“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me” (Jonah 1:2)
Usually, when we hear a sermon of the prophet Jonah the primary focus is on his disobedience to God, running away, being thrown overboard, and being swallowed by the giant fish. Yes, he was disobedient, which is a sin against God. Still, our focus today is on his judgmental posture against unbelievers.
Acts of Disobedience: Jonah questioned whether God was telling him to do the right thing when instructed to go to the wicked city of Nineveh. He disobeyed God’s command by running to Tarsus. “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7).
Many believers have received a command from God to help the homeless, those in abject poverty, feed hungry parents and their children, to comfort widows and widowers. We are told to “Go!” Yet, we discriminate against the people who desperately need to know that Jesus loves them.
What is the root cause of our disdain for those who need our help?
“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets'” (Matthew 22:38-40).
We do not have Christ’s sacrificial love for us or those suffering. Therefore, we cannot love the countless men, women, and children in despair.
Jonah delivers God’s message of pending destruction: “And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!'” (Jonah 3:4).
The people repent of their sins: “So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them” (Jonah 3:5).
God’s grace and mercy: “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it” (Jonah 3:10).
Jonah’s true feelings are exposed: “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry” (Jonah 4:1).
We cannot pass judgment on the prophet Jonah who wanted God to destroy the people of Ninevah. When we fail to meet the needs of others and fail to witness Jesus’ love and salvation, we covertly wish for their death and destruction.
The words are harsh that reveal the truth. Yet, Jeremiah says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
If we have amassed large bank accounts or refuse to volunteer our leisure time to help in shelters, food banks, soup kitchens, or elderly neighbors, pass out comfort bags to those living on the streets. Then we are disobedient to God.
The Great Commission: “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.'” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Our duty to God and humanity: “Pure and unblemished religion [as it is expressed in outward acts] in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit and look after the fatherless and the widows in their distress and to keep oneself uncontaminated by the [secular] world” (James 1:27 Amplified Bible).
Many unbelievers assist the countless people in need. Yet, they will also be lost if they have not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Discrimination against Jesus prevailed when He was on the earth, and it has risen in these last days of earth’s history.
Obedience and servitude are fruits of love for God. Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal your spiritual assignment in helping others. But remember, we must possess a heart filled with overwhelming and unconditional love as Jesus had for God, His Father.
Prayer: God, we have lost our sight of You. We pray for the forgiveness of a selfish, discriminating, and uncaring heart. Please open our eyes and reveal our assignment in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and helping those in need. We ask this prayer in the Worthy name of Jesus. Amen.