"Running from Nineveh"
June 23, 2021, 4:10 PM

We have all heard the story of Jonah since we were children, however I want you to think about it a little deeper than that as you read this today…

We know that the “Word of the Lord” came to Jonah in chapter 1 telling him to, “arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness has come up before me” (Jonah 1:1-2 RSV). This was the introduction of what we could call Jonah’s escape plan! In the next couple verses Jonah jumps up after receiving God’s call on his life and RUNS! He runs straight to the shipyard (in Joppa), even pays the fare gets on a boat and sails off, all in an effort to run from the Lords presence and call….

What an effort to get away from God!

You know already what happens in the next few verse, this is the childhood story that we are all so familiar with. But what I would like to focus on here today is Jonah’s attitude towards Nineveh.

You see its not as much as Jonah is running from the Lord, or the calling itself, it appears that Jonah is running from the calling God gave him to specifically go to Nineveh.

Jonah’s attitude towards Nineveh is similar to that of Israel’s reluctance to engage in mission. God reveals His own heart in Jonah’s story raising the unanswered question “Should I not have concern for the great city Nineveh?” (Jonah 4:11).

All throughout our Bibles we find a God who cares, and desires to have a relationship with His creation. Culbertson states in the Book Discovering Missions, “Yahweh is a missionary God who desires that His people share His missionary heart” (Culbertson 29). We also understand that much of the Old Testament focuses on the Israelites, and Culbertson states that “it begins by describing God’s relationship to all humanity” (Culbertson 23). We also learn that “Yahweh became identified as the God of Israel, He had revealed himself as the God of all humankind” (Culbertson 23).

With this understanding we know that God did not have a prejudicial attitude such as that we have witnessed from others. Just like with Jonah not wanting to go and preach as he was called and commanded to do in Nineveh because it was not a Jewish city.  Jonah’s attitude and Israel’s reluctance to engage in missions are so similar and both have one key element in common, a God that cares and wants to relate to all humankind.

You see there are times in our lives where God is going to ask us to do something that we may not be comfortable with. Witness to someone we don’t want to be around. Knock on doors and invite people to church in areas we would rather not go… If we refuse, we are having an attitude much like that of Jonah.

As a Christian you cannot just witness to those who you are comfortable around, you have to minister where God leads you. And minister to whom God places in your path.

My question to you is: What is your “Nineveh”?

And my prayer is that God will give you the strength, and boldness to go to your Nineveh and fulfill what God has asked of you in your life.

 

Blessings,
Pastor Jonathan Pannell

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