Finally, Jonah obeyed God and went to Nineveh. The day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed.” The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow. When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.
Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.
Imagine if you were a Jewish refugee during the apex of the Third Reich. You’re appalled at the rumors about concentration camps and mass genocide. One day as you are praying for your people, God appears and commands you to go to Berlin, and preach to Hitler and God assures you, that if you go, the “Das Furher” will repent and turn to Him. Would you go? That’s basically the story of Jonah.
There’s a good chance Jonah’s family has been sent off into captivity by the Assyrians when they sacked the Northern Kingdom. So Jonah, unable to bear his assignment, boards a ship in the opposite direction of Nineveh. Soon after they debark, God sent a massive storm. The crew casts lots to determine whose God was angry. Finally, Jonah spills his guts, and courageously volunteers to jump into the sea to his death, but God has other plans…gulp!
Maybe the most difficult thing that God asks us to do is to bless our enemies and turn the other cheek. Why would He ask this from us? Maybe, because we also are sinners, and we cannot fairly judge. Ask God to show you the people with whom you have unresolved conflict. Ask God to bless them. Maybe, even make amends. As far as you’re concerned live at peace with everyone.
To learn more about Biblical fasting, check out our Fasting Guide.
If you aren’t currently a part of a home group, but would like to dive deeper into our study on Courage, join us on Tuesday nights from 6:30-8:30pm in the worship center for a large group study on the book of Nehemiah led by Pastor Mark.
In this seven week course, we will dig deeper into the heart of courage and how God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.
Free childcare is available.