FRIDAY, MAR. 23: There are many persons who have heard God ‘speak to them’.
Perhaps it was not in an audible voice, but in their spirit; they just know He has spoken to them.
The key is: When God speaks, do you obey what He tells you to do?
Let’s face it. Many times, there are authority figures that speak words of instructions to those under their remit, yet there is no guarantee that the instructions given will be obeyed to the fullest.
Jonah 3:1 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,
2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
This is what we see when we look at the Prophet Jonah. Jonah heard God speak, and he heard God speak the very same message, more than once.
Here was Jonah, a servant of God, and yet he chose not to obey what God told him to do.
Why would Jonah not obey God? Jonah did not obey God because Jonah did not like the message God gave to him.
Jonah did not like the fact that he would have to take the Word of God to the people of Nineveh. He could not stand their guts.
Therefore Jonah chose to disobey God and not give a word of direction to his enemies.
This is how Jonah ended up being swallowed by a large fish.
The interesting thing is that once Jonah was trapped in the belly of the fish, he figured out that it would be best to obey God.
Isn’t it something that people do their own thing and wait until they get into a heap of trouble before they choose to agree with God and do what God told them to do in the first place?
God spoke the very same message a second time. Jonah still had a major issue with the people of Nineveh; however, he took the message of destruction to them.
After all, he had the near-death experience of the big fish and did not desire to experience such a lesson again. Yes, Jonah let them know that they would be overthrown in 40 days.
While Jonah saw his message as one of certain destruction for the Ninevites, God had sent Jonah to give the Ninevites a message of intense warning.
You see, God is not out to get anybody. No. God is out to save people; to save nations.
God desires that the people of Nineveh repent. As long as the people believe that they can sin and yet live in splendour, they will never understand that there is a God whom they will have to answer to.
God sent a message to the Ninevites saying that they would be destroyed in 40 days.
The heart of God is that the people have a time period of 40 days to turn their hearts back to Him in true repentance.
To the horror of Jonah, they received his message with God’s intent attached to it.
So, rather than thinking that they were finished, the people understood that God had them under a time period of grace.
They got it that they had 40 days to turn their lifestyles around and that perhaps God would change His mind concerning their fate.
6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
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.
The king of Nineveh got off his throne, took off his robe, put on sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Wow. Imagine that. The first to repent was the leader of the nation.
When a leader repents, it will be a small thing for those under his remit to do likewise.
The king also declared a total fast for every living thing. Yes, both humans and beasts were called to fast. The entire nation was in a solemn assembly; no one was left out.
The entire nation repented of their ways. The entire nation of Nineveh turned towards God and was now in a place to be found pleasing in His sight.
10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
Now that God had first place in the heart and minds of all, He repented of the evil that would have come upon them and God allowed goodness and mercy to overtake evil.
The people lived because they obeyed the Word of God. Obedience to God leads to life.
Dr Maria A Seaman is the pastor of Shekinah Worship Centre, Hamilton Parish.