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Jonah and God's Mercy

Narrative Lectionary  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  15:54
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Jonah tries to run as far away from God's plan as possible. God doesn't give up on Jonah though. God also doesn't give up on Ninevah. God doesn't give up on us as well. God's mercy is for each one of us.

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Jonah tries to run away from God

The New Revised Standard Version Jonah Tries to Run Away from God

“Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.” 3 But Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid his fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD.

Nineveh

principal city of Assyria
so large it took three days to walk across it
residents were receptive to God's message

Tarshish

famous for its ships
which carried gold, silver, iron, tin, lead, ivory, apes and monkeys
the ships became symbols of wealth, power and pride

Why would Jonah not want to go?

"bad blood"
Assyrians descendant from Shem, Israelites descendant from Ham
they had their own god
a god of war, conquest and military strength

God doesn't give up

God didn't give up on Jonah

The New Revised Standard Version Conversion of Nineveh

3 The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time, saying, 2 “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.”

Why?
He's preached to heathen nations before
2 Kings 14:25 NRSV

He restored the border of Israel from Lebo-hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the LORD, the God of Israel, which he spoke by his servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher.

He wasn't always a reluctant prophet

God didn't give up on Nineveh

The New Revised Standard Version Conversion of Nineveh

10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.

Why?
They're descendant from Noah
They were open to the workings of God
The New Revised Standard Version Conversion of Nineveh

9 Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish.”

How is this true for us?

God calls us to things we don't want to do
get up this morning (that extra hour sleep was nice)
work in an industry that seems to be in decline
proclaim a message that many don't want to hear
God doesn't give up

How does this help us live simply?

Listen for God's voice
Don't get mad if things seem unfair

10 Then the LORD said, “You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labor and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night.

God is concerned for each of us

11 And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?”

We can live simple lives and let God work in us
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