God uses man in his smartness (foolishness)
7 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:
8 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.
9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
Yesterday we got the message of being on a mission and how God sets things and people around us for our mission.
Today God wants to show us the other side of the coin when we act foolishly and how God knowing our foolishness still gets us to do our mission successfully in Him, this we learn today from the testimony of Jonah.
In today's message we read the message of repentance which Jonah gives to the people of Nineveh and how the king and his nobles receive it and set it as a degree to all in Nineveh and this later pleases God and causes God to hold back His wrath against them.
To understand the book of Jonah first we need to know who the people of Nineveh were.
Through archeologically information it was found these people were worse than the Nazis during the World War 1. These people were very powerful both militarily and economically, they worshiped pagan gods and believed that the human sacrifices they offer to these gods were the cause of their success. They would offer child sacrifices and would skin live humans and use that skin for the ritual worship. There were found illustrations of them in large boats offering these sacrifices on it. Their greatest asset was their large naval might. Thus the pagan god Dagon - half fish half man was their chief god, they also had other gods like Nisroch who was half eagle and half man. Archaeologist found illustrations of this god Dagon on the walls of their city gates. By the construction quality and heights of their structures it is considered they were also technologically far superior to the others during their time.
These people were most hated by others especially the Jews for the Jews suffered under their hands many a times. That is why we see Jonah was bent upon see them being punished by the Lord. Jonah tried to run away in the ship not for the reason to run away from God. Jonah was a Man of God and was not so foolish to think he could run from an omnipresent God.
Jonah took the ship to Tarshish because from Trashish to Nineveh the journey was more than 4 days and Jonah knew God had given the people of Nineveh just a few days to repent before His wrath would finish them. But Jonah did not think God would arrange a natural speed boat for him. He underestimated the wisdom and ability of God.
God put Jonah is the belly of a whale and took him at high speed to Nineveh. At Nineveh when Jonah was vomited out on the shore there were people of Nineveh who witnessed this. Not only that, Jonah being in the fishes belly for 3 days had caused his skin to be bleached white and wriggled. They being worshippers of Dagon thought Jonah came from their god, therefore did not restrict his entry into their city and even allowed him to take the most prominent place which the center of the city to talk to the people of the city. News of this event and the words of Jonah spoke went quickly to the king and the nobles and caused them to issue a directive immediately the same day to instruct all to change their way of life and to forgo violence.
For them it was a person from their god Dagon speaking about a greater God greater than Dagon. That is why they summited immediately. Had Jonah not tried to run away from doing his mission and not come out of a fish, he would not have been allowed to enter the city and address the people like he did and be successful in it. His foolishness had caused him to be used successfully for the mission.
We too at many times think we know all or are successful in our mission in the Lord because of our wisdom and understanding of the Kingdom of God. But ironically we are like Jonah, living in human emotions more than spiritual understanding. The thing we do thinking we are right, God turns events around and gets the job done. That is why we see even though there are lots of preachers who are far from the knowledge of the Truth are yet used by God in mighty ways. These preachers may think it is their spiritual maturity and gifting that is causing their ministries to do well but then they are mistaken many a times. They are like Jonah who was used by God in Jonah's foolishness and not due to his wisdom.
God know each and every one of us inside out and also know the foolish steps we will take at time He stops us from doing them and at times allows us to do them. In either way He knows how to save His people. He will not allow His people to perish due to foolish workers of the Vineyard of God.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, You are all knowing and also aware of every thought and deed that we will do yet You chose us. Many a times we act like Jonah and let our human emotions and lack of understand cause us do foolish things. Yet Lord You turn things around and still use us for your glory and cause us to be blessed in You. Today people know Jonah for the mighty things You did through him and not for the foolish thoughts of his. Lord, we pray we work more in wisdom and understanding for your Kingdom and less like Jonah led by emotions and lack of knowledge of You...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference ]
Book of Jonah
1 The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.
2 God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.
3 The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
4 He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth.
5 The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.
6 Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.
7 The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.
8 But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.
9 What do ye imagine against the LORD? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time.
10 For while they be folden together as thorns, and while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry.
11 There is one come out of thee, that imagineth evil against the LORD, a wicked counsellor.
12 Thus saith the LORD; Though they be quiet, and likewise many, yet thus shall they be cut down, when he shall pass through. Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more.
13 For now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder.
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