Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | February 23, 2010

Steps Toward Nineveh

Reflections on Jonah 2:8-9

In the disquieting solitude of the inside of the fish, Jonah looked to God for deliverance. He declared that there is one God who is the only source of help and salvation (Jonah 2:9). Those who worship idols rather than God, said Jonah, forfeit the grace that could be theirs (Jonah 2:8). Idols are worthless and incapable of offering their misguided worshipers any assistance, as the Tarshish-bound sailors had discovered in the midst of the storm (Jonah 1:5-6). God alone is worthy of our adoration and devotion. He alone can save and deliver.

Over the years, I have visited temples around the world where I have observed people bowing before and appealing to idols for help. My heart is always saddened by these scenes of people trusting in unresponsive idols. Today, millions of people in our world look to idols of various kinds for help and salvation. These misguided worshipers offer their allegiance to gods that can neither hear their desperate cries nor respond to their acts of devotion. Unless someone tells them about the living God, they will never experience the transforming power of His love and grace.

Jonah’s brief and harrowing experience inside the fish had positive results. The stubborn prophet came to terms with the foolishness of trying to run away from God. Jonah also praised God for delivering him from a watery grave and pledged to serve God (Jonah 2:9). After spending “three days and three nights” (Jonah 1:17) inside the fish, Jonah, by the grace of God, found himself on dry land (Jonah 2:10). He was finally ready to do what God had asked Him to do. The once prodigal prophet then took his first steps toward Nineveh, a city in the opposite direction from Tarshish!

Like Jonah, we too must be willing to run with God on mission. God desires to accomplish His purposes through people like you and me. The task of sharing the gospel with our world and of addressing the practical needs of suffering humanity is too great for any one person. But, we must not underestimate what God can do through each of us when we commit ourselves to sacrificially serve Him in whatever way He directs. Perhaps you have wondered how God can possibly use you to serve Him. Why not take your first steps with God on mission and discover what He can accomplish through you. Your involvement can make a difference. Somewhere in the world today, someone is desperately waiting for you to obey God’s call to go to Nineveh.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you take your first steps toward Nineveh:

Turn Loose of anything that hinders you from going to the place where God is calling you.

Turn Back to God if you have previously run from His call.

Turn Down any excuses to evade your responsibility to share Christ’s love with the world.

Turn Away from selfish pursuits and indulgences. Consider sacrificially investing more of your resources in initiatives that address the needs of the least of these, the suffering, the oppressed, and those who need to hear the gospel.

Turn Around and look at the multitudes of people in our world. Consider the needs of those who have yet to hear the life-changing message of the gospel, who are victims of injustice, or who are neglected and overlooked.

Turn Up the volume on the evening news. Listen to reports from other parts of the world to learn about people groups, about the least of these, and about the abused and oppressed.

Turn Over a new leaf. Consider how God can use you to reach out and make a difference in the lives of others.

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