Monday, October 27, 2014

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The Greatest (True!) Fish Story Ever Told...

The Prophet of God!
Do you ever wonder why the Lord brings certain Biblical truths or stories constantly to your mind? I've had to wonder why the Lord has allowed the story of Jonah to be constantly presented to me this year. 

My mom taught through the story in home-school for the children, our church put on a Jonah-themed VBS (in which I taught through the story!), we visited the Jonah performance at Sight and Sound Theaters, and my FBI instructor just finished teaching through the book in class. 

I've learned so much through the story! What may seem like a simple or even fantastical story about a wayward prophet, a man-swallowing fish, and a wicked city is actually a deep study. It contains so many powerful truths, perhaps made more powerful because Jonah is a literal and historical individual - not an allegorical one.

Did you know that Jonah is one of the most attacked books of the Old Testament? Liberals scoff at its truths. Perhaps this is because Jonah is a foreshadow of Christ's three-day-and-night stay in the tomb before His resurrection. Or, to some, perhaps it is because God clearly portrays His deep love for everyone. He gives every person, no matter how evil, a chance to repent and turn to Him.

Jonah also has some amazing teaching principles that are very applicable to us concerning the Great Commission. Borrowing an outline from my FBI instructor, it is clear that God has always commanded His chosen people to "go and tell".

"And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah....saying, Arise, go to Ninevah, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me."

"No mercy. For the glory of Ninevah!"
1. Arise - this refutes the lie of so-called church members who sit without soul winning.
2. Go - this is the essential of soul winning. 
3. Cry - this is a rebuke of mere life style evangelism without confrontational evangelism.
4. Against - this refutes the lie of a gospel without repentance as well as the Positive Thinking gospel.

One of my favorite scenes in Sight and Sound Theater's production was the hide-and-go-seek scene. Little children come across Jonah and beg him to play with them. And one child makes a profound statement - "You have to go find them, Jonah. Otherwise, they'll stay lost."

The principles of the Great Commission are found here in this short little book. The story of Jonah was a message to Israel just as much as it was to Ninevah - God's people were commanded to go and tell! But, additionally, so many more truths are found.

Man overboard...
Honestly, if God could use Jonah, He can use any of us! Thinking about Jonah, you have to realize what a horrible example he was to so many people. Even the sailors on the ship knew he was running from the Lord! But the Lord still used the situation to reach the hearts of the sailors. Jonah is proof that God can use anyone, anywhere for His purposes and glory.

Did you know that it appears that Jonah made praying to the Lord his last resort when in the belly of the great fish? He didn't pray during the storm, when he was flung from the ship, or even in the water. Scripture records Jonah saying "When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord." Yet another truth is revealed, reminding us to pray right away - not when God is our last resort.

A final thought on the story of Jonah is God's grace. The Ninevites were the terrorists of their day. Without going into the incredibly gory details of how vile and wicked they were, let's just say that the Ninevites made Hitler look like a choir boy. Yet, God loved them. He had mercy in His heart for them. And He used a wayward, angry, and embittered prophet (not your typical evangelist!) to bring His salvation to 600,000 of them - 120,000 of whom were very small children.


He set them free. 

As the song goes from Sight and Sound Theaters, they were finally free. By the hand of the Savior, their debt was redeemed. As far as the east is from the west, the grace of God made the difference in their lives. Whether they lived or died, the Ninevites knew they had to throw themselves on the mercy of the Lord - and they did.

The same God still offers His mercy to hurting people. His grace is still abundant. He still uses people like Jonah to proclaim His message...and He still teaches those proclaiming His truth about the power of forgiveness.

What has the Lord taught you from this story?

Photos credit of Google images. Copyright of Sight and Sound Theaters. I highly recommend Sight and Sound Theaters and any one of their productions. Great Commission outline property of John Yates and the Faith Bible Institute. 

I am a born-again Christian (Baptist by denomination). If you are uncertain of your eternal salvation and want to know more about the message of forgiveness, leave a comment or contact me via my website or FB. God's grace was not just for the Ninevites! It is for you too!
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3 comments:

  1. I loved this : "You have to go find them, Jonah. Otherwise, they'll stay lost."
    thanks, great thoughts to ponder today...

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  2. Loved this post. Thanks for sharing with us!

    ~Bekah

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  3. When God brings a story into our lives that often it is a sure sign He wants to show us something. I always feel blessed by things like that

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