This morning, we are back in Jonah where the third chapter shows Jonah’s second opportunity to give the Ninevites their first opportunity. Think about the times you were given a second opportunity at something. Whether it was a restoration of a relationship or getting your job back after you were laid off. Over Christmas, I watched “A Christmas Carol.” My favorite is the 1984 version with George C. Scott. The reason we love this is because Scrooge’s reclamation gives us all hope of second opportunities.
Jonah is both a hopeful and cautionary book. Chapters 1 and 2 show how God is sovereign over all things. Jonah realizes that running from God (a seemingly good idea at the time, he believed) was futile. Obedience was the only option. Yet, Jonah’s heart—that’s the question. Outward obedience looks so good—we even celebrate it. But we must hear the lesson God told Samuel: “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
Yes, Jonah’s flesh was weak. As we read Jonah 4, you see that his heart was not up to the mark at all. Even preachers need preaching to! Yet, God strengthened Jonah, for that’s where our strength comes from.