Pastor Marc Likins
1. Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
2. Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
In 930 BC, the 12 tribes of Israel were divided into two separate kingdoms, which were ruled by different kings. The southern kingdom, Judah, was ruled by both good and bad kings. The northern kingdom, Israel, was ruled by only evil kings. It is the northern kingdom that is the primary focus of the book of Jonah. And more specifically on a man named Jonah.
Jonah and the northern kingdom had lived under the control of Assyria, whose capital was Ninevah, for quite some time. Assyria was the bitter enemy of Israel and had been collecting tribute from Israel for four generations. The Assyrians were known for their cruelty and aggression with Ninevah being the guiltiest of all.
Jonah did not possess the qualities you think of when you hear the phrase, “man of God.” At times he was nasty, selfish, proud, and even rebellious. Although his name means dove, he acted more like a crow! He had no desire to minister to the people of Ninevah. There was no compassion, only large disdain. The idea of trying to reach these people for the Lord was repugnant to Jonah.
Thankfully, the Lord chose to use this man despite his flaws. What an encouragement to us all! The Lord could have used angels to evangelize Ninevah; instead, He chose a man with many faults and used him in a mighty way.
Jonah wasn’t fixed by the end of the book, either. He was still a knucklehead! He had huge issues with keeping his temperament in check, but so did many others the Lord used for His glory! Peter was a hothead, Jacob manipulated, and Moses was meek. The point is that the Lord doesn’t need you to be perfect or to be a world-renowned pastor. He needs you to be available and willing to be used by Him, for His purpose and glory. Mess ups, flaws, imperfections, sin, and ALL.
Let us learn from Jonah and pray the Lord moves us to become burdened for the lost, have compassion on those we are tempted to abhor, and move us to take action. Get up, go, and share the gospel of Christ! The heart of God hasn’t changed; may our hearts become like His.