Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Simple Message for Difficult Times

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

Last night I read through the book of Jonah again. There are so many lessons to be learned from the story, but the thing that captured my attention last night was the simple message that Jonah preached. In English, it was only 8 words [in Hebrew, 4 words]. The New King James Version records it like this, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” That’s his entire message. By the way, I’ve never preached an 8 word sermon in my entire ministry! 

And it was not a very positive message at that. He didn’t proffer wealth or even God’s love. His wasn’t a message of “God loves you and so do I,” or “God wants you to be rich,” or “Your best life now.” None of that. It was an 8 word message of impending judgment and nothing more. It was urgent and to the point. And what did the king of Nineveh and his people do? They repented!

Nineveh wasn’t won by a spectacular “OPERATION NINEVEH!” campaign. There wasn’t an advanced PR team to plaster Nineveh with posters or place ads on billboards. There was no social media hype — I know it’s hard to believe, but he didn’t start a FaceBook page or Tweet anything! There weren’t any “Nineveh for Jesus” T-Shirts printed. He didn’t train any counselors, rent a stadium, buy TV time, print follow-up materials, arrange press conferences, organize a choir, hire the latest and greatest singer, or raise 5 million shekels to pull it all off. 

He skipped all of that and went to Nineveh, looking half dead, and preached his 8 word, negative sermon. And Nineveh repented! Jesus did him 2 words better; He had a 6 word message, “Repent ye and believe the gospel.” [Mark 1:15 - King James Version]

We live in difficult days. Sometimes it’s really hard to know what to say. We’d be hard pressed to find anything better than to preach repentance. 

Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. Jonah 3:2,4,5 

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