When Jesus set us free his sacrifice included every area of our lives. The freedom we share as children of God because of His sacrifice gives us a hope that is beyond any hope the world or any other religion can give us. So why are we afraid to go to Nineveh?
The Prophet Jonah, as depicted by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel
We’ve been delivered from strongholds, but do we really know what that means? We know that there is none righteous, no not one. We know that we have become the righteousness of Christ and that who the Lord sets free is free indeed. When we allow fear to block our path, we may be neglecting the things that God has called us to do.
Going to Nineveh, Jonah had to tell a whole town that they were steeped in sin and that God was going to destroy them if they didn’t change. He didn’t compromise with them and try to reason out their evil the way we are trying to compromise and reason with evil today, instead he ran. He ran away from his home of blessings and ended up spending three days in a stinking, fishy hotel. Jonah 1:17 Now the Lord had prepared and appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Finally, when Jonah did what God asked him to do, he was blessed, but he wasn’t happy and still argued with God that it wasn’t fair. He thought it wasn’t fair for sinners to have the same covering that he, as a ‘self’ righteous person had, until God showed Jonah that everything he had belonged to God and that Jonah had no right to question God’s judgement.
Yes, every sinner has a chance for redemption. But many are called and only a few are chosen. Why? Maybe because we refuse to go to Nineveh. We refuse to do what God has asked us to do. We try to compromise and reason with evil instead of pointing it out for what it is.
So how can we be assured of a house full of blessings instead of a stinky fish hotel?
Nineveh. The Mashki Gate. Reconstructed. One of the fifteen gateways of ancient Nineveh. The lower portions of the stone retaining wall are original. The gateway structure itself was originally of mudbrick. A few orthostats can be seen at the right of the passageway. Height of the vault is about 5 m. (Photo credit: Wikipedia
1. Give God due credit. God is omnipotent. Expect that in his omnipotence and loving nature he is also forgiving to everyone, not just you.
Micah 7:18 Who is a God like You, Who forgives iniquity and passes over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retains not His anger forever, because He delights in mercy and loving-kindness.
2. Submit to God with a humble heart as you would to a father you love and trust. God does not belong to us for our own private interpretation. We belong to Him.
Psalm 62:5 My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him.
3. Do what you are asked to do. When God asks us to do something he has a purpose we may not understand or notice at the time, but because God in his omnipotence sees and knows everything, he knows the outcome and that outcome is to bless.
John 6:29 Jesus replied, This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger].
4. Go to God whenever you slip and he will keep you from falling (or from being swallowed up).
Hebrews 12:7 You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. For what son is there whom his father does not [thus] train and correct and discipline?
5. Trust God. There’s nothing more to be said. If we can trust him we can humbly submit to him and know that our lives are in his loving, wise, intellectually superior, omnipotent and perfect hands.
Genesis 15:6 And he [Abram] believed in (trusted in, relied on, remained steadfast to) the Lord, and He counted it to him as righteousness (right standing with God).
Psalm 52:8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in and confidently rely on the loving-kindness and the mercy of God forever and ever.