come. God, as a righteous Judge, keeps a record of our wrongdoing.
Although some of us might think there is no place for judgment, when someone doe something wrong to you, you like most people will want to straighten it out right away. You can imagine someone crying out, “I want the $100 back that you stole from me!” When people disobey God, it means not only that they have offended God but have hurt others. It is unimaginable that those who purposely kill others are not promptly executed. God is extremely patient here, as with us.
In Genesis 6:13, the phrase was earlier used in Noah’s time, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.” It seems quite evident that the accurate meaning refers to a growing wickedness that reaches some point when a sentence of judgment has been declared, waiting for its soon execution. In English, we say, “Enough is enough.” Nineveh, the impregnable city, would be overthrown in forty days. Overthrown must be understood that the people would not hereafter be recognizable. Many would be destroyed from some form of judgment.
This week saw a number of violent things happen on our street. What a shame to see a huge man wrestling a younger teenager down to the ground, trying to smash him. A Spanish man was hurt by a mob of 13 several years ago. He remains unwilling to forget. He refused to hear the message of Jesus. “Forgiveness was not part of this vocabulary,” he said.
Man's anger, however, is different from God's anger; man's violence differs than God's violence. Man's violences fool itself by occupying one’s mind with ruining the life of another. God's violence, first delayed, again and again, carries out justice in a predictable and necessary way.
How do we know? In verse 10 God is seen quite willing to change His approach. In other words, God is seeking a way to bless us. At a certain point his wrath does necessarily come into play in order to carry out justice, but before that, and even during that time, God is trying to create an open window where man might repent. Again, God, unlike man, is quite willing to put his assault aside because He genuinely cares for those He has made. His anger is not like man's anger.
The scriptures present God, as slow to anger. This means that though we would deserve judgment upon the first sin, God delays the just punishment. We should not conclude that there is no God or no consequence for what we do, but instead that when judgment does come we will suffer most terribly due to God’s proper execution of justice.
If God should judge you upon your first three sins, how long would you live? Not long. Think about the city you grew up in. About the city that you dream to have a job in. Think of the city where you now live. To what degree has the judgment increased?
I just read how the government awards $70,00 to two of our colleges to help restrain them from allowing increasingly wild and disturbing parties. Funny–think about the funding: it comes from a tax on the alcohol that they purchase from the State which sells it! Part of judgment is not being able to see how our sinful activities are destroying us. Judgment is near to us. Our folly is ever so evident.