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Flight JON01 - Part C

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July 5, 2023 6:00 am

Flight JON01 - Part C

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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July 5, 2023 6:00 am

When others experience God’s grace and mercy are you joyful, or jealous? Today Skip concludes the teaching from the book of Jonah and shows you how God’s prophet responded when God relented from judgment on his enemies.

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But he knows that God likes mercy.

It was merciful to him. And he knew it. He felt it. He experienced it. He knows that God probably would do it to them.

It's the people group he hates. So the prophet of God, the representative, is mad at God's mercy. God uses the generosity of friends like you Now let's go to Skip for today's message. We're in Jonah as we join him. My God, when my soul fainted within me, I remembered Yahweh.

My prayer went up to you in your holy temple. Those who regard worthless idols forsake their own mercy. You need to underline that verse if you're so inclined to doing so or mark it in your Bible. This becomes the lesson of the book. This is what Jonah learned. Those who regard worthless idols forsake their own mercy. Loosely translated, those who run from God tie their own noose and end up as whale puke.

That's a little P.S. on the lesson. Do you know what an idol is? Anything's an idol.

Anything that you let take the place of God as being supreme in your life is an idol. Jonah had an idol. His name was Jonah. Jonah wanted his will above God's will. Jonah worshiped Jonah.

It was all about Jonah. Those who regard worthless idols forsake their own mercy. Verse 9, but I will sacrifice to you with the voice of thanksgiving. I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord. What kind of a sacrifice do you make in a fish gut?

Here's what he's saying. If I ever get out, I give up. I sacrifice me the rest of my life.

If I ever get out, I give up. So the Lord spoke to the fish and the fish vomited Jonah onto dry land. Again, the fish complied when God spoke.

You see contrast all through the book. God spoke to Jonah. No way. God spoke to the fish.

Okay. So the whale worked, man. Whales work. That's a bumper sticker.

Whales work. That's what Jonah had on his chariot after that. True story, I read it in a newspaper. A man in Seattle decided to go to a camper, a motor home, and siphon gas out of it.

Don't you hate when that happens? And what he did know is the owner of the motor home happened to be in the motor home at the time. So he heard the noise. He ran outside to catch the thief. The thief was on the ground vomiting, puking. And he discovered what the problem was. The problem was instead of siphoning gas, putting it into the gas spout, the gas hole, he put it into the wrong hole in the motor home, the sewage tank. And so when the police came, the owner decided no need to press charges. The natural consequences are enough. So he didn't get charged.

No need. He learned his lesson. He learned his lesson after the whale.

He's done. Now comes the biggest miracle in the book. Everybody's so concerned about what's going on in the fish. We should be concerned about what's going on in Jonah. Because what went on in Jonah chapter 2 is what comes out of Jonah in chapter 3 in the term of obedience. Now we come to the greatest miracle in the book, a revival of a city, an ancient city of Nineveh, greater than the Great Reformation, greater than the Great Awakening. Even Billy Graham, whenever he would preach large-scale crusades, and the biggest one he ever preached in history was in South Korea, where at one sitting, he had over a million people sitting and standing in and around this arena. One million people. At best, Graham saw about a 5% yield, that is, of the crowd, 5% came and made decisions for Christ. A really great crusade is 10%.

Jonah broke the record 100%. Jesus also affirmed that. Chapter 3 verse 1, the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, those are gracious words.

In other words, dude, I'm giving you a second chance. Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you. I love the God of second chances, don't you? You know, Peter knew about that. Peter denied Jesus, and Jesus came to him after the resurrection and said, Peter, do you love me?

Feed my sheep. He commissioned him. He loved him.

He let him be used again. So Jonah arose, went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent, a complex of four cities that had been independent that had merged into one on the Tigris River.

It calls it an exceedingly great city. The walls of Nineveh were 100 feet tall. There were 15 gates on the walls of ingress and egress. There were watchtowers that jutted up, some of them 100 feet above the wall, these massive ziggurat towers. So some of them were 200 feet tall, massive, great, great city. The population of Nineveh, if we base it on the number given to us in chapter 4 of Jonah, verse 11, where we numbered 120,000 people living, 120,000 children living in the city, we can conservatively estimate that Nineveh had about 600,000 people.

Big, big town. Verse 4, Jonah began to enter the city on the first day's walk. So he's just walking through. Here come Jonah. Then he cried out and said, here's his message of love. Here's his gospel message. Here's his sweet words of comfort and consolation.

Yet 40 days and Nineveh will be overthrown. That's it. That's his whole sermon. He doesn't have three points and a poem. He didn't have an introduction, no stories to tell, just a sentence. That's easy.

That's an easy job, you think. Yet 40 days and Nineveh shall be overthrown. Remember chapter 1, verse 2, its wickedness has come up before me. I don't have the time, but it was a very, very wicked city known for piling up skulls, lips, limbs of its captives and letting them rot in the sun. It was just, they were very brutal. I won't get into it. I don't have the time.

I think enough is enough. So he began to enter the city and then so, verse 5, in a very understated fashion, So, you think the people of Nineveh looked at this nincompoop and said, go away. The people of Nineveh believed God.

This is the miracle. The people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. Then the word came to the king of Nineveh. The king of Nineveh was probably Shalmaneser III. He can be identified as the king from that time. Either that or a guy named Ashurnarari. I don't know which.

Have fun. Take your pick. Word of the Lord came to one of those two dudes, king of Nineveh. He rose from his throne, laid aside his robe, covered himself with burlap, sackcloth and satin ashes. Now, again, some of you are going, come on. Come on. You mean the whole metro Nineveh repented? How is that possible?

Let me just offer you a suggestion. And I have done in-depth studies on this. I refer those to you to give you more of an explanation, a scientific explanation. But Jesus did use the terminology, the sign of the prophet Jonah. In other words, Jonah himself was the sign. The sign of the prophet Jonah. It could be that Jonah walking into the city of Nineveh was such a dramatic sign to them.

Let me explain. In 1891, a guy by the name of James Bartley was aboard a ship. He was an unbeliever. He discounted the book of Jonah. He became a believer through the ordeal.

He became saved. He was on a whaling ship called the Star of the East. They were whaling off of the coast of the Falkland Islands. One of the tails of one of those whales they were chasing hit the boat, knocked men off, one man drowned, was killed. Bartley was missing, assumed dead. They caught a whale.

And if you know anything about whaling, how they would kill them and then they would haul them up on these huge whaling vessels and they would strip the creature for its oily flesh, used for oil, for lamps, etc., for a number of things. And as they opened up the whale's belly, they found James Bartley. They found him doubled up in a fetal position, in a coma, still alive. It took him two weeks to recover. They took him to the captain's cabin.

He was attended to by the captain's physician. The acid of the gastric juices of the creature bleached his face, his neck, and his hands, those that were exposed, like as white as wool, white as paper. In fact, it was so curled up, it had the look and feel of old parchment. The gastric juices had done that to his skin. And this was written up in the Princeton Theological Review, I think issue number 25, after it happened, as a documented piece of evidence.

So imagine a guy looking like that, right? Like recycled Michael Jackson, comes walking through Nineveh, parchment, you know, hey. And there is some evidence that they could have heard about this ordeal of what happened out at sea in Jonah before he came into the city. But again, don't have time to get into that.

You can check out other studies. Nonetheless, first hand, God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way, saw the fruit of repentance, and God relented from the disaster that he said he would bring upon them. He did not do it. Now, chapter four. We've seen the three sections, running from God, running to God, and running with God. Now we get to an interesting kind of an appendix, and that is a run-in with God. Verse four.

It's interesting that it begins with the word but instead of and. It says, but it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. Now, it just said that God relented and turned from the evil he said he was going to do, and he was going to destroy them. That was the message. It wasn't a happy message. You're going down.

You're all dying. They turn around, and you think that Jonah would walk away going, and it pleased Jonah very much that they repented, because he didn't like him anyway, and now they believe in his God. That's what a prophet would do. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became very angry.

Wow! Contrast the God who is slow to anger with the prophet who is quick to anger, the God who is pleased that they repent, and the prophet who is displeased that they repent. He is such a bigot. He is so prejudiced. He doesn't want God to show favor to them. He doesn't want God to not judge them. He wants God to wipe them out, but he knows that God likes mercy, who is merciful to him, and he knew it. He felt it.

He experienced it. He knows that God probably would do it to them. It's the people group he hates. So the prophet of God, the representative, is mad at God's mercy. God's merciful. He's mafioso.

Ah! You know, I've been told that the healthiest place, if you're looking for the healthiest place to live in the world, it's not Albuquerque. It's the South Pole. Because germs can't live there, right? Microbes don't have a chance. It's a hundred below zero.

That's the point. It's so cold, germs don't live there. There's really no dust and toxins. But people are like booking a flight to go to the South Pole for a vacation. It's not like building up a huge clientele, even as a summer home. There's not people living there.

Why? Because it's so stinking cold. It's clean, but it's cold. There are some people that are so antiseptic. They're so clean. They're so legalistic. They're so truth-oriented, but no grace. They're cold-hearted.

It's hard to be around them, hard to live with them. Enter Jonah. So he prayed. Okay, so he's mad, and so he prayed. He's praying again now, but he's mad. He prayed to the Lord, and he said, Oh, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore, now you want to know why he ran from God?

He tells you. I fled previously to Tarshish, for I know that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, abundant in loving kindness, one who relents from doing harm. Therefore, now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it's better for me to die than to live. If I'd have been there, I'd have said, Amen.

I agree with that. Kill them. If we're still wondering, though, how this guy could be such a bigot, maybe this will help you frame it a little bit. Imagine it's World War II. Every Jew in New York City hears about Adolf Hitler in the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Dachau and Birkenau and all those other ones. They hear about six million of their brethren being burned to death. And the word of the Lord comes to a New York Jewish businessman, Arise, go to Germany, and speak to Adolf Hitler. And if he repents, I'm going to forgive him. You would read, He went down to the docks at Manhattan, got aboard a ship, to flee to Hawaii from the presence of the Lord.

When we understand the brutality and the hatred toward the Jewish people at the time, it helps understand a little bit. But, verse 4, the Lord asked him a question. The Lord said, Is it right for you to be angry? There's going to be a few questions God is asking to stimulate Jonah's mind. In other words, here, I'm pleased, you're displeased.

Which one of us, Jonah, has the right perspective? You're mad that I blessed them. You know there's some people that get, they resent God blessing somebody else. Why isn't God blessing me? Somebody says, Hey, the Lord just blessed me this week. I got a brand new car. Oh, hallelujah.

Or you've been single and you've been trying to find a maid and one of your friends goes, I just got engaged. Hallelujah. The Bible says, Weep with those who weep and rejoice with those that rejoice.

Easy to weep with people who are weeping, hard to rejoice with those who rejoice. So Jonah went out of the city, sat on the east side of the city, there he made himself a shelter and sat under, in its shade, so pathetic, that he might see what would become of the city. He's thinking, maybe God is just going to torch him anyway. And the Lord God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah that it might be shaved for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant.

Oh, great, first time we ever hear of Jonah happy about anything, it's a stupid little plant. In chapter one, was he happy about his commission to go to Nineveh? No. When God sent him a fish to protect his life, was he happy about that? No. When he was recommissioned to go to Nineveh, was he happy about that? No. When the city repents, was he happy?

No. A stupid little plant comes up, probably a fast growing, it's called a castor plant with broad leaves, grows very, very rapidly. Jonah's happy because of a weed.

Okay, I just want you to understand that. That gets him happy, so God has a few more questions to help him understand his own bad heart. But as morning dawned the next day, God prepared a worm so it damaged the plant that it withered. And it happened when the sun rose, God prepared a vehement east wind, the sun beat on Jonah's head so he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself.

Gosh, this guy's dramatic. And he said, it's better for me to die than to live. Again, amen. Then God said to Jonah, is it right for you to be angry about the plant? And he said, it is right for me to be angry, even to death.

So pathetic. But the Lord said to him, you've had pity on a plant for which you have not labored nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who can't discern between their right hand and their left, that is children, and much livestock?

Notice the book ends hanging on a question mark. Jonah, you're more worried about a soulless plant and you're not concerned about souls, human souls in a city. You know, this is conflicted value system, right? Ain't much different than conflicted value systems now. People are animal rights, my pet, but killing babies in a womb. More concerned about the embryo of an eagle. Protect that little egg than protecting human life.

That is a warped value system. And Jonah displays that here. I guess the question to ask ourselves as we close is, is your own little plant and shelter more important to you than souls around you? Are we more concerned about personal comfort than eternal comfort?

And think of it this way, around you are thousands of conversations waiting to happen. You can engage with living souls who might hear the gospel. Well, we're done with the book. We finished the book of Jonah. Easy, easy to do, 48 verses.

Congratulations for doing it, coming with me on this trip. We took off from Tel Aviv, landed in Mosul. By the way, a couple years ago I had an opportunity to be in Iraq, speak at a church in Erbil where all of the displaced people from Nineveh, the plains of Nineveh, the city of Mosul, Christians had been displaced by ISIS and they came and gathered in the church on a Wednesday night.

It was packed. People were standing around the periphery and I spoke to them out of the book of Jonah. I just thought it was only fitting to sort of frame their plight, their circumstances, hopefully to bring comfort but also to challenge them that by the grace of God, God could even change the hearts of ISIS and that's what we should pray for, that God would change them and save them. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message today from the series, The Bible from 30,000 Feet. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Right now, we want to tell you about a resource that'll help you and others experience true spiritual freedom. Freedom, it's a powerful word with several layers of meaning. Benjamin Franklin said, the birth of America meant liberty if we can keep it but the freedom Jesus gives from sin is permanent if we receive it. There's a level of freedom that is better than political freedom, better than social freedom, better than any kind of freedom and that's a spiritual liberation. A freedom from sin. One day, Jesus stood up in Nazareth and clearly declared liberty for those in bondage. Are you enjoying the full rights of your freedom?

Do you know someone still suffering from addiction? You will want to order our freedom package which includes 10 full-length messages by Skip about your path to freedom with titles such as Can God Be Known? and Extreme Makeover Soul Edition as well as his Life Change Next Steps booklet. The freedom package is our thanks for your gift of $50 or more to support the broadcast ministry of Connect with Skip Heitzig. So request your freedom package today when you give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. And we're excited to send you more content from Pastor Skip and this ministry right to your mobile device. To join our new text messaging group, just text the word connect to 74759.

That's connect to 74759. Then be on the lookout for your first message, a video from Pastor Skip welcoming you to the group. Come back tomorrow as Skip begins a message from three minor prophets that will reassure you that God always has a plan. Do you ever wonder if your trials are worth all the pain? Or do you ever wonder is this hardship, this trial leading to something? Is there a purpose behind it? And of course the answer is yes, God has a plan. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-05 05:05:50 / 2023-07-05 05:15:01 / 9

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