Pursuing Those Who Need to Hear     Jonah 3:1-5, 10; 4:1-11(HCSB)     Feb. 24, 2013

Introduction

       Do we need to pursue those who have never heard? If not; what is the great commission about?

 

1.   Pursuing Those Who Need to Hear . . Includes Some with An Urgent Need. 3:1-4

       A.   An Urgent Need for Which God Is . . Persistent To Meet. 3:1-2

       1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:

       2 “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach the message that I tell you.”

 

       B.   An Urgent Need for Which Jonah Finally . . Proclaims God’s Word. 3:3-4

3 So Jonah got up and went to Nineveh according to the LORD’s command. Now Nineveh was an

       extremely large city, a three-day walk.

       4 Jonah set out on the first day of his walk in the city and proclaimed, “In 40 days Nineveh will be

       demolished!”


       Yes, some have an urgent need! Some needs are urgent because a person’s age or health situation. God knew Nineveh’s need was great and urgent because of the enormity of their sinful ways. He persisted in His actions to meet their needs. Why did God persist in using Jonah? He could have used someone else but He chose to use Jonah. Can we say Jonah was the best man for the job? What about you and me are there situations where God could best use us? God designed it so someone would share, or proclaim, His message.

The people believed the message of Jonah. I think he preached with a urgence about his message. How did he look after spending 3 days and nights inside a whale? The cosmetic affect may have given him an urgent look.

 

2.   Pursuing Those Who Need to Hear . . Involves a Great Opportunity. 3:5, 10

       A.   A Great Opportunity to Which the People . . Responded. 3:5

       5 The men of Nineveh believed in God. They proclaimed a fast and dressed in sackcloth—from the

       greatest of them to the least.

 

       B.   A Great Opportunity to Which God . . Relented from His Announced Judgement. 3:10

10 Then God saw their actions—that they had turned from their evil ways—so God relented from the

       disaster He had threatened to do to them. And He did not do it.


       The people responded to the message of Jonah. Even the king placed sackcloth around himself and sat in ashes. What a revival! This may have been the greatest such revival ever. If America had a similar revival

the President would have to repent and place himself in an act of repentance as well as the Senate and House of Representatives. All of us would give forth actions that demonstrated our repentance. The actions of Nineveh were so great that God relented of His planned disaster and did not do them. Great things happened. Many people of biblical knowledge claim America needs revival.

 

3.   Pursuing Those Who Need to Hear . . Isn’t Just About Us. 4:1-4

       A.   It Is Not Just About Us, It Involves the . . Pursuit of God. 4:1-2

       1 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became furious.

       2 He prayed to the LORD: “Please, LORD, isn’t this what I said while I was still in my own country?

       That’s why I fled toward Tarshish in the first place. I knew that You are a merciful and compassionate God,

        slow to become angry, rich in faithful love, and One who relents from sending disaster.

 

       B.   It Is Not Just About Us, It Involves the . . Plan of God. 4:3-4

3 And now, LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

       4 The LORD asked, “Is it right for you to be angry?”


       Jonah reacted in a manner that we can call what he did, ”a personal pity party.” It is very unusual for a minister to react this way. If God blesses what you do in such a mighty manner it would be normal to rejoice.

The action of God was one of relentence and it would be proper for Jonah to respond similarly . God pursued

Nineveh and used Jonah. How could Jonah be used is such a way and react like he did? The bottom line says God can do what He wants to do regardless of the preacher. Sometimes God blesses in spite of the preacher.

Jonah surely learned a lesson from this action.


 

4.   Pursuing Those Who Need to Hear . . Inquires: Do We Care As God Cares? 4:5-11

       A.   Do We Care As God Cares? The . . Illustration of His Love. 4:5-7

5 Jonah left the city and sat down east of it. He made himself a shelter there and sat in its shade to see

       what would happen to the city.

       6 Then the LORD God appointed a plant, and it grew up to provide shade over Jonah’s head to ease his

       discomfort. Jonah was greatly pleased with the plant.

       7 When dawn came the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, and it withered.

 

       B.   Do We Care As God Cares? The . . Interpretation of His Love. 4:8-11

8 As the sun was rising, God appointed a scorching east wind. The sun beat down so much on Jonah’s head

       that he almost fainted, and he wanted to die. He said, “It’s better for me to die than to live.”

       9 Then God asked Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “Yes,?” he replied. “It is right.

       I’m angry enough to die!”

       10 So the LORD said, “You cared about the plant, which you did not labor over and did not grow. It

       appeared in a night and perished in a night.

       11 Should I not care about the great city of Nineveh, which has more than 120,000 people who cannot

       distinguish between their right and their left, as well as many animals?”


       God’s love for Nineveh is illustrated in His words to Jonah and His action to make shade for Jonah.

       Jonah showed concern for a plant that died but little or none for the people of Nineveh. God asked

       Jonah if he should care for a city with 120,000 people and many animals. What a question to need to ask a

       prophet. All of us need to confirm in our heart that God is Pursuing Those Who Need to Hear and may use

       us. Amen? Amen!