December 6, 2006 • By Ed Wrather
Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city—a visit required three days. On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned." The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh: "By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish." When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened. - Jonah 3:3-10.
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. - 2 Peter 3:9.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. - Ephesians 2:8-10.
David Rodgers is in so much trouble that it appears to be hopeless for him. He was driving a truck that led a float in a Christmas parade in Anderson, South Carolina. The truck was filled with children and adults, but that did not stop Rodgers from passing another float and running a red light. Witnesses called 911, and police officers chased Rodgers for three miles before he finally stopped. Then, he attempted to attack an officer. An open container of alcohol was found in the vehicle. As a result of all of this, Rodgers was charged with more than 36 charges, which included Driving Under the Influence, assaulting an officer, and 18 counts of kidnapping. A child of Rodgers was riding in the parade float for the "Steppin’ Out Dance Studio."
At least, no one was killed or seriously injured, however, the 42-year-old Rodgers could be looking at many years in prison. How does David Rodgers or anyone, ever recover from the disaster that his antics created? The only way to recover is by turning your life and the entire situation over to God. He can cause such hopeless situations to be redeemed.
The reluctant evangelist/prophet Jonah finally went to Nineveh and with an one-sentence sermon, the power of God fell upon them and they repented. These were wicked people who skinned their enemies alive and left them hanging outside of the cities. They would ransack and destroy all that they could. Jonah hated them, but God still loved them. He loved the Ninevites enough to send Jonah to warn them. The Ninevites believed Jonah, believed God, and repented; turning from their sins. They were under a death sentence, and their destruction was rapidly approaching, but all changed when they put their trust in God.
Those without Christ Jesus as their Savior today, are also under a death sentence, an eternal death sentence. However, God loves us too. He loved us enough to send not a prophet, but His own son, Jesus; to warn us and to die for us. Jesus had the same one-sentence message from God, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:17)."
Only God can clean up and redeem a hopeless mess like the one that David Rodgers has made of his life. But to some extent, all of our lives are hopeless messes (Romans 3:23), which only Jesus can redeem. Would you turn from your sins (repent), and receive the most wondrous gift of all, which is eternal life (Ephesians 2:8; Romans 6:23b)? Only then, can God begin to clean up the hopeless mess that we have made of our lives.