I know this is a guys chat, but I have a confession to make.
I grew up playing a stack of sport - it was meant to keep me out of trouble.
I am a massive mummy’s boy. I love my mum.
The sport of choice for me was hockey and the position of choice was goalkeeper.
Mum is great - she kinda is just able to do a bit of everything all the time.
She would bust into the bed room when I was running late and endure a full moon from me just to make sure we got to school on time. She cooked. Cleaned. Everything.
Each and every week I would put the equipment and run around and get stuff hit at me. And all this running around meant a lot of sweat.
A lot of sweat meant a lot of smell. Well, apparently - I couldn’t really smell myself.
But when mum spoke, you listened.
This struck home just the other day when I was visiting. There were some kids outside in the street playing with rocks. Throwing them at bottles and stuff like that.
But mum could.
As we pulled up and were getting out one of the kids picked up a rock and Mum just said “Oh, I hope you are not planning on throwing rocks are you?”
The rock gets dropped. “Oh course no.”
But didn’t only want to stop them from throwing rocks about, she also made sure that the kids didn’t get hit. Her judgement was motivated by love. And her warning was clear as day. She didn’t need to say much at all, she just uttered that small phrase.
And that is a little like what says to us. It says that the judgement of God is good and loving always.
Look quickly at what happens. After the fish drama, Jonah, still stinking of fish, trudges the massive hike to get to Nineveh. It’s awesome that God gives him a second chance isn’t it. It’s just like praying to God today - he wants us to know that the second chance at eternity is on the table if you want to share in it. You just need to believe in Him.
And the Nineveities clearly believed in what Jonah said.
In what has to be one of the shortest and most effective sermons ever.
Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”
The clock is ticking and when it hits zero, the city is being wiped.
Now this great city probably had heaps of gods to worship, so they might just be covering their bases here. The two points to note is a) power of Gods word and the goodness of judgement.
Firstly, the word of God is so powerful here that even our coward Jonah, is used by God to proclaim His word powerfully. This short sermon told the people all they needed. The city was being overthrown. The storm is upon the city and this is their prompt to cry out to God for in 40 days the city will be discarded. Jonah doesn’t say much at all here and yet they all get up and heck, even the cattle are dressed in morning.
Do you see the power and the trust that we can have in God’s word. It’s not the man speaking, but the word that is powerful. it is not the man who judges, but God.
Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
For those who trust God are sent by God to proclaim to the lost. But there is no way that Jonah can take credit for what has happened here and no way that Jonah could of turned the whole city to God by himself.
Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules:
What it does mean that God will use fools like you and me to preach the good news about the Bible. And the best part is that it is not me making stuff up, nor do I need to sell the gospel - no, for those who believe that Jesus is Lord, he is in you and he will personally move within you to give a defence of the gospel.
Secondly, see the goodness of judgement. If we had a God in charge, which we do, we would want him in complete control. God issues the warning to the city and they turn to God so that they may live. The judgement was issued and then the grace given. And if this wasn’t here, imagine how chaotic it would be. Imagine if on the play ground there were no teachers - the anarchy. Imagine if on the streets there were no police. People would just do as they please. But we have a God that loves the world so much that he is going to stick to his work and judge by his standards. And it is only by his wisdom that mercy might also be offered.
This is what we are confronted with when we come to the Bible. The judgement is that we are deserving of death. The Gospel is that Jesus paid the price of death for you and me. Here the judgement of God is right and true. Nineveh deserved to be destroyed. But, because God chose to save the city, they were not. God has given us the same second chance as the Ninevities had been given. Is your response to God as drastic as theirs? Are you dressing you pets in sackcloth?
So, today when you hear “I hope you are not going to throw rocks” or words to that effect, see both the judgment warning and the love. Turn to God and live.