2:10 Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach. 1 Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time: 2 “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.” 3 This time Jonah obeyed the Lord’s command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all. 4 On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” 5 The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow. 6 When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. 7 Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city: “No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. 8 People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence. 9 Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.” 10 When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.
Chapter two ended with a praying prophet and a puking fish. Sometimes God’s redirection involves regurgitation and it isn’t always pretty. We like the results of repentance it’s the process of puking that we find revolting. But we need to remember that sin never smells good, it stinks and its gut wrenching. Sin wants to swallow us whole, to surrounded us with its stench. What is it that is holding you hostage, trapping and tying you down? You don’t have to live stuck in the stomach of sin, you can confess and come clean. After Jonah’s confession we find him free of the fish, and free to follow the Father. So let me ask you, where do you want to be, on the beach or in the belly? It is here that Jonah’s discovers that:
- God is a giver of grace
“The Lord spoke to Jonah a second time” Sitting in the sand still stinking from his decision to disobey Jonah experienced the God of second chances. Have you ever longed to make right a major mistake? We have all made mistakes, whether it’s in our finances or family, some right now are dealing with a marriage mess, or parenting problems. It’s in the midst of these mistakes that we wish we could have one more chance for change, an opportunity to begin again. Our failures can leave us feeling that God our Father could never use us again. That we have ruined any chance to be used by Him, that we could never be bless again. But Jonah found that the forgiveness of the Father involved a second chance to serve. Repentance brought both redirection and a re-commissioning. But notice that it is only after Jonah repents that God commissions him to call others to repentance. We have a Savior who is willing to stoop to use those who have rejected his calling and turned a deaf ear to His word. Redeeming the rebellious and seeking disobedient, directionally-challenged sheep is what our Shepherd does. He is the pursuer of the prodigal, the Lord of the ‘Lost and Found.’ If there is one area that we consistently underestimate the Fathers love I think it’s in His loving longing to forgive. Jonah failed when he was first called to go to Nineveh, but his failure wasn’t final. May be you are struggling with failure today; know you are not alone, for Jonah was not the only person in the Bible who “failed” God at some point. After God promised Abraham that he and his wife Sarah would have a son, he disbelieved God and decided to follow his own plan. He disobeyed God and had a child by his wife’s servant. Even though he “failed” he found a Father that did not give up on him and God made Abraham the “father of many nations”. Jacob not only lied to his earthly father but he stole his brother’s birthright and blessing. He experienced family failure, but after God had wrestled him into obedience he received a new name, Israel. King David committed adultery with Bathsheba, then he had her husband murdered to hide his failing, but after he finds God’s forgiveness we find God describing David as a man after God’s own heart. Peter proudly proclaimed that he would never deny Jesus but he did, three times in public. Peter failed Jesus but after he is forgiven he goes on to preach with power on the day of Pentecost, where many lives are changed for Christ. Sometimes we feel like our failure is forever, that it’s fatal and its final, that we can never be forgiven, but we have a Father that longs to forgive. May be today you find yourself stuck in sin, desperate for a second chance. Are you ready to exchange your life in the belly of sin for the shore of second chances? Then right where you are surrender to God and seek His face of forgiveness, repent and reject your life of sin.