Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | February 15, 2010

Concern for All People

Reflections on Jonah 1:1-2

The Old Testament book of Jonah begins with a divine call. God spoke to a man named Jonah, a prophet who lived in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of King Jeroboam II (see 2 Kings 14:23-29). The northern kingdom of Israel was strong and prosperous during Jeroboam’s reign in the 8th century B.C. Jeroboam successfully expanded the borders of Israel in accordance with a prophecy of Jonah (see 2 Kings 14:25). Jonah was likely a well-respected prophet in Israel since what he had prophesied came to pass.

God commanded Jonah to “go to the great city of Nineveh,” a large Assyrian city (Jonah 3:3) with an estimated population of over six hundred thousand. The Assyrians, a people known for their cruelty (see Nahum 3:19), were enemies of the Israelites. God instructed Jonah to “preach against” the city of Nineveh. Jonah was to inform the Ninevites that their “wickedness” had come up before God (Jonah 1:2). God wanted Jonah to warn the Ninevites of impending judgment (Jonah 3:4).

God’s command to Jonah indicates His concern for all people — not just for the covenant people Israel. His love transcends all geographical and ethnic boundaries. God’s message of salvation is for all people everywhere, no matter who they are or where they are. Today, 97% of the world’s unreached people groups live in the 10/40 Window — a rectangular shaped region that stretches from North Africa to Asia. The 2,100+ ethnic and linguistic groups that live in this region are among the most isolated and hardest to reach in the world. Most of these people are kept in darkness by hostile cultures, governments, and religions. Most have never met a Christian, seen a Bible, or entered a church. Just as God cared about the welfare of the people of Nineveh, He cares about unreached peoples today.

God continues to call believers today to take His message to the millions of unreached people in our world. In years past, missions was something we left to career missionaries. The average person in the pew thought little about personally venturing to other countries to participate in missions. However, God calls all believers to take responsibility for sharing the gospel with all the people of the world. Today, many short-term and long-term mission opportunities are available for Christians to impact the world for Jesus Christ.

Just as God commanded Jonah to “Go” (Jonah 1:1), He commands us to “Go” (see Matt. 28:19-20). While leading a volunteer team to Mongolia years ago, one young woman said, “In heaven, many people will thank you, and I will be among them.” Her words reminded our team of why we had traveled so far. On the other end of God’s command to go we found people longing and searching for meaning in life. Unless believers today hear and heed God’s call to be involved, millions of people — in the 10/40 Window and in your neighborhood — will never hear and respond to the good news of Jesus Christ (see Rom. 10:14-15). So, share God’s concern for all people. Get involved in praying, giving, and going beyond!


Responses

  1. Omar-

    Thanks for the encouraging to evangelisms, with more responsibilities. Thanks for the bible references. as He was concerned for Nineveh, he is concerned for the people here those who do not have an opportunity to hear about Him. I must go more faster to those people to share Jesus.

    Mortuza
    Bangladesh


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