She walks to the edge of a busy street. Her father frantically calls out, “Stop and come back!” The child responds, “Yes Daddy, in just a minute.” But seconds later the child goes one step too far. Disaster follows.
Delayed obedience is disobedience. God is relentlessly pursuing you with His grace and forgiveness. He is crying out in love to each of us, “Stop and come back!” Delaying your response can be disastrous.
Jonah ran away from God. He didn’t just delay obedience, he took off! He got on a ship going the other way. A great storm brought unprecedented fear to its salty sailors. After the sailors threw Jonah overboard, God sent a great fish to swallow him.
After soaking in the gastric juices of the fish’s belly three days, he finally obeyed God’s “Stop and come back.”
“Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, saying, ‘I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard by voice.’”
Jonah 2:1-2 ESV
Why did God pursue Jonah so relentlessly? Because God wanted Jonah to warn Nineveh, the largest city in the world in that day with 300,000 to 500,000 people, that judgment was coming in 40 days! It took three days to walk across Nineveh. Its circumference measured 43 miles. The wickedness of the city made it one of the darkest holes on the planet. Today it is Mosul, Iraq.
Through the prophet Jonah, God wanted the people of Nineveh to know His relentless pursuit. God wants you to know He is relentlessly pursuing you with his love and grace.
Is Jonah a true story? I believe it is. Jesus who predicted his death and resurrection and pulled it off believed the story of Jonah (Matthew 12). But even if you think Jonah is a parable, God has preserved for centuries this masterpiece story so you can know God’s relentless grace today.
How much does God love you? Just as much as he loved Nineveh’s people. It is amazing how far God will go! Judgment is just around the corner but His grace is available to you now. Please don’t delay obedience, “Stop and come back!”
“If you will confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Roman 10:9
Go to BalboaBaptist.Church. Please worship with us this Sunday at 9am for the sermon series “Jonah: God’s Relentless Grace.”