God of The Second Chance #03
What About Nineveh?
Is Repentance For Everyone?
You ever wish you had a do over?
Ever missed a chance to obey God .. .missed it or miserably messed up and wish you had a 2nd chance?
Well, the Word of the Lord came to Jonah a SECOND TIME “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you”
Now, we are going to find out that Jonah obeyed God the second time, but the question I want us to consider this: What was it about Nineveh that was the root of Jonah’s disobedience?
The short answer:
Jonah didn’t think Nineveh worthy of the Gospel, worthy of repentance, worthy of forgiveness.
So the question then …
Were the People of Nineveh Worthy of the Gospel?*
* NO … they were NOT …
God said “Go to Nineveh” and Jonah RAN, because he didn’t believe they were worthy of the gospel.
What about Nineveh … God said /“their wickedness has come up to me” … another translation says “it stinks to high heaven”.
* What about Nineveh?
Across the Tigress River from the modern day city of Mosul in Northern Iraq are a couple of mounds that are all that is left of the Great City of Nineveh.
Nineveh was founded by Nimrod in Genesis 10:11 in very ancient history.
The city was an important city throughout thousands of years until its fall is recorded by Nahum in 612 BC.
The city had walls that were 100 feet high and contained 1500 watchtowers that were 200 feet high.
But it was not simply being a great city that caught God’s attention.
At Jonah’s time, the Assyrian Kingdom had shrunk to where only the city of Nineveh was prominent.
But it was their great wickedness that caused God to send Jonah to say “I have had enough”.
King Ashurbanipal was known to tear of the lips and hands of enemies.
King Tiglath-Pilesars took the skin off of his victims alive and covered the walls of their city with it, and piled up their skulls as a warning to their enemies.
They also burned enemies at the stake hundreds at a time.
They displayed their feeling of immunity from any justice and retaliation.
They believed they were immune from prosecution …
* …But God had Seen …
Were they worthy of the Gospel?
But God proclaimed their wickedness and thus the offer of forgiveness
*READ Jonah 3:1-10 *
Now … it should be noted that Nineveh turned to God
Nineveh believed and repented and God relented … BUT
That was only for a few generations
In 612 B.C. Nineveh was destroyed … never to rise again
1:3 /The Lord is slow to anger and great in power.
The Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished/
1:7 /He cares for those who trust him/
1:8 /But with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh/
1:14 /you will have no descendants to bear your name /
And then at the end of Nahum it says
3:19 /Nothing can heal your wound your injury is fatal.
Everyone who hears the news about you claps his hands at your fall, for who has not felt your endless cruelty?/
The systemic wickedness of Nineveh survived this awakening under Jonah’s ministry.
But for THIS time in the 8th Century B.C., Under Jonah’s preaching … Nineveh turned to God and I believe then that there will be Ninevites in Heaven.
Scripture says there will be people in Heaven from every Race, Tribe, Color, and Tongue … so many from Nineveh will be there too.
NO, Nineveh wasn’t worthy of the Gospel …
But there is another important truth today
If Nineveh Isn’t Worthy … Neither Are We*
* Nineveh was from a long line of wickedness
Genesis 6:5-6 - /The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.
6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain./
And so God destroyed the world and started over with Noah
But in the book of Job it says
Job 4:17-19 /Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker?
18 If God places no trust in his servants, if he charges his angels with error, 19how much more those who live in houses of clay whose foundations are in the dust, who are crushed more readily than a moth!/
Job 15:16 says /man is vile and corrupt and drinks up evil like water!/
* David knew it
Psalm 14:1-3 says /the fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God.’
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.
The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.
All have turned aside they have together become corrupt there is no one who does good, not even one/
Psalm 51:5 /Surely I was sinful at birth from the time my mother conceived me”/
* Solomon Knew
Proverbs 20:6 /many a man claims to have unfailing love but a faithful man … who can find?/
Ecclesiastes 7:20 /There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins/
7:29 /God made man upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes/
But we figured it out right?
* That was just the Old Testament, right?
Romans 3:9-12 /says what shall we conclude the?
Are we any better?
Not at all!
We have already made the charge that jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.
As it is written: ‘there is on one righteous, not even one; there is on one who understands no one who seeks God.
All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is on one who does good, not even one’/
* And has 2000 years changed us?
We lie, steal covet, murder, take the lives of 1000s of innocent babies every day, we abuse ourselves, abuse others innocent and otherwise and can do nothing to stop it
We could start listing our sins now and be here forever, I suppose
Folks … here is my point …
!! If Nineveh isn’t worthy of the Gospel then Neither Are we!
Is there is anyone that you think or have thought was not worthy of the Gospel?
Maybe you haven’t said that … but the call and opportunity was there to share and you didn’t share because you thought that they wouldn’t have it, couldn’t have it, or shouldn’t be able to respond.
* But remember the heart of God …
2 Peter 3:9 /The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.
He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Hebrews 3:13 /Encourage one another as long as it is called ‘Today’ so that no one will be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness
And what are we to encourage them?/
Hebrews 3:15 /Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts/
And the good news is that as long as we still have today …
Hebrews 4:1 says /“the promise of entering his rest still stands/
Because what we should see today is that we are NOT worthy of the Gospel and Nineveh wasn’t worthy of the Gospel
But God proclaimed it and Nineveh experienced the Grace and Mercy of God
So then …
If Nineveh Can Be Graced … Then So Can You, so can I*