CALL TO OBEDIENCE #276
Reimar A.C. Schultze
"Jonah Yet Speaketh"
By Pastor Reimar Schultze
I would like to share with you from the remarkable book of Jonah. Before I get into the details of this message, let me give you my general observation concerning God’s message through Jonah.
Through this book, we learn that God has more trouble in getting his people to obey than in getting the world to be saved. God’s biggest heartache is not the world, it is not
“Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me” (Jonah 1:12).
Notice, first, that God is moved and touched and driven to righteous indignation when wickedness reaches a certain level. We see this first in the days of Noah. The wickedness of the world became so greatthe idolatry, the adultery, the fornication, the evil imaginationsthat God decided and decreed to destroy all of mankind except for the righteous man, Noah, and his family.
The second time that ungodliness reached an unbearable level for God was when the wickedness of
In the book of Jonah, we have the third case in the Bible where the wickedness of a particular city had reached such a level that God could not allow it to continue. However, observe that in all three instances cited, God made an effort at redemption before he would pour out his holy wrath.
In the case of Noah, God anointed this ship builder to preach for 120 years to save the world from the flood. In the case of
This is God’s dilemma: his holiness demands retribution, his love cries for mercy. This all happens in the heart of God and, metaphorically speaking, it rips the heart of God apart. And your heart will be as the heart of God as you follow Jesus.
So then, rather than bringing destruction upon the city of
Therefore, in the condition of a torn heart, God finds himself a man. He finds himself a prophet. He finds himself one of his chosen men, one of his called-out, ordained men of
Observe that in Jonah, we have a man who apparently, in the past, was willing to do everything that God told him to do. Otherwise, he would not have been called of God to be a prophet. Jonah had a record of obedience, of hearing and heeding. He was the kind of man who was willing to do everything that God told him to doup to now. But with God’s call for him to preach repentance to the people of
You are a servant of Jesus, a called one. You are a priest and a king in his glorious kingdom. Hallelujah! You have a record of obedience. But has God ever brought you to a brick wall, wanting you to break it down, but you absolutely refused? Have you ever told a friend or said to yourself: I am willing to do whatever God says except for this one thing? For example:
I cannot and will never forgive my father who abused me... I shall never sell my dream home and move away from it and all of my grandchildren to be part of some little fellowship church a thousand miles away... I shall never go into the ministry or the mission field... I shall never be part of a prayer meeting or usher or teach a Sunday school class or be a youth counselor... I shall never give up...
Well, think what it is that you love mostnext to Jesusthat gives you the most pleasure? Are you willing to give it up? Indeed, if you are not willing to forsake it, it is proof that this one thing competes with your love to Jesus, and any further advance in your spiritual life will be frozen.
I firmly believe that God is calling his true servants from one
Oh, what a time God had getting Jonah to
Consider what stood on the other side of this brick wall: Go to
What is there on the other side of the cross that Jesus is asking you to take up? Can it be told? Is it significant? Is it temporal or eternal? Go thou to
I am talking today to Jonahs, to people with a record of obedience and love for Jesus, who are facing a new call from heaven and, perhaps for the first time, they look for a ship that takes them to Tarshish rather than Nineveh.
Jonah’s first mistake was to buy a ticket to Tarshish. The Bible says that “Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD” (Jonah 1:3).
The moment we say “no” to God in any one area, we are in spiritual darkness, all the light we had before suddenly goes out. Don’t ever, ever say “no” to God. The moment you do, you become one of the greatest fools on earth. Jonah rose up to flee from the Lord. The day before God called him, he knew that he could not flee from God. But now he did!
God said, “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee” (Ps. 139:812).
Jonah was a prophet; he knew the Psalms. He knew Goduntil now. But the moment he refused to go to
Now, Jonah thought that he could flee from God’s call and presence, that he could outrun God! He thought that if he left
But as Jonah got into a ship for Tarshish, God sent a mighty tempest so that the ship was likely to be broken apart. When we don’t obey God, when we don’t go to our Ninevehs, we immediately become so blind that we cannot see that our disobedience puts dozens, hundreds, or thousands of people in jeopardy. The tempest brought distress, fear, and loss to all the sailors on board so that they began to pray to their god. This left only one man who was not prayingthe prophet of God.
When we refuse to go to
Whenever we don’t obey God, we get into Pharisaical darkness where we become totally unaware what hurt, what agony, what distress, what disappointment we bring upon the church universal and to the heart of Jesus.
Can you see that, more often than not, saving the lost, even the most wicked people in the world, as the Ninevites were, is a much easier task for God than getting his own precious people to take up the cross and to keep taking it up?
Oh, my friend, behold the love and longsuffering of God for all people. Suddenly, God not only had wickedness and rebellion and spiritual darkness in
So, who is better? The men and women of God who refuse to go to
God had to send a storm.
God had to prepare a great fish.
God had to have that fish swallow a servant of God.
God had to bleach him and nearly drown him for three days before he could convince him to go to
Hallelujah! The Ninevites repented at the end of the first short sermon and became new creatures before God. But sad, sad, sadJonah goes down in history as a man who did not truly repent, and his diary closes with these terrifying words, “I do well to be angry, even unto death” (Jonah 4:9).
So, my friend, our greatest problem is not
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14).