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Jonah Week 8 - Chapter 3 Part II

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The Book of Jonah Week 8 – Chapter 3 Part II
Verse 6 – “The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.”
1. So here we’ve just seen Jonah who walked 1 days journey into the city and stopped and said “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.”
2. So like I have said, he presented a no bones barred approach and faced the city head on. He came to tell and to bring conviction.
3. Conviction, remember only comes from God. Always.
4. The king of Assyria at this time was either Adad-nirari (810 – 783 B.C.) or Assurdan III (772-755 B.C.)
5. The seat or rule of a sovereign denotes a level of presence or a level of authority.
6. A Monarch of hierarchy, the king was the highest ranking person in Nineveh.
7. So, the king was over all of the people that lived in Nineveh. We don’t have an exact number of the people that lived in Nineveh, but we do know that it was a huge city. A Great City. Great in terms of size, or vastness. Not in its merits of people that followed God.
8. So here we have this mighty king of a huge and vast city has done what?
9. He has lowered himself in response to the statement of Jonah, he has reduced himself in order to fall into repentance with what Jonah was presenting.
10. The Scripture says that “he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.”
11. So he knew how to humble himself.
12. What does it take for us to humble ourselves?
13. It takes a lot, we don’t like being humble and stooping down to any level. Its not in our comfort zone.
14. We like being proud, and standing firm on what we say, just because we refuse to admit when we are wrong.
15. The motivation to be humble requires divine intervention. Now there are instances where acts of humility can be disguised as true humility but in reality most of the time the acts are done in order to receive accolades or special treatment or special honor.
16. True humility only can come from God.
17. An act of complete submission to God and in response to that there was an outward reflection of an inward desire to change and to adapt to the words that Jonah had spoken.
18. What Jonah had said elicited a response that, from the king became a point of submission to what Jonah had said.
19. Jonah was a strange man in a foreign land to the Ninevites and the fact that he was able to walk into the city like he did, proclaim God’s truth like he did, is a huge testament to the God he served.
20. I've said it before that God does not need us, but He does desire us to follow Him
21. This king reduced himself into submission to the authority of Almighty God that Jonah brought to him. What an amazing truth that is presented here.
Verse 7 – And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh. “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water,”
1. What a powerful verse!
2. “By the decree of the king and his nobles”
3. Not only did the king reduce and fall into accordance with God’s command, but he and his nobles made a decree to demand that man, and the beast come to obedience in humility.
4. This is definitely indicating a complete response by demonstrating that even the beasts were to submit to God.
5. A call to fast a call to repent.
6. How amazing was the sight that we see here. The entire city being called to submit to the Creator. Right in front of Jonah.
7. God is so great that He always gets His way, regardless of us fighting Him. He is going to accomplish that which he desires to accomplish and sometimes we have to just get on board with what He is doing. If we aren’t “on board” it doesn’t matter anyways, he can bring total submission from our hearts. The heart is abundantly wicked. His conviction can change even the most stubborn man and turn that heart of stone into a heart of flesh.
8. Anybody in here know what a decree from a king was in those days?
9. A lot of times in old movies you might see a decree.
10. Any of you seen the old Disney animated version of Robin Hood? Prince John would issue these decrees of what he demanded of the people, well really it was more of a bounty to follow after Robin Hood. The kings men would after receiving the decree would go to the calligrapher and get him to write up the desire or executive order to put it into today's commonly used terms. He would write up this new rule or standard that was to be followed. He would make multiple copies. Enough to place them all over the town. On trees throughout town they would nail them up so that all of the people would fall into accordance with the demands of the king.
11. We don’t see this kind of thing as much anymore. But we see that this order to submit was so strong and so powerfully stated for the people to fall into accordance that it was made into a law or a command to follow.
12. The fact that the king and his nobles issued this statement is an amazing testament to the conviction that the King had received in his own heart.
13. It does not matter if you change every single thing that you do in your life.
14. If you completely follow the law in whole and do everything it says, you will not be in accordance and thus be granted forgiveness.
15. The heart has to be changed.
16. The people were called to fast, to not eat or drink.
17. Most people that fast today at least drink water or something.
18. Here, we see that they did not eat or drink.
19. This is a very difficult thing to do and to be obedient to. Have to have strong conviction in order for this to happen. But God changes hearts.
Verse 8 – “but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God, Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.”
1. So not only do we see that man here was being covered with sackcloth, even the beast was being called to obedience.
2. What a widely swept order of direction and repentance that not just man, but also beast was called out.
3. What is sackcloth? Or what was sackcloth; we don’t really see it now?
4. Sackcloth was as the word says, Sack-Cloth. It was the fabric that they may sack from.
5. Commonly believed to be like burlap.
6. A rough, coarse, ugly (although, Nakitta would beg to differ), itchy, scratchy fabric.
7. A fabric that made everyone look the same. So no one stuck out. No one looked special.
8. Everyone was to be in accordance with this command.
9. The people were commanded to call out to God and call out to him mightily.
10. Called to repent from their evil ways, called to let go of their nature and fall into obedience with what God had commanded them.
11. Are we called to repent from our evil ways? Absolutely, we are commanded to come to that point when we don’t do what we want, what our heart wants.
12. We need to do what God wants. What God desires.
13. Our heart needs to do what it can’t and that is to desire the things of God.
14. He has to bring that to our hearts. It’s not something that we can do.
15. But it sure can paint a beautiful picture of an Almighty God drawing us and conforming us into a people that desire His ways and seek to follow His direction.
16. One interesting thing here to note is the command “Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.”
17. Called to quit their violence. Stop committing sin, stop hurting others.
18. Stop, see what you are doing, and quit doing it. Simple idea right? But can be so extremely difficult to be obedient and do as we are told.
19. Violence was common in those days and this cease and desist order against it was a swift blow to the people to say hey, repent and change your actions to each other. Quit fighting; quit living your live according to your flesh.
20. How do we need to look at this and quit living our lives according to our flesh?
21. Our flesh is naturally so strong and divisive and continually seeks to drives us down and cause us to stray from God. We must be found firm, standing in the grace that has been given to us.
22. The Ninevites were commanded to let go of their violence. Don’t be led into the destruction that violence provides.
Verse 9 – “Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”
1. The Ninevites understood the weight of their sin and the burden that it had brought to them and they understood justice and the need for reconciliation.
2. We all need to understand reconciliation. Its vital to our Christian walk. What happens when we become offended or we offend others? We are creating wounds that are going to need to be bandaged.
3. Often times when we have an offense we simply sweep it under the rug so to speak. We need to ask forgiveness. We need to humble ourselves.
4. Hollywood tells us that love is accepting of someone else, which is partly true. But what comes with love? Forgiveness, and compassion for others.
5. That’s what we really need, compassion. We need to understand that we are no better than anyone else and we are all in this same world and we need to reconcile with our friends and our family.
6. Life is far too short to hold a grudge and to be mad and not show forgiveness.
7. How much forgiveness have we experienced?
8. Christ has forgiven us, our sin is so condemning that even if we only committed one sin in our entire lives, we still deserve to be in hell.
9. Forgive and forget.
10. Repent, understand that word, understand how strong it is and its not playing around.
11. Repent, your walking one way, and you need to turn around.
12. The Ninevites had to turn around. They were headed straight for destruction and demise.
13. Is your life spiraling in demise? Do you need help?
14. Go and talk to your friends, talk to me, lets open the scriptures and lets strive for our hearts to be mended to the will of our creator. May God find us being forgivers of those around us and may we be found as faithful, compassionate vessels that can be used for the furtherance of God’s kingdom.
15. So much of our Sanctification is based on repentance. Repent of selfishness, repent of jealousy, repent of distrust.
16. The Ninevites were scared of God, they knew He was God and that they had seared His conscience, they understood the implications of the words that Jonah had spoken to them and they knew they would need to be changed and aligned with the God, the creator. Not simply a god or a figure.
17. We need to find that haven of being in fellowship with God. Asking forgiveness when we sin. And showing forgiveness towards others.
Verse 10 – “When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it”
1. Once again, continuing in this vein of forgiveness. God saw how they repented, they turned from their sin.
2. When we turn from our sin it is such a beautiful thing to see and understand the mercies of the Lord and to be in that fellowship where we know and adore Christ, and we are able to humble ourselves.
3. I am no better than any of you, we are no better than anyone else out there in the world. We need to get this bit of information through our thick skulls and let it sink in.
4. The Ninevites made an about face and they turned from their evil ways.
5. A little story I heard a long time ago, “A man was trying to catch a monkey, but he was having no luck. He had put out bananas but had been completely unsuccessful at capturing this monkey. Well, after trying several things he came up with an idea. If he could drill two small holes through a coconut and then one larger hole a little bigger than the monkeys wrist. He would run a string through the two smaller holes and tie the coconut to something. Then he put a Jolly Rancher inside the coconut. The man then walked away from the coconut and then the monkey smelled that little jolly rancher and he wanted it! Well, the monkey crawled over to the coconut and instead of turning the coconut to allow the jolly rancher to fall out, he stuck his hand into the coconut and grabbed hold of the coconut. But guess what, once he had that candy in his hand, he couldn’t get the coconut out. And he refused to let go of the jolly rancher.
6. Sin is like that jolly rancher, we don’t understand how free we can be once we let go of our sin, so we hold onto it, we have a tight grip on it. We miss out on the things that God has for us when we become enslaved to our own desires and we do not want to let go of our nature.
7. Verse 10 says that God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do.
8. How awesome is our God? He is so forgiving and so compassionate, the things we should be.
9. He demonstrated His love for us by avenging His wrath against His own son so that we, as His church would not have to endure the cost for which our sin demands.
10. Jesus was a sinless man, who died carrying the weight of our sin. So that we might be partakers of grace.
11. May our hearts be found forgiving those around us, even when they do not forgive us.
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