A Second Chance
April 26, 2005 • By Ed Wrather04.26.05
Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” - Jonah 3:1 NKJV.
We know the story of Jonah because most of us have heard it from the time we were little kids. God called Jonah to go Nineveh and preach to them; because if they did not change their ways God was going to destroy them. Jonah did not want any part of it. Instead of going to Nineveh, he went the other way on a ship to Tarshish. A storm came up, and Jonah convinced the sailors that he was the cause of the problem; and they threw him overboard. A great fish that God had prepared swallowed Jonah. Why did Jonah do that? Because Jonah preferred death, to going to that evil place of Nineveh and preaching God’s message.
To understand Jonah’s reasoning we must understand the Ninevites. The people of Nineveh were evil if ever there were any evil people. The Ninevites did bad things to people on purpose like skinning them alive. Jonah not only hated the people of Nineveh, but I think we can say that the prospect of going to Nineveh made Jonah shake in his sandals.
Thinking about being a missionary always conjured up for me images of Africa and places like Zimbabwe. Recently I actually had the joy of meeting a man who had been a missionary to Zimbabwe for many years. He had a different view of the place than I. He had enjoyed the years he and his family had spent there. Yes, there had been threats of danger at times, but God had protected them. Hmm…maybe Zimbabwe wouldn’t have been as bad as I thought. Actually, I’ve answered God’s call in my life to be a missionary and evangelist, but it has been in a different way than I ever dreamed. Who knew, but God, that the Internet was on its way?
I have found out in my life, and God’s Word (which is the only true source of authority) confirms that God’s call is without repentance, meaning that it is unchanging. Yes, He may have different things during different seasons of your life to do, but He does not give up on your doing all of them. God has a plan for your life, and He is sticking to it. Although, some do miss God's call because they never throughout their entire lives respond. I first heard God’s call on the day I was saved. Nine years or so later I heard His call more clearly and powerfully. It was more than ten years later that I answered that call. God just does not give up. We may give up on God, but He does not give up on us.
One of the very most encouraging verses in the entire Bible is Jonah 3:1, “Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.’” God gave Jonah a second chance. Jonah did go to Nineveh, and as a result, there occurred the greatest three day revival (Jonah 3:3) in all of history. The people of a city so large that it took three days to walk through it totally and completely turned to God in response to the one sentence message of Jonah, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown (Jonah 3:4b)!”
God is the God of the second chance but He is also the God of opportunities into infinity for us to turn to Him and serve Him. God’s mercy is greater than our sinful ways.
Has God been calling you? If you have said, “No,” in the past to God it is not too late to say, “Yes,” now to God’s call. Say, “Yes,” to His call and God will begin to bring it about.