Does ‘Resist the Devil, and He Will Flee’ Still Apply Today?

Aaron Berry
Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer

Does ‘Resist the Devil, and He Will Flee’ Still Apply Today?

The Christian life is a battle. Spiritual warfare is real; angels are real; Satan is real. As the sworn enemy of our Savior, Satan’s greatest desire is to turn people away from Christ through his lies and deceit. For a Christian to function as if this is not a reality is a recipe for spiritual disaster.

Although the Devil cannot snatch believers away from Christ (1 John 5:18), he is still hard at work to cause division among believers, render them ineffective in their testimony, and damage their relationship with God. Because of this reality, Christians are called to “resist the Devil.” We are to stand firm and oppose the adversary of God’s people.

What Bible Verse Encourages Us to ‘Resist the Devil, and He Will Flee’?

The command to resist the Devil is found in James 4:7, ”Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” To fully understand this command, it needs to be considered within the larger context of James 4.

In this section (James 4:1-12), James appears to be confronting some problems his readers are experiencing in the church. He references divisions and quarrels among them, stating that the true source of those quarrels was the sinful desires and passions raging within them (James 4:1).

Then he gives them a startling rebuke: “You adulterous people” (James 4:4). These lust-driven quarrels were a type of spiritual adultery as the people were choosing friendship with the world over friendship with God (James 4:4).

They were “cheating” on the One who had redeemed and rescued them from their sin.

What Is the Context of James 4:7?

This is the context in which James commands them to “resist the devil.” Although it was ultimately their own sin that was the problem, Satan was capitalizing on the people’s spiritual adultery to promote division–between Christians and between God and his people.

This is how Satan works. The devil is not responsible for our own sinful choices, but if we “give place to the devil” (Eph 4:27) by following our own passions, then we shouldn’t be surprised when we see him wreak havoc in our churches.

Thankfully, James provides a solution to this struggling church, and resisting the devil is a step in the journey from sin back to our loving Father. If we are to know what resisting the devil looks like, we need to consider the commands immediately before and after James 4:7.

After James’s pointed rebuke, he lovingly reminds them that grace is available to those who humble themselves (James 4:6). Therefore, right before he tells them to “resist the devil,” he tells them to “submit yourselves therefore to God.”

These commands are two sides of the same coin.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages

Submitting to God and Resisting the Devil Go Hand in Hand

As one commentator puts it, “Submission to God is itself an act of resistance to the devil…As people align their lives with God, the result becomes a growing resistance to the temptations of the devil and he loses any foothold and must flee.” [1]

To think that we can resist Satan without humbly submitting our lives to God is the height of arrogance.

Submitting to God means elevating his Word above our own desires,   yielding ourselves to God’s revealed will in the Scriptures, and desperately calling to him in prayer to ask for “grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

There is no better illustration of what this looks like than the example of Jesus himself. At the beginning of his earthly ministry, he had to resist the devil in the wilderness (Matt. 4Luke 4). Even though Jesus was God in flesh, he resisted Satan by submitting to the will of the Father and quoting Scripture.

For us to think that we can resist the devil any other way is foolish!

After his command to resist the devil, James commands his readers to “draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” This command is also indivisibly connected to the command to resist the devil. It shows that the ultimate goal is a restored relationship with God.

We resist Satan, not to make our lives easier, but to restore our walk with Jesus. Just as submission to God is an act of resistance to the devil, so is a zealous pursuit of God. Satan cannot dwell in the presence of God. So the one who desperately runs the throne of grace can rest assured that the devil cannot follow him there.

How Does ‘Resistance’ Cause the Devil to Flee?

James includes a comforting assurance to this important command: If we resist the devil, he will flee from us. He cannot overpower a child of God who is humbly submitting to and actively pursuing Jesus. Jesus died on the cross so that he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery (Heb 2:14-15). We have the ability to resist the devil only because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross of Calvary.

There are a couple of other Scripture passages in which we learn of our ability to resist the devil. In 1 Peter 5:8, Satan is described as a “roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” In 1 Peter 5:9, we are commanded to “resist him, firm in your faith.” It’s interesting to note that, just like James, Peter states that humble submission to God is a necessary prerequisite for resisting the devil (1 Peter 5:6).

Another well-known passage is Ephesians 6:10-20, where we read of the Armor of God. We are to put on this armor so that we “may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). Just as in every other passage that we have considered, the ability to resist the devil is not found in ourselves, but is only found in Christ. It is his strength (Ephesians 6:10) and his armor (Ephesians 6:11) that guards us against the devil’s fiery darts (Ephesians 6:16).

The source of our strength should not cause us to stand up and arrogantly rebuke the devil (not even Michael the archangel did that—see Jude 1:9), but to bow our heads in humble gratitude in thanks to our gracious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Wang Xi

What Can Christians Do To Resist the Devil?

It’s important for believers to remember that our ability to resist the devil should not be viewed in isolation. There are things that must happen in our hearts before, during, and after we resist. Here are some practical ways that we can resist the devil:

Take stock of your own sinful desires. Do you have deeply-held desires and cravings that produce relational tension and conflict when they aren’t fulfilled? Realize that the devil has you right where he wants you. Repent of those sinful desires and ask God for the grace to love him more than yourself. 

Compare God’s Word to your own lifestyle. Satan is the Father of lies. So often we fall prey to those lies without knowing it (“God just wants me to be happy,” “I deserve better than this,” “Money will solve all my problems,” “I can handle this on my own”). We need a regular dose of God’s Truth in our lives so that we can clearly discern truth from error. Pick up your Bible and see if you’re living it or ignoring it.

Don’t be casual in your Christianity. If Satan is a master deceiver, then his tactics won’t always be obvious and his attacks won’t always be overt. Don’t think that you can cruise through life, picking and choosing when to follow God, and think that you can escape Satan’s attacks. Put on the Armor of God before Satan’s attacks; don’t wait until you’re in the thick of battle.

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Jon Tyson

A Prayer of Encouragement to Resist the Devil So He Will Flee:

Lord Jesus, I thank you that you have already won the victory. Because of your death on the Cross, Satan’s fate has been sealed. Thank you for equipping and enabling me to resist the devil’s attacks. Thank you for your Word that can expose my own sinful desires and refute the lies of the Devil. Help me to stand firm, rooted in the faith, shielded by your armor, and dependent on your grace. Help me to resist the devil today. In the name of the one who crushed the head of the serpent, Amen. 

Take courage Christian! You can resist the devil because Christ already won the victory. Don’t allow your own sin to give Satan a foothold in your life. Stay humbly submitted to God and actively pursue him every day.

https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/does-resist-the-devil-and-he-will-flee-still-apply-today.html


Sin’s Corruption of Our Character

Sin’s Corruption of Our Character

by John MacArthur Friday, August 7, 2020

The problem of sin isn’t fundamentally external. It’s most visible in our actions, but our actions are merely the manifestation of a corruption that comes from within.

If we were using a medical metaphor, we might say Romans 3:10–12 includes a full examination of the sinner, beginning with a kind of spiritual MRI scan. This passage reveals how corruption pervades the inner being—the very heart and soul of man. In the words of Jeremiah, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9, NKJV).

Paul says the same thing, using a series of Old Testament references that make negative statements describing the debauched character of all people in their natural fallen state. Here, Paul very bluntly spells out just how thoroughly corrupt we are because of our sin.

In Romans 3:10, he says, “There is none righteous, not even one.” That is a paraphrase and summary of the first three verses of Psalms 14 and 53.

The first three verses of both psalms contain several phrases that Paul will quote in Romans 3. Verse 1 of Psalm 14 says, “They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; there is no one who does good.” Psalm 53:1 says, “They are corrupt, and have committed abominable injustice; there is no one who does good.” Romans 3:10 is a shortened paraphrase of those two nearly identical verses, with these words added to the end: “Not even one.” (That final phrase is borrowed from verse 3 in both psalms.)

Paul’s choice of words in this paraphrase is deliberate. Righteousness is the central theme of Paul’s entire epistle to the Romans. That word and its cognates appear at least thirty times within the letter. That’s because the gospel is a message about how sinners can be made righteous—right with God. At the very outset, therefore, Paul makes it clear that no one is righteous. And to make sure we don’t miss the point or look for an escape hatch, he appends those words from the end of Psalms 14:3 and 53:3: “Not even one” (emphasis added).

By the way, the Greek word translated “righteous” (here and elsewhere in the New Testament) is the same root word translated “justified” just a few verses later, in Romans 3:20: “By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight” (emphasis added). No one is righteous, and no one can become righteous through his own efforts—no matter how hard one applies oneself under the law of God.

Paul will restate this point as distinctly as possible in Romans 8:7–8: “The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” In fact, the only standard acceptable to God is absolute perfection. In His famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). He went on to teach that anger is of the same nature as murder (Matthew 5:21–22), and lust is the same flavor of sin as adultery (Matthew 5:27–28). Then Jesus set the standard as high as possible: “You are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). That is an echo of Leviticus 11:44, where God tells the Israelites, “Be holy, for I am holy.” That command is repeated more than a dozen times throughout Scripture.

If we don’t sense our lost condition when we read what Scripture has to say about sin, we certainly ought to feel it when we understand the nature of the holiness God demands of us. No mere mortal has ever attained that standard, nor do we have the potential even to come close.

Romans 3:11 continues this indictment of our character, now homing in on the sinfulness of the human intellect. Paul is following the order of Psalms 14 and 53. Verse 2 in both psalms say that God looks “down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.” Paul notes the psalmist’s reference to understanding and states the conclusion plainly implied by the two psalms: “There is none who understands” (emphasis added).

This is the reality of sin. It has a blinding effect even on the human intellect. Fallen humanity has no true perception of divine reality. Sinners have no right apprehension of God—therefore they cannot even have a true perception of what righteousness looks like. Paul says the same thing in different words in 1 Corinthians 2:14: “A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”

This is a harsh indictment, but it is absolutely true. The entire human race is fallen and fleshly. In our natural state we lack righteousness, we lack even a proper understanding of righteousness, and we hate what we don’t understand. Every one of us has been “foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another” (Titus 3:3). Elsewhere, Paul says fallen people go through life

in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness” (Ephesians 4:17–19).

It’s hard to see how the state of fallen humanity could be any worse.

But the reality is worse: “There is none who seeks for God” (Romans 3:11, still echoing verse 2 of Psalms 14 and 53). No sinner naturally wants to know God. There simply is no such thing as a self-motivated seeker after God. “The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts” (Psalm 10:4, NKJV, emphasis added).

This is a point that people sometimes want to dispute. After all, there are many familiar verses in Scripture that invite sinners to seek God, promising that those who do seek will find. “Seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29). “Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad” (1 Chronicles 16:10). “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6). “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). “He who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). There are literally more than a hundred verses in Scripture like those, urging sinners to seek God and promising blessing to those who do.

In recent years, many churches have based their entire ministry philosophy on the assumption that lots of unbelieving people are seeking God. These churches have refurbished their music, teaching, and public worship with the stated goal of being “seeker-sensitive.” In order to achieve that goal, church leaders rely on opinion surveys and an almost obsessive fixation with cultural trends in order to gauge the tastes and expectations of unbelievers. Then every feature of their corporate gatherings is carefully reworked, dumbed down, or purposely de-sanctified in order to make unbelievers feel comfortable.

But people are not really seeking God if they are looking for a religious experience where the music, entertainment, and sermon topics are carefully vetted in order to appeal to popular preferences. That kind of “seeker” is just looking for a cloak of piety in a context where he or she will also get affirmation, self-gratification, and companionship with like-minded people.

But the gospel that Paul preached pointed in the opposite direction. Paul fully understood the felt needs and cultural expectations of his diverse audiences: “Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:22). But the apostle’s response was the polar opposite of “seeker-sensitivity”: “We preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness” (1 Corinthians 1:23). The Greeks who craved a philosophical discourse on wisdom heard a message Paul knew would sound to them like foolishness; and the Jews who demanded a sign instead got “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” (Romans 9:33). But both groups heard exactly the same message from Paul. He knew only one gospel, and never considered pragmatic alternatives: “I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). Paul knew that our corruption from sin is so deep seated and wide reaching that no solution can be found outside of our Creator, Savior, and Redeemer.

And as we’ll see next time, fallen sinners don’t seek God—they actually flee from Him.

(Adapted from The Gospel According to Paul)

https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B200807

Election Integrity

by Jerry Newcombe, D.Min.

This is not a banana republic. This is the United States of America.

Election integrity is at risk. How this is resolved may well determine what kind of a country we become and what kind of a legacy we leave for our children and posterity.

As one man put it, “The importance of getting it right outweighs the importance of rushing to judgment.” Who was this? Some rube with the Trump campaign? No, actually, that was former Clinton cabinet member Warren Christopher on November 11, 2000, speaking on behalf of the Gore campaign during the hotly contested Bush-Gore election.

The media, including Fox News, have already called this race for Joe Biden. Joe Biden even said he has a “mandate” from the American people. Many are calling him “president elect.” Is it not more honest to call him, at best, the “projected president elect”? Besides, who died and gave the media the authority to decide who is president?

There’s always cheating in elections, I suppose. It seems that conservatives always have to get a percentage or more of extra votes to counteract the cheating. Hmmmm. If the left is so great, why do they so often have to cheat to win?

There are serious and credible allegations of voter fraud in some of the key swing states. The swing states include Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Here are some examples:

•Citizen Free Press reports: “Giuliani tells Maria Bartiromo [Fox News] this morning [11/8/20] that as many as 900,000 invalid ballots were cast in Pennsylvania, and that the Trump campaign will reveal the full slate of evidence in court.”

•Trump attorney Sidney Powell added that they’ve identified 450,000 ballots in PA that only had Biden on them (not any vote for candidates of other offices on the ballot).

•Similarly, 23,000 mail-in ballots show up in Philadelphia after election day closes. And every one of them is a vote for Joe Biden. As Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan says, that is “statistically impossible.”

•In Pennsylvania, supposedly 840 voters were 101 or older; 39 lived through the Civil War; 45 were born in the 1800s. These are among the 21,000+ dead people in Pennsylvania that are reported to have voted. As some wag noted, “I see dead people….voting.”

•Despite court orders, poll counters in Philadelphia and Detroit reportedly have prevented Republican vote counting monitors from seeing the ballot counting. Furthermore, in some instances, workers have boarded up windows, eliminating any pretense of transparency.

•A software “glitch” in Michigan has caused thousands of votes for Trump to be applied as votes for Biden. Ian Miles Cheong tweets (11/6/20): “The software used to tabulate the votes in one county sent at least 6,000 Trump votes to Biden. 47 counties used the software. Other states may have, too. Was it a glitch or a ‘feature’?”

Jordan said, “This is the first time in American history, where you have a party systematically set out to win an election after the election. That’s what they’re doing, and it has to be stopped.” [Emphasis added]

Perhaps love of abortion motivates the left. As Gary Bauer of American Values noted that if someone has no problem with killing babies up to the moment of birth (and even after, in some cases), why would they have a problem with cheating in an election?

Judge Darrell White is a conservative Christian and founder/director of Retired Judges of America. I once interviewed him for Christian television in reference to America’s Christian heritage.

He told me, “Our founders were not atheists.  They pledged their lives, their fortune, their sacred honor on behalf of themselves, but also, on behalf of posterity. That’s us and our grandchildren and we hold the truths of the Constitution and the sacred guarantees that are ours as Americans. We hold them not as owners, but in trust. We are trustees for the next generation.” [Emphasis added]

As trustees, it is up to us to make sure that we preserve our national heritage and genuine trust at the polls. White adds that “our founders clearly had a biblical worldview”—a major component of which is a belief in the “notion of the depravity of man.”

The division of powers by the founders was based on their knowledge that man is sinful. James Madison, a key architect of the Constitution, put it succinctly: “All men having power ought to be distrusted.” That’s not cynical. It is because of that view we enjoy the freedoms we enjoy.

The day could come when we lose that freedom because of a monopoly of power by the Ruling Class, by big tech (which has systematically censored conservative and Christian content), and by big media.

Love him or hate him, Trump is fighting for our nation’s election integrity.

There’s something rotten in Denmark. Well, I don’t know about Denmark.

https://www.djameskennedy.org/article-detail/election-integrity


VIDEO Foxes have Their Holes . . .

SEPTEMBER 16, 2020 / MULYALE MUTISYA

Foxes have their holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head ~ Matthew 8:20

Are you making Jesus ‘homeless’? How? You may ask. The teacher of the law whom Jesus was addressing wondered the same thing. He had only told Jesus that, ‘I will follow you wherever you go’ (v19), but Jesus responded by saying that He had nowhere to lay His head. How do they relate even? Jesus, being all-knowing knew that the teacher of the law meant that he wanted to follow Jesus from place to place physically, yet Jesus wanted a place to abide- in the spiritual sense of the word. Jesus wanted the teacher of the law to ‘realise that I am in the Father, and you are in me and I am in you’ (John 14:20). In other words, Jesus was beckoning for the man to, ‘Remain in me, and I will remain in you’ (15:v4).

David, a Prophet, seemed to have a picture of what was to come. During a time when people did not have the privilege of having God revealed in their Spirit, the glory of God only rested on the Ark of the Testimony. Only prophets had the privilege of remaining in God through His Spirit. David however was not satisfied in God’s glory concentrated in a tent while he himself lived in a palace of cedar. David even writes, ‘One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life’ (Psalm 27:4). He wanted to bring God closer to home and God responds by saying,

‘Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling . . .’

 (2 Samuel 7:5-6)

The temple was finally built for ‘God’s Name’ (1 Kings 8:18) by David’s son, Solomon. While dedicating the temple, Solomon who had the Spirit and Wisdom of God knew that a temple was not enough for man to experience God intimately. He prays, ‘But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!’ (v27). Even after the temple was built, sin and evil continued to plague people because they could not remain in God. Soon, they were taken captive by the King of Babylon who also, ‘set fire to the temple of the Lord’ (2 Kings 25:9). God ‘thrust them from his presence’ (24:v20) because they could not contain His holiness. Once again, God was ‘homeless’. Who could contain Him, and how?

Steps in Jesus, God in the flesh and says, ‘whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this he meant the Spirit’ (John 7: 38-39). Finally, we could contain God, through Jesus, through God Himself- and become one in Him so that, ‘it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me’ (Galatians 2:20). In other words, it means that, ‘in him we live and move and have our being’ (Acts 17:28). Once we accept Jesus and His Holy Spirit lives in us, then we become God-carriers. Paul writes, ‘Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price’ (Galatians 6: 19-20).

When we refuse to accept the price Jesus paid for us, out of sheer ignorance or outright rebellion, we are like an empty shell without God in us. Building state-of-the art churches, temples, mosques or synagogues does not make us any closer to God when we step foot in them. In fact, the definition of a Church is the ‘body of Christ’ (1 Corinthians 12:27), and not a building where Christians worship in. This is because God dwells in HUMAN BEINGS and not structures, things or even other creation. Stephen says, ‘However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the Prophet says: ‘Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? Says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things? You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!’ (Acts 7:48-52).

Many resist the Holy Spirit because they resist the One who sends it. And so no amount of visiting a building, meditating, or fingering a prayer bead while making repetitions will ever make someone to be one with God. This is because only His Spirit can enable us to live, breathe and be like Him- for it is ‘The Spirit who gives life’ (John 6:63) Once again, we radiate the image of God, just like ‘Christ is the image of the invisible God’ (Colossians 1:15), a first after the fall of man which caused us to be dead and alienated from God. As David longed, we can now finally dwell in God and He in us, forever. Unfortunately, some are still making God homeless. Are you?

Make My Heart Your Home

The Real Purpose of Thanksgiving

by Greg Laurie on Nov 20, 2020

In a few days we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s a uniquely American holiday, but it doesn’t commemorate a battle or anyone’s birthday. It’s a day that we set aside for the specific purpose of giving thanks to God Almighty.

Despite what the revisionists tell us, many of our founding fathers were very committed Christians—not all of them, but many of them. Even those who weren’t strong in their faith in Christ believed that the Bible was the Word of God.

They had a respect for God and understood that God gave us this great nation. So in 1789, our first president, George Washington, issued a proclamation to set apart a day to give thanks to the Lord.

Fast-forward to today, and our culture doesn’t seem to know what to do with a day called Thanksgiving. For many, it’s just something that happens between Halloween and Christmas, two days that we’ve managed to monetize.

But Thanksgiving is an altogether different kind of bird, no pun intended.

For many, it’s the day they stuff themselves before they shop ’til they drop, because it’s all about the next day, Black Friday. In fact, stores traditionally have been closed on Thanksgiving Day, but now many of them are open.

And many people don’t even call it Thanksgiving anymore; they simply call it Turkey Day. They’ve forgotten that Thanksgiving was originally about setting aside a day to give glory to God.

Why We Give Thanks

For the Christian, however, every day should be Thanksgiving, minus all the food. In fact, studies have revealed that when we have an attitude of gratitude, our health will be better and we’ll actually live longer.

Researchers discovered that people who gave more gratitude to God and gave thanks for what they had actually experienced fewer heart issues and fewer aches and pains. It also affected their outlook on life.

Dr. Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at University of California, Davis, pointed out that “gratitude blocks toxic, negative emotions such as envy, resentment, regret—emotions that can destroy our happiness.”

Here’s what the Bible says about giving thanks: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation” (Psalm 100:4–5 NLT).

When we’re in trouble, when we’re facing a crisis, we’ll call on the name of the Lord. But when things are going reasonably well and the bills are paid, when everyone is healthy and we have food in our stomachs, we can start to forget about God.

Psalm 100 is a reminder to give thanks, and it wasn’t addressed only to the people of Israel. Rather, it was addressed to all people and all generations: “Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!” (verse 1 NLT).

Interestingly, this psalm doesn’t mention a word about material things. In verse 1 we find the word Lord, as well as in verses 2, 3, and 5. So our rejoicing on Thanksgiving Day (and really, every day) shouldn’t be based on what we have materially. It should be based on God Himself.

Possessions come and go. Friends come and go. So does time. Yet God doesn’t come and go. He stays. I love what the writer of Hebrews says about this: “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you’” (13:5 NLT).

We Are His

There’s so much pressure at this time of year to find the perfect gift for someone else. Or maybe you’re hoping that someone else will get that perfect gift for you. But you probably can’t remember what you received last Christmas.

David wrote in Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (verse 1 NKJV). This means that if the Lord is your shepherd, then you shall not want. And if you’re always wanting, wanting, wanting, then I would have to question whether the Lord is your shepherd.

It is God Almighty who made you. It is God Almighty who sustains you. Everything you have is a gift from God. Every breath and every beat of your heart are gifts from God. And the Bible says that “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV).

The word workmanship originates from the Greek word poiēma, the same term that our English word poem comes from. So think of it this way: You are God’s painting. You are God’s song. And you are God’s sculpture. You’re also a work in progress.

Verse 3 of Psalm 100 tells us, “Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture” (NLT).

Maybe right now you’re in a situation where things aren’t making sense. There’s a lot of uncertainty, and it’s hard for you. But you can still give thanks. You can give thanks because God loves you.

Jesus said, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32 NKJV).

You can give thanks because God is in control of your life. You can give thanks because God is good. And you can give thanks because ultimately, He “causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28 NLT).

I know that you don’t see the end yet, but you can still give thanks, because God does see the end. And ultimately it’s going to be good. You will thank Him then, of course, but you can also thank Him now. So give thanks to the Lord, because He is good. His mercy endures forever.

Learn more about Pastor Greg Laurie.

Join us online every week for Harvest at Home and experience worship, fellowship, and a powerful teaching from God’s Word.

This article was originally published at WND.com.

People Series: Joseph, The Son Of Jacob

raising zion

 

July 1, 2020 Nehemiah Zion

There is much we can learn from the life of Joseph. I want to share only two qualities of Joseph that is necessary for every young Christian today.

There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? (Genesis 39:9)

In the house of Potiphar, his Master, Joseph had gained much favour and given much responsibility. Once when his Master was away, he was made the Master of the House. He had power over everyone, except the wife of Potiphar (Of course). The wife of Potiphar turned out to be an evil woman; she wanted to sleep with Joseph. Joseph was a young and hardworking man. She tried to lure him with words, and when that did not work out she tried to take advantage of him physically. Joseph was quick enough to run away, sadly, he was stripped naked by Potiphar’s wife as he held his garment tightly.

Joseph was confronted with a situation which could damage his reputation and his future completely.

Preserve Your Body, The Temple of God

The Word of God says, flee youthful lusts (2 Timothy 2:22). Joseph knew the danger of his situation and ran away from it. He was mentally and emotionally alert to flee. He did not get drawn into the temptation of lying with her. He knew very well that trying to please his Master’s wife would be a wickedness and sin against God.

How many Christians actually understand the need to keep their body pure? The Word of God in 1 Corinthians 7:1 clearly states, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. So many young lives have been broken because of disobeying the word of God regarding this matter. Many live in guilt and shame; crippling their walk with God. Many youth are unable to repent and receive their forgiveness and rebuild their life again. The body is the temple of God. We need to keep ourselves holy; Joseph proved an excellent example of purity and holiness.

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)

Depend On God Alone

Even though Joseph was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife; he willingly went to jail as ordered by his Master. He did not create a ruckus or try to prove his innocence. He was helpless and in a hopeless situation. Yet, he did not lose hope in God. He did not let the situation or the people who went against him wrongfully distract him from His love for God. He knew his identity in God, and waited patiently for God to work for him.

God’s favour was evident in Joseph’s life. Not all did God bless Joseph’s work, he became the most trusted man in all of Egypt. When we wait upon God, he sees us through miraculously, and mightily. Let’s not be distracted by the wealth and status he gained; and stay focused on what we in the New Testament ministry should stay focused on i.e. the riches of His glory in eternity.

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, (Ephesians 1:17-19)

Joseph’s life is filled with action. Action against him. What shines through is Joseph’s active duty to God in every area of his life. No matter what the trial was, he trusted God. He believed in doing the will of God, humbling himself, only to be richly blessed by God.

Hope this Word of God enriched your life. Pray for the children and youth of this generation as they battle through an unprecedented time of sin and deception. May the Lord prepare us for His soon coming!

People Series: Joseph, The Son Of Jacob

Sorry, 1619 Project, But the Mayflower Was Far More Pivotal to American History

BY TYLER O’NEIL NOV 21, 2020

AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File

In August 2019, The New York Times launched its “1619 Project,” a subversive attempt to redefine America’s history and present by placing race-based slavery at the center of absolutely everything. The project launched on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of some pirates who traded black human beings to the governor of Jamestown for some supplies, then strained to connect that obscure event with slavery. Yet the far more consequential 400th anniversary comes today, the anniversary of the Mayflower’s final arrival at Provincetown Harbor.

While onboard the Mayflower, a group of religious “Separatists” (today known as Pilgrims) and nonreligious “Strangers” signed the Mayflower Compact, a barebones document focused on self-governance that arguably became a precursor to America’s true founding, the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

These Pilgrims settled on American soil on November 21, 1620, four hundred years ago today. Their arrival marks a far more consequential date in American history than August 20, 1619.

Unlike the Declaration of Independence, the Mayflower Compact is mercifully short. Also unlike the declaration, it explicitly acknowledges England’s control over the future colony. However, the document lays down a crucial framework for self-government.

In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc.

Having undertaken for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together in a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620.

Scholars Demand Pulitzer Board Revoke Prize Over ‘Glaring Historical Fallacy’ in 1619 Project

As Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars (NAS), notes in his book 1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project, “only a minority of those aboard the Mayflower were religious pilgrims — 37 of the 201. The nonreligious passengers (the Separatists called them ‘Strangers’) quickly asserted that the charter they had signed back in England was void. And some of the Strangers, such as Stephen Hopkins, were rough customers.”

Hopkins had been convicted of mutiny at Jamestown in 1610 and sentenced to death. After his sentence was commuted, he ran an alehouse in England. The London Merchant Adventurers recruited him for the Mayflower. Hopkins had multiple servants on board the ship and any lasting disagreement with such men could have doomed the Pilgrims’ project.

The real meat of the Mayflower Compact comes down to the phrase “civil body politic.” As Wood explains, the term simply refers to “a group of people who agree to govern themselves by common rules to be created through peaceful deliberation. That means it isn’t a tribe, a dictatorship, or an aristocracy. It offers an ordered public life under the rule of law.”

The Mayflower Compact is a barebones document aimed at keeping a small but diverse group of people together. The Declaration of Independence, by contrast, uses soaring rhetoric to convince the British crown and people across the world of the justice of the Americans’ cause. Even so, as Rebecca Fraser put it in The Mayflower: The Families, the Voyage, and the Founding of America, “the Mayflower Compact has a whisper of the contractual government enunciated in the 4 July 1776 Declaration of Independence, that governments derive their just power ‘from the consent of the governed.’”

“Both documents are attempts to forge a new unity — ‘a civil body politic’ — out of disparate people who have conflicting interests,” Wood explains. “Both call into existence a new government, and both justify that government as needed for safety, good order, and justice. Above all, both project the ideal of self-government as the only way to achieve the ‘general good.’”

Wood argues that the Mayflower Compact was not America’s “true founding” — and neither was August 20, 1619 — but it was a “crucial pre-founding, informing the beginning of the American republic.” On the Mayflower, “an idea of true self-government began to take root.”

What of 1619?

The New York Times‘ “1619 Project” argued that America’s “true founding” came fifteen months before the Mayflower’s arrival. English pirates landed with some twenty to thirty African captives at Jamestown, Virginia, on August 20, 1619. According to the Times, this marked the tragic beginning of more than 200 years of race-based slavery in America.

There are numerous problems with this interpretation. First, this moment certainly did not mark the first time black slaves set foot on what would later become the United States. The Spanish brought slaves to present-day South Carolina in 1526, almost 100 years before the project’s date.

More critically, there is no conclusive evidence that the black men and women who arrived at Jamestown in August 1619 actually became slaves in the same sense as slaves in the antebellum South.

As Wood notes, “The exact status of these captives is unclear. It is likely that they were considered slaves on board the pirate ship, but because slavery was not recognized by English common law, once the captives landed their status became fuzzy. In Bermuda, also founded by the Virginia Company, slaves brought by outsiders were considered to be indentures with a life tenure of service. In Virginia, the records show that many of the captives were, after a term of indenture, set free. None were recorded as slaves.”

Wood argues that “the status of these African captives appears to have fallen into a vaguely defined middle ground” between freedom and slavery.

While the situation of these Africans is lamentable, the 1619 Project is not on solid ground in claiming that this obscure event somehow deserves to be remembered as the centerpiece of American history.

The New York Times Just Gave Definitive Proof the ‘1619 Project’ Is a Fraud

Why does it matter?

As Nikole Hannah-Jones, the 1619 Project’s founder, argued, the project aims to change America’s national memory. It is “not a history” but a fight to “control the narrative,” she admitted.

While some of the 1619 Project’s goals are noble — the project rightly aims to tell the stories of black Americans who have not received the attention they deserve — its heart and soul focuses on subverting America’s view of itself as a force of good and freedom in the world.

The project’s initial installment condemned many aspects of American society — including capitalism and Americans’ preference for sugar — as rooted in racial oppression. This echoes — and is arguably built upon — Marxist critical race theory, which encourages people to find hidden oppression behind various aspects of society.

Portland activist Lilith Sinclair provided a chilling example of Marxist critical race theory and its ability to inspire an aimless revolution. “There’s still a lot of work to undo the harm of colonized thought that has been pushed onto Black and indigenous communities,” she said. As examples of “colonized thought,” she mentioned Christianity and the “gender binary.” She said she organizes for “the abolition of … the “United States as we know it.”

When vandals toppled a statue of George Washington in Portland, they spray-painted “1619” on the statue. When Claremont’s Charles Kesler wrote in The New York Post, “Call them the 1619 riots,” 1619 Project Founder Nikole Hannah-Jones responded (in a since-deleted tweet) that “it would be an honor” to claim responsibility for the destructive riots. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) called for the “dismantling” of America’s “economy and political system,” in order to root out supposed racist oppression.

1619 Project Founder Admits It’s ‘Not a History,’ But a Fight to ‘Control the National Narrative’

The riots have proved the most destructive (in terms of insurance claims) in U.S. history. While leftists repeat claims of “institutional racism,” the riots have victimized the black community. The destruction disproportionately hit black communities in Kenosha, Wisc.Minneapolis, and Chicago. The riots destroyed black livesblack livelihoods, and black monuments. At least 26 Americans have died in the riots, most of them black.

For these and other reasons, many black leaders have denounced the official Black Lives Matter movement, the founders of which have described themselves as “trained Marxists.” Over 100 black pastors recently condemned the Black Lives Matter movement and urged Nike to distance itself from it.

Last month, Wood led a group of 21 scholars in condemning the 1619 Project and urging the Pulitzer Prize Board to rescind the Pulitzer Prize it had awarded to Hannah-Jones. Among other things, the scholars noted the project’s many errors and stealth revisions.

The 1619 Project originally claimed that the patriots in the American Revolutionary War fought in part to defend slavery — a completely baseless accusation the Times ultimately softened after facing scholars’ rebukes. In September, the project deep-sixed its fundamental claim that 1619 represented America’s “true founding.” Hannah-Jones then proceeded to act as though she had never claimed such a thing.

As the scholars wrote to the Pulitzer board, “the false claims were erased or altered with no explanation, and Hannah-Jones then proceeded to claim that she had never said or written what in fact she has said and written repeatedly, assertions that the Project materials also made.”

“The duplicity of attempting to alter the historical record in a manner intended to deceive the public is as serious an infraction against professional ethics as a journalist can commit. A ‘sweeping, deeply reported and personal essay,’ as the Pulitzer Prize Board called it, does not have the license to sweep its own errors into obscurity or the remit to publish ‘deeply reported’ falsehoods,” the scholars wrote.

The 1619 Project may do America some good at the margins by telling the overlooked stories of black Americans, but its subversive aspects are dangerous and need to be rebuked. At the very least, The New York Times should publicly apologize for falsely claiming that 1619 was America’s “true founding.”

The signing of the Declaration of Independence rightly deserves that distinction, and the Mayflower Compact is an important precursor to it. America has long struggled to live up to the ideals of the declaration, but that does not mean it is an inherently racist or oppressive country. The United States has taken tremendous strides toward justice and equality, and its ideals are sound. The New York Times should be working to uphold those noble ideals, not to undermine America’s foundations.

Contrary to Hannah-Jones’ protestations, America’s memory is sound, and Americans are right to celebrate the Mayflower on its 400th anniversary.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

‘1619 Project’ Founder Has a Tantrum After NYT Publishes Critical Column
Civil Rights Leader Aims to Stop the Riots at the Source — With Stories of Black American Success
Amid Deadly Riots, Oprah Signs on to Adapt Anti-American ‘1619 Project’
Black Chicagoans Eviscerate Black Lives Matter Narrative, Booting Activists From Their Neighborhood

https://pjmedia.com/columns/tyler-o-neil/2020/11/21/sorry-1619-project-but-the-mayflower-was-far-more-pivotal-to-american-history-n1165476


VIDEO Did Dinosaurs Live with Man?

By Eric Hovind

According to evolutionary scientists, dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. What if science actually proves that dinosaurs lived with man? Brian Thomas, dinosaur expert from icr.org, answers this question with the latest scientific discoveries. Join Marianne Pike and Eric Hovind to see if this evolutionary claim should go extinct!

The Kent Hovind Creation Seminar (3 of 7): Dinosaurs and the Bible


Did Dinosaurs Live with Man? Season 4 Episode 7

No better year for Thanksgiving than 2020

Chuck Norris on why tough times are the best time to express gratitude

There may not be a better year for Thanksgiving in our lifetime than 2020. Before you disagree because of the hardships you’re facing, let me explain.

In the words of one of my friends, 2020 has been wacko. There’s been nothing normal or easy about it. From massive loss of employment to massive loss of lives through sickness, sadness and suicide, my wife, Gena, and my hearts break for countless souls across our land.

And so, with another Thanksgiving upon us, the big question this year is: “How can we, particularly those who have been gravely affected by the events and aftermath of 2020, be thankful this Thanksgiving?” That’s not an easy question to answer, but I’d like to try.

I’d begin by respectfully reminding us that those upon whom Thanksgiving was founded, the Pilgrims who landed in 1620 at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts, were those who also discovered the power to give thanks even in the midst of hardship, suffering, disease and deaths.

Though they came to a new land, the pilgrims were by no means foreigners to the territory of pain and suffering. Of the 102 original voyagers that set sail on the Mayflower to the New World, only 53 lived through the first winter. And then another half of those didn’t survive their second winter.

History.com explained:

The colonists spent the first winter living onboard the Mayflower. Only 53 passengers and half the crew survived. Women were particularly hard hit; of the 19 women who had boarded the Mayflower, only five survived the cold New England winter, confined to the ship where disease and cold were rampant. The Mayflower sailed back to England in April 1621, and once the group moved ashore, the colonists faced even more challenges.

During their first winter [on land] in America, more than half of the Plymouth colonists died from malnutrition, disease and exposure to the harsh New England weather. In fact, without the help of the area’s native people, it is likely that none of the colonists would have survived. An English-speaking Abenaki named Samoset helped the colonists form an alliance with the local Wampanoags, who taught them how to hunt local animals, gather shellfish and grow corn, beans and squash.

Ron Lee Davis recollected in “Rejoicing in Our Suffering”: “The Pilgrims would not fully understand in their lifetime the reason for the suffering that beset them. The first official Thanksgiving Day occurred as a unique holy day in 1621 – in the fall of that year with lingering memories of the difficult, terrible winter they had just been through a few months before, in which scores and scores of babies and children and young people and adults had starved to death, and many of the Pilgrims had gotten to a point where they were even ready to go back to England. They had climbed into a ship and were in that harbor heading back to England, ready to give up. It was only as they saw another ship coming the other way, and on that ship there was a Frenchman named Delaware, and he came with some medical supplies and some food, that they had enough hope to go back and to try to live in the midst of those adverse sufferings. And yet they came to that first Thanksgiving with the spirit of giving and of sharing.”

H.W. Westermeyer couldn’t have said it better: “The pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts … nevertheless, [they] set aside a day of thanksgiving.”

The Pilgrims, who were originally known as Christian Separatists and Puritans or “first-comers” and “forefathers,” crossed the Atlantic and faced their first winter with the comfort of their Geneva Bible, a translation made in 1560. (Though the King James Version was published in 1611, it was not yet popular when the Pilgrims came to America.) In that Geneva Bible they read the words from 1 Thessalonians 5:18, which offers a great challenge, “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

It’s that word “everything” that must have been a challenge for the Pilgrims as well for many of us. And yet in that single word was also the remedy for their (as well as our) downcast souls. It doesn’t say, “feel thankful,” but “be thankful” or “give thanks.” Thanksgiving is a duty before it’s a feeling. It also doesn’t say be thankful “for” everything, but “in” everything. Find something, anything, to be grateful for even in the worst of times and our moods will be lifted. God prescribed our thanks-living because He knew it would make us happier.

Harvard Health Medical School & Publishing recently reported that several scientific studies concluded, “Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier.” That might be a surprise to everyone except the Pilgrims and theologians, for that truth is more than 2000 years old.

It is true that, though Thanksgiving is commemorated once a year, giving thanks was never intended to be bound up in a single day. Gratitude is a seasoning for all seasons. Thanksgiving is a school from which we should never graduate.

In tough times like 2020, we must call up our reserves. As Helen Keller, who saw and heard further than most even without the senses of sight or hearing, explained it: “So much has been given to me, I have no time to ponder over that which has been denied.” Dare I say, if someone like Helen can do it, there is definite hope for all of us to see that we are still more blessed than we suffer.

Giving thanks is still a choice – a discipline, especially so in times of hardship. Though it is definitely not easy, it is always possible to list our assets alongside our losses. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a prisoner and martyr under Adolf Hitler, concluded, “It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”

Thanksgiving is still born in adversity, so perhaps, respectfully speaking, it will mean even more to many of us this year than in years past. It certainly challenges the giant within us to understand why Thanksgiving falls on the crest of winters. It is still a holiday for the courageous, those who face their fears and fight to remain thankful. As Aesop (c. 550 B.C.) concluded so long ago, “Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.”

With all this in mind, I’d encourage and challenge Americans this Thanksgiving in particular to heed the call of William Bradford, governor of the Plymouth Colony, who, in 1623, challenged his people with these words:

“Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as He has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now, I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor, and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.”

More than ever before, Gena and I wish you and yours the happiest and most blessed Thanksgivings!

No better year for Thanksgiving than 2020

Running From the Character of God & Offended By His Nature

Today’s selected reading is found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Obadiah which he saw concerning Edom, as well as the Old Testament prophetic book of Jonah which describes a prophet who was instructed of the LORD to journey unto Nineveh—the capital city of the Assyrian Empire—and prophesy judgment upon it.

WE HAVE HEARD A RUMOR FROM THE LORD! AN AMBASSADOR IS SENT AMONG THE HEATHEN! ARISE YE, AND LET US RISE UP AGAINST HER IN BATTLE! BEHOLD, I HAVE MADE THEE SMALL AMONG THE HEATHEN! THOU ART GREATLY DESPISED! THE PRIDE OF THINE HEART HATH DECEIVED THEE! THOU THAT DWELLEST IN THE CLEFTS OF THE ROCK, WHOSE HABITATION IS HIGH; THAT SAITH IN HIS HEART, WHO SHALL BRING ME DOWN TO THE GROUND? THOUGH THOU EXALT THYSELF AS THE EAGLE, AND THOUGH THOU SET THY NEST AMONG THE STARS, THENCE WILL I BRING THEE DOWN, SAITH THE LORD!

HOW ARE THE THINGS OF ESAU SEARCHED OUT! HOW ARE HIS HIDDEN THINGS SOUGHT UP! THE MEN THAT WERE AT PEACE WITH THEE HAVE DECEIVED THEE, AND PREVAILED AGAINST THEE! SHALL THEY THAT EAT THY BREAD HAVE LAID A WOUND UNDER THEE: THERE IS NONE UNDERSTANDING IN HIM! SHALL I NOTE IN THAT DAY, SAITH THE LORD, EVEN DESTROY THE WISE MEN OUT OF EDOM, AND UNDERSTANDING OUT OF THE MOUNT OF ESAU? AND THY MIGHTY MEN, O TEMAN, SHALL BE DISMAYED!

FOR THY VIOLENCE AGAINST THY BROTHER JACOB SHAME SHALL COVER THEE, AND THOU SHALT BE CUT OFF FOR EVER! IN THE DAY THAT THOU STOODEST ON THE OTHER SIDE, IN THE DAY THAT THE STRANGERS CARRIED AWAY CAPTIVE HIS FORCES, AND FOREIGNERS ENTERED INTO HIS GATES, AND CAST LOTS UPON JERUSALEM! EVEN THOU WAST AS ONE OF THEM! BUT THOU SHOULDEST NOT HAVE LOOKED ON THE DAY OF THY BROTHER IN THE DAY THAT HE BECAME A STRANGER; NEITHER SHOULDEST THOU HAVE REJOICED OVER THE CHILDREN OF JUDAH IN THE DAY OF THEIR DESTRUCTION; NEITHER SHOULDES THOU HAVE SPOKEN PROUDLY IN THE DAY OF HIS DISTRESS!

THOU SHOULDEST NOT HAVE ENTERED INTO THE GATE OF MY PEOPLE IN THE DAY OF THEIR CALAMITY: YEA, THOU SHOULDEST NOT HAVE LOOKED ON THEIR AFFLICTION IN THE DAY OF THEIR CALAMITY! NOR HAVE LAID HANDS ON THEIR SUBSTANCE IN THE DAY OF THEIR CALAMITY! NEITHER SHOULDEST THOU HAVE STOOD IN THE CROSS WAY, TO CUT OFF THOSE OF HIS THAT DID ESCAPE; NEITHER SHOULDEST THOU HAVE DELIVERED UP THOSE OF HIS THAT DID REMAIN IN THE DAY OF DISTRESS!

FOR AS YE HAVE DRUNK UPON MY HOLY MOUNTAIN, SO SHALL ALL THE HEATHEN DRINK CONTINUALLY, YEA, THEY SHALL DRINK, AND THEY SHALL SWALLOW DOWN, AND THEY SHALL BE AS THOUGH THEY HAD NOT BEEN!

BUT UPON MOUNT ZION SHALL BE DELIVERANCE, AND THERE SHALL BE HOLINESS; AND THE HOUES OF JACOB SHALL POSSESS THEIR POSSESSIONS! AND THE HOUES OF JACOB SHALL BE A FIRE, AND THE HOUES OF JOSEPH A FLAME, AND THE HOUES OF ESAU FOR STUBBLE, AND THEY SHALL KINDLE IN THEM, AND DEVOUR THEM; AND THERE SHALL NOT BE ANY REMAINING OF THE HOUES OF ESAU; FOR THE LORD HATH SPOKEN IT!

Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is com up before . But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD”

BUT THE LORD SENT OUT A GREAT WIND INTO THE SEA, AND THERE WAS A MIGHTY TEMPEST IN THE SEA, SO THAT THE SHIP WAS LIKE TO BE BROKEN! THEN THE MARINERS WERE AFRAID, AND CRIED EVERY MAN UNTO HIS GOD, AND CAST FORTH THE WARES THAT WERE IN THE SHIP INTO THE SEA, TO LIGHTEN IT OF THEM. BUT JONAH WAS GONE DOWN INTO THE SIDES OF THE SHIP; AND HE LAY, AND WAS FAST ASLEEP! SO THE SHIPMASTER CAME TO HIM, AND SAID UNTO HIM, WHAT MEANEST THOU, O SLEEPER? ARISE, CALL UPON THY GOD, IF SO BE THAT GOD WILL THINK UPON US, THAT WE PERISH NOT!

AND THEY SAID EVERY ONE TO HIS FELLOW, COME, AND LET US CAST LOTS, THAT WE MAY KNOW FOR WHOSE CAUSE THIS EVIL IS UPON US! SO THEY CAST LOTS, AND THE LOT FELL UPON JONAH! I AM AN HEBREW; AND I FEAR THE LORD, THE GOD OF HEAVEN, WHICH HATH MADE THE SEA AND IN THE DRY LAND! WHY HAST THOU DONE THIS? FOR THE MEN KNEW THAT HE FLED FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD, BECAUSE HE HAD TOLD THEM! WHAT SHALL WE DO UNTO THEE, THAT THE SEA MAY BE CALM UNTO US? FOR THE SEA WROUGHT, AND WAS TEMPESTUOUS! TAKE ME UP, AND CAST ME FORTH INTO THE SEA; SO SHALL THE SEA BE CALM UNTO YOU: FOR I KNOW THAT FOR MY SAKE THIS GREAT TEMPEST IS UPON YOU!

WE BESEECH THEE, O LORD, WE BESEECH THEE, LET US NOT PERISH FOR THIS MAN’S LIFE, AND LAY NOT UPON US INNOCENT BLOOD: FOR THOU, O LORD, HAST DONE AS IT PLEASED THEE! SO THEY TOOK UP JONAH, AND CAST HIM FORTH INTO THE SEA: AND THE SEA CEASED FROM HER RAGING! THEN THE MEN FEARED THE LORD EXCEEDINGLY, AND OFFERED A SACRIFICE UNTO THE LORD, AND MADE VOWS!

NOW THE LORD HAD PREPARED A GREAT FISH TO SWALLOW UP JONAH! AND JONAH WAS IN THE BELLY OF THE FISH THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS! THEN JONAH PRAYED UNTO THE LORD HIS GOD OUT OF THE FISH’S BELLY!

”I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and He heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then said I, I am cast out of thy sight; Yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depths clothed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountain; the earth was with her bars was about me for ever: yet thou hast brought up my life from corruption, o Lord my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple!”

AND THE LORD SPAKE UNTO THE FISH, AND IT VOMITED OUT JONAH UPON THE DRY LAND!

AND THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME UNTO JONAH THE SECOND TIME, SAYING, ARISE, GO UNTO NINEVETH, THAT GREAT CITY, AND PREACH UNTO IT THE PREACHING THAT I BID THEE! SO JONAH AROSE, AND WENT UNTO NINEVETH, ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF THE LORD! NINEVEH WAS AN EXCEEDING GREAT CITY OF THREE DAYS’ JOURNEY! AND JONATH 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! FOR WORD CAME UNTO THE KING OF NINEVEH, AND HE AROSE FROM HIS THRONE, AND HE LAID HIS ROBE FROM HIM, AND COVERED HIM WITH SACKCLOTH, AND SAT IN ASHES! AND HE CAUSED IT TO BE PROCLAIMED AND PUBLISHED THROUGH NINEVEH BY THE DECREE OF THE KING AND HIS NOBLES, SAYING, LET NEITHER MAN NOR BEAST, HERD NOT FLOCK, TASTE ANY THING: LET THEM NOT FEED, NOR DRINK WATER: BUT LET MAN AND BEAST BE COVERED WITH SACKCLOTH, AND CRY MIGHTILY UNTO GOD: YEA, LET THEM TURN EVERY MAN FROM HIS EVIL WAY, AND FROM THE VIOLENCE THAT IS IN THEIR HANDS!

AND GOD SAW THEIR WORKS, THAT THEY TURNED FROM THEIR EVIL WAY; AND GOD REPENTED OF THE EVIL THAT HE HAD SAID THAT HE WOULD DO UNTO THEM; AND HE DID IT NOT!

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD< and said, I pray thee, O LORD< was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live”

SHOULD I NOT SPARE NINEVEH, THAT GREAT CITY, WHEREIN ARE MORE THAN SIX SCORE THOUSAND PERSONS THAT CANNOT DISCERN BETWEEN THEIR RIGHT HAND AND THEIR LEFT HAND; AND ALSO MUCH CATTLE?

RUNNING FROM THE CHARACTER OF GOD! RUNNING FROM THE MERCY OF THE LORD! RUNNING FROM THE NATURE OF GOD! KNOWING THE NATURE OF GOD AND YET FLEEING FROM THE MANIFESTATION OF IT! GOD I KNEW WHO YOU WERE, AND YET I RAN FROM IT! GOD I KNEW WHO YOU WERE AND YET I RAN FROM THE MANIFESTATION OF IT! [THE DIRECT LINK BETWEEN THE FIRST AND FOURTH CHAPTER OF THE PROPHETIC BOOK OF JONAH]. [IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE OFFENDED WITH THE NATURE AND CHARACTER OF THE LIVING GOD?] 

While today’s reading begins with the prophetic book of Obadiah and then transitions to the prophetic book of Jonah, I feel compelled to start with the prophetic book of Jonah and then work my way back to what is found in the book of Obadiah. I have to admit that you would be hard pressed to find anyone who wasn’t familiar with the prophetic book of Jonah and the narrative surrounding this son of Amittai.

I would dare say that there are countless students and scholars of Scripture alike who are familiar with the narrative of Jonah and how Jonah was that prophet who dared run in the opposite direction of that which the LORD his God had called him to do. You cannot read the prophetic book of Jonah and not encounter the tremendous reality that it is a book that is centered around one man’s hearing the voice of the LORD his God and knowing what the LORD had called him to do, and yet doing everything he could to not only run and flee from the presence of the LORD, but also to run away from that which the LORD had called him to.

If you take the time to read the events which are found in the first and opening chapter you will find that after Jonah received the call to rise from the land of Israel and journey unto Nineveh—that great capital city which was situated in the midst of the Assyrian Empire—he immediately decided and determined within himself to flee from the presence of the LORD. In fact, in the first three verses of this prophetic book we find the foundation which stands at the very heart of this narrative—namely, that which Jonah had been called to do, and his attempt to resist it by journeying in the opposite direction. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the opening three verses of the first chapter of this prophetic book:

Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Jppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD” (Jonah 1:1-3).

FOR THEIR WICKEDNESS IS COME UP BEFORE ME! Before I delve into the narrative surrounding Jonah’s flight from the presence of the LORD—a reality which is mentioned three times within this opening chapter of this prophetic book—I feel it necessary and imperative to call and draw your attention to that which the word of the LORD had called and instructed Jonah to do.

As you read the words which are found in these opening verses you will find that the word of the LORD instructed and called Jonah to go unto Nineveh, that great city, and to cry against it because their wickedness is come up before Him. I am convinced that we dare not miss and lose sight of that which the living and eternal God was calling Jonah to do during his generation—particularly and especially when you consider the declaration that the LORD said the wickedness of Nineveh had come up before Him. It would be very easy to quickly glance over these words, and the fact that when the LORD called Jonah to go unto Nineveh and preach against it, Jonah sought to flee from His presence, however, it is actually something worth noting and pointing out that when the LORD spoke unto Jonah concerning Nineveh he declared unto him that their wickedness had come up before him.

Pause for a moment and consider this reality, for it was true the wickedness of Nineveh with its inhabitants had come up before and in the presence of the LORD, however, the LORD would not allow that wickedness to continue without sending them a warning. What makes this even more intriguing is when you think about the fact that this wasn’t merely a warning that was sent to the people of God and unto the Hebrews, but this was a warning that was sent unto heathens and Gentiles. You cannot read the words found in this passage of Scripture and not encounter the awesome truth that the LORD was very much aware of the wickedness of Nineveh, for their wickedness—perhaps their idolatry, their immorality, their iniquity, the fornication, their adultery, and the like—had come up before Him. It is this concept of the wickedness of men coming up before and unto the LORD that is worth mentioning and noting, for there would be at least two other instances in Scripture when the wickedness of men rose up before the LORD.

If you study the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find the narratives of the days of Lot, as well as the days of Noah—both of which were used by the Lord Jesus Christ to describe the Last Days leading up to His second coming and return.

If you turn and direct your attention to the sixth, seventh and eighteenth chapters of the book of Genesis you will find the days of Noah and Lot being given great emphasis and focus by Moses the servant of the LORD when he wrote of two specific times during the history of man when the wickedness of man would come up before the LORD. You cannot read the narratives of the days of Noah and the days of Lot and not encounter the awesome truth and reality that the wickedness of men went up before and in the sight of the LORD.

As you read the words found within these chapters you will quickly come face to face with the awesome reality that the LORD was very much aware of the wickedness of the inhabitants of the earth during the days of Noah, and not only instructed Noah to build an ark, but also through Noah would preach righteousness unto that generation concerning their wickedness. It would be during the days of Noah the wickedness of men upon the earth would be so evil, so vile, and so filthy that the LORD would determine and purpose to wipe out and destroy all flesh from the face of the earth—save those eight souls which were within the ark as it would rest upon the waters.

The LORD would speak unto Noah and declare that He would send such a rain upon the face of the earth that He would cause the whole earth to be flooded, and all the fountains of the deep to be broken up so the inhabitants of the earth would be destroyed and consumed in the flood of His wrath and fury. THE FLOOD OF WRATH! THE FLOOD OF FURY! THE FLOOD OF JUDGMENT!

You cannot read the narrative surrounding Noah and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome and tremendous reality that it would be during the days of Noah when the wickedness of man upon the earth was so gross, so vile, and so filthy that it would not only come up before the LORD, but the LORD would also purpose to destroy everything that lived and moved upon the face of the earth save that which was upon the ark.

During the days of Lot there would be the cities of the plain—mainly and namely the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah—whose wickedness would rise up before and in the sight of the living God. Scripture makes it very clear that the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah also rose up before and in the sight of the LORD, and how the LORD spoke unto Abraham how He would destroy these cities of the plain. With all of this being said, consider if you will the following words which are found in the Old Testament book of Genesis concerning the days of Lot and Noah:

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

AND GOD SAW THAT THE WICKEDNESS OF MAN WAS GREAT IN THE EARTH, AND THAT EVERY IMAGINATION OF THE THOUGHTS OF HIS HEART WAS EVIL ONLY CONTINUALLY.

And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. Bot Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:1-8).

These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth.

THE EARTH ALSO WAS CORRUPT BEFORE GOD, AND THE EARTH WAS FILLED WITH VIOLENCE. AND GOD LOOKED UPON THE EARTH, AND, BEHOLD, IT WAS CORRUPT; FOR ALL FLESH HAD CORRUPTED HIS WAY UPON THE EARTH.

And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth” (Genesis 6:10-13).

And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevents, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of the fowls also of the air be sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him” (Genesis 7:1-5).

And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in Him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him.

AND THE LORD SAID, BECAUSE THE CRY OF SODOM AND GOMRRAH IS GREAT, AND BECAUSE THEIR SIN IS VERY GRIEVOUS; I WILL GO DOWN NOW, AND SEE WHETHER THEY HAVE DONE ALTOGETHER ACCORDING TO THE CRY OF IT, WHICH IS COME UNTO ME; AND IF NOT, I WILL KNOW.

And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD” (Genesis 18:16-22).

It’s interesting and worth noting the words which are found within these passages of Scriptures, as well as during the days of Noah and Lot, for they were days filled with great violence upon the face of the earth, and days which were filled with great iniquity and transgression before the LORD. You cannot read these words and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome reality that during the days of Noah and Lot evil and wickedness was upon the earth, as during the days of Noah evil would fill the earth, and during the days of Lot evil and wickedness would be found within two specific cities of the plain of Jordan.

In both of these instances we find the LORD being very much aware of the wickedness that was present upon the earth, for the wickedness—and not only the wickedness, but also the cry of the wickedness—would go up unto the LORD. During the days of Noah, as well as during the days of Lot we find men committing gross immorality and wickedness before and in the sight of the living God, and that wickedness being so grievous in the sight of the LORD.

It would be during the days of Noah and Lot such wickedness would be present and prevalent upon the face of the earth, and it would be because of this wickedness upon the face of the earth the LORD would bring judgment against and upon it. In the days of Noah the LORD would bring judgment against and upon the whole earth with all the inhabitants which lived and moved upon it—everything which had the breath of life in their nostrils—that He might cleanse and purge the earth of the wickedness that would consume and cover it.

In the days of Lot we find these two cities of the plain being guilty of such great wickedness in the sight of the LORD, and the cry of that wickedness being so great in the sight of the LORD that the LORD would not only come down to see and behold it, but also to bring judgment upon it. As surely and as much as the Old Testament book of Genesis is a book about beginnings—the beginning of man upon the face of the earth, the beginning of generations, the beginning of Abraham, the beginning of Isaac, the beginning of Jacob whose name would be Israel, and even the beginning of the house of Israel which would become a mighty nation and people, it would also contain two distinct events that would be referenced in the New Testament by both Jesus, as well as the New Testament authors.

We cannot, we must not, we dare not miss what is found within the Old Testament book of Genesis concerning Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as the earth during the days of Noah, for the wickedness of men during both times would be so great upon the face of the earth that it would actually come up before and in the sight of the LORD. The wickedness of man upon the earth was so grievous and so great upon the face of the earth that the LORD would raise up Noah in his generation as a witness and testimony unto those who dwelt upon the earth concerning judgment which was to come, and the wickedness of man was so great within the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah that the LORD would purpose to destroy it with fire and brimstone which He would rain down upon the cities until they were consumed and utterly destroyed.

Of course we know that when the LORD revealed unto Abraham what He was going to do in the midst of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham besought the LORD through intercession concerning His destroying the righteous with the wicked. As a direct result of Abraham’s intercession we find him entreating the LORD whether or not He would spare the cities of the plain if there was a certain amount of righteous men and women living in the city. Abraham would initially begin with fifty righteous in the city, and would ultimately get down to ten righteous within the city, and would entreat the LORD to spare these cities if there were found ten righteous in the midst of them.

I have written before how assuming Lot and his wife were righteous, assuming their two daughters were righteous, and assuming his two sons in laws were righteous, that would still leave four remaining within the land. If those six individuals were righteous in the sight of the living God, then there would still be a deficit of four individuals who might very well have helped spare the cities of the plain.

Of course we know from Scripture that the LORD would not find ten righteous souls in the midst of these cities, and of all the inhabitants which were present therein—only Lot, his wife, and their two daughters were brought forth from the midst of the city and spared the judgment that would come upon them. We know that Lot and his two daughters would escape the judgment of the LORD and would make it unto a place of shelter and rest, however, Lot’s wife would turn back to gaze upon the destruction that was being rained upon the cities of the plain, and would become a pillar of salt.

Now you might be wondering why I would choose to include these two passages of Scripture and write concerning the days of Lot and Noah when writing and speaking about the days of Jonah and the great city of Nineveh. The answer actually lies in the declaration of the LORD that the wickedness of this great city had come up before Him.

In the days of Lot the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah would come up before and in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD would purpose to destroy these cities with fire and brimstone which He would rain down upon them from heaven.

In the days of Noah the wickedness of the inhabitants of the earth would come up before and in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD would purpose to destroy every living thing that had the breath of the living God in its nostrils.

The LORD would bring upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah such a great judgment that the cities together with all the inhabitants therein would be completely and utterly overthrown and consumed in the judgment of the LORD.

The LORD would bring upon the face of the whole earth during the days of Noah such a great judgment that would completely cover the face of the whole earth, and would consume every living soul that moved upon the face of the earth, and every thing in whose nostrils was the breath of life.

It’s worth noting and pointing out that in both the days of Lot, as well as the days of Noah—as surely as the LORD would indeed bring judgment upon the face of the earth—the LORD would also spare certain souls from the judgment which He would release and unleash within the earth.

During the days of Noah the LORD would spare Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives (in addition to every living thing which was upon the ark Noah had built), and during the days of Lot the LORD would initially spare and save Lot, his wife, and their two daughters, however, Lot’s wife would turn back to gaze upon the destruction and judgment of the LORD, and as a result would become a pillar of salt in the midst of the earth.

While it was true that the days of Lot and Noah were days of judgment and wrath of and from the LORD, they would also be days of mercy and grace from the LORD, as the LORD would save eight souls from the flood which would cover the face of the earth, and as the LORD would save three souls from the judgment which would consume Sodom and Gomorrah.

What makes the days of Jonah so incredibly intriguing is when you think about and consider the fact that the wickedness of Nineveh had come up before the LORD. In the opening verses of the first chapter of this prophetic book you will find the LORD declare unto Jonah that the wickedness of Nineveh had come up before the LORD, and as a result of that wickedness, the LORD instructed Jonah to arise, to go unto that great city, and to cry against it. Please don’t miss the awesome significance and importance of what is found within these opening verses, for despite the fact that the wickedness of the city of Nineveh would come up before the LORD, the LORD would not immediately unleash judgment and destruction upon it.

Perhaps one of the fundamental differences between the days of Lot, the days of Noah, and the days of Jonah is that during the days of Jonah the LORD would actually raise up and send one of His own unto that great city to cry out against it because of the wickedness that had gone up before Him.

Perhaps the greatest question is what we are causing to rise up before the LORD within the earth and from our lives—whether it is the sweet and fragrant aroma of a sacrifice and offering made by fire, or whether it is wickedness which was committed in the sight and presence of the LORD.

Scripture makes it very clear that the wickedness of man can indeed and can in fact go up before the LORD in the midst of the earth, and that wickedness can rise up before and in the sight of the LORD much like incense can rise up before Him. As surely and as certainly as the incense of the people of God, and even the aroma of sacrifices upon the altar can rise up before the living God, so also can wickedness rise up before the living and eternal God.

The wickedness of the inhabitants of the earth during the days of Noah would come up before the LORD, and the LORD would destroy the earth with a flood.

The wickedness of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah would come up before the LORD during the days of Lot, and the LORD would destroy the cities together with the inhabitants therein with fire and brimstone which He would cause to rain and come down upon them.

During the days of Jonah, however—despite the fact that the wickedness of the inhabitants of Nineveh that great city had come up before the LORD—the LORD would send a prophet among them in their midst to cry out because of the wickedness.

THE WARNING BEFORE JUDGMENT!

It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand what is taking place in the prophetic book of Jonah, for what we find within the opening chapter is the wickedness of this great capital city of Nineveh rising up before and unto the LORD, and as a direct result of that iniquity and wickedness the LORD would send a prophet. The LORD would send one of His own from the land of Israel unto this great city to warn them of the coming judgment and wrath of the LORD, and to cry out against the wickedness of the LORD.

What makes the opening chapter of this prophetic book so intriguing and captivating is when you think about consider the fact that although Jonah had been called of the LORD to go unto this great city to cry out against it because of their great wickedness, he sought to flee from the presence of the LORD—and even believed that He would be able to flee from His presence.

As you read the words found in the opening chapter of this prophetic book you will find that in the third verse “Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD,” as well as Jonah paying the fare thereof and going down into the boat “ to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.” Jonah was given a great and powerful command and commission of the LORD to journey unto this great city of Nineveh that he might cry out against the wickedness that was found within it, and instead of [initially] fulfilling the command and word of the LORD, he would attempt to flee from the presence of the LORD.

There would be three distinct times within this chapter we find mentioned how Jonah’s paying the fair to board a ship going down unto Tarshish was so he could somehow flee from the presence of the LORD. It’s actually interesting that Jonah actually believed he could somehow flee from the presence of the LORD—particularly and especially considering the words which David the psalmist and king of Israel wrote which are recorded for us in the one-hundred and thirty-ninth chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms.

I am convinced that any discussion concerning Jonah the son of Amittai must have at the very heart of it the words of David, for it was David who spoke of man’s attempt to flee from the presence of the LORD, and how such an attempt was both futile and fleeting. Consider if you will the following words found in this particular chapter beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse:

O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? OR WHITHER SHALL I FLEE FROM THY PRESENCE?

If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee” (Psalm 139:1-12).

These words which the psalmist David wrote and penned in what is the one-hundred and thirty-ninth chapter of the poetic book of the Psalms must be carefully considered and understood when considering the narrative of Jonah the son of Amittai, for Jonah actually thought and believed that he could indeed flee from the presence of the LORD.

Jonah received a very specific command and word from the LORD—namely, that he go unto Nineveh that great city in Assyria—and cry out against it because of the wickedness that had come up before the LORD. Initially, however, Jonah sought to flee from the presence of the LORD, and sought to run from his calling and that which he had been ordained to do. Jonah heard the word of the LORD, and Jonah knew what the LORD had called him to do, and yet he deliberately and intentionally chose to run in the opposite direction that he might not fulfill that which the LORD had called him to do.

What makes the narrative of Joseph all the more intriguing and all the more astonishing is when you think about and consider the fact that he was running and fleeing from more than just the presence of the LORD. There is not a doubt in my mind that the first and fourth chapters of this prophetic book are intrinsically linked and connected to each other, as it is in the fourth chapter we encounter the awesome truth and reality that Jonah not only attempted to run from the presence of the LORD, but also from the very character and nature of God. In all the years and all the times I have read this prophetic book of Jonah I have always viewed it through the lens of Jonah fleeing from the presence of the LORD, and Jonah running from the call that was upon his life, and yet the fourth chapter actually reveals something even more captivating and intriguing when you think about and consider it.

If you turn and direct your attention to the words found in the fourth and final chapter of this prophetic book you will find Jonah and the LORD having a dialogue with each other as after Jonah had preached unto the city of Nineveh and cried out against the wickedness thereof the entire city repented before the LORD in sackcloth, in dust and ashes. As you come to and approach the fourth chapter you will find Jonah feeling as though it was enough for him and what he have done, and the only thing that was left for him was to die. In the fourth and final chapter of this prophetic book we find that after he had preached to the capital city of Nineveh—a city which the LORD referred to as “that great city”—everyone from the king down to the lowest servant in the midst of the city repented in sackcloth, in dust and ashes, and how the LORD repented Him of the great evil He would bring upon it.

It wasn’t necessarily the response of the Ninevites that so offended Jonah and caused him grief, but it was the response of the LORD—a response that was based on His nature and character that so grieved him. Consider if you will the following words which are found within the fourth chapter beginning to read with and from the first verse:

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: FOR I KNEW THAT THOU ART A GRACIOUS GOD, AND MERCIFUL, SLOW TO ANGER, AND OF GREAT KINDNESS, AND REPENTEST THEE OF THE EVIL. THEREFORE NOW, O LORD, TAKE, I BESEECH THEE, MY LIFE FROM ME; FOR IT IS BETTER FOR ME TO DIE THAN TO LIVE. THEN SAID THE LORD, DOEST THOU WELL TO BE ANGRY? SO JONAH WENT OUT OF THE CITY, AND SAT ON THE EAST SIDE OF THE CITY, AND THERE MADE HIM A BOOTH, AND SAT UNDER IT IN THE SHADOW, TILL HE MIGHT SEE WHAT WOULD BECOME OF THE CITY” (Jonah 4:1-5).

In all the times I have read the prophetic book of Jonah I have never looked at it through the lens that although the first and opening chapter describes how Jonah fled from the presence of the LORD, the fourth chapter reveals something even greater than simply fleeing from the presence of the LORD. As you read the words which are found in the final chapter of this prophetic book you will find that not only did Jonah become increasingly angry with the LORD as a direct result of His response to the actions of the Ninevites, but he would also pray unto the LORD concerning His very nature and character.

Upon reading the words found in the opening verses of the fourth chapter you will find Jonah speaking directly unto the LORD and reminding Him of why he sought to flee from His presence. In the first and opening chapter we merely find it mentioned how Jonah sought to flee from the presence of the LORD, however, it’s not until the fourth chapter we actually find out why Jonah sought to flee from His presence. It’s worth noting and pointing out that Jonah wasn’t necessarily seeking to run from that which the LORD had called him to do, and he wasn’t fleeing because he didn’t want to journey unto this great city. Nowhere in this prophetic book will you find Jonah expressing any argument with the LORD for instructing him to go unto this great city and preach against it, nor even the LORD calling him from his country that he might cry out against the wickedness of heathen and Gentiles.

Jonah’s argument wasn’t with the calling of God, but rather with the character of God. ARUGING AGAINST CHARACTER OVER CALLING! WHEN YOUR ARGUMENT IS NOT WITH YOUR CALLING BUT WITH THE CHARACTER OF GOD HIMSELF! The more you read the words found in the prophetic book of Jonah the more you will encounter the awesome reality that Jonah’s argument wasn’t with that which the LORD had called him to do, nor even with the journey the LORD had instructed him to take, but rather with the very character of the living God. Jonah had preached unto the great city of Nineveh, and the entire city experienced a revival of repentance as everyone from the king to the lowest servant repented in dust and sackcloth with fasting before the LORD, and it was the LORD’s response to that repentance that so angered Jonah.

Jonah saw how the LORD had repented Himself of the great evil He had purposed against the city, and in the opening verse of the fourth chapter we find Jonah sitting outside the city on the east side that he might watch and see what might become of this great city that was so consumed with wickedness.

It would be very easy to read the prophetic book of Jonah and think about how Jonah attempted to run from the call(ing) that was upon his life to go unto the great city of Nineveh and preach against it because of its wickedness, however, the truth of the matter is that this simply isn’t the case. The more you read this prophetic book, and the more you truly take the time to understand the words which are found and contained within it, the more you will be brought face to face with the awesome reality that Jonah did in fact attempt to run and flee from the presence of the LORD, however, there was an underlying reason behind his attempted flight from the presence of the LORD.

In fact, when Jonah was speaking with God after the entire city had repented in sackcloth, dust and ashes with fasting before the LORD, and after the LORD had repented Himself of the great evil He had purposed against the city, Jonah spoke unto the LORD and revealed the reason he was angry. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that in the first and opening chapter of this book we find Jonah attempting to flee from the presence of the LORD, while in the fourth chapter we actually find Jonah growing and becoming angry with the LORD.

The words which are found in the opening verses of the fourth chapter reveal Jonah’s anger—not necessarily with the response of the Ninevites after he had preached unto them righteousness and judgment, but because of the LORD’s response to their repentance. Jonah wasn’t angry with the response of others, but was actually angry with the response of the LORD toward the actions of this heathen and Gentile people. Oh dear reader, please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this awesome and incredible reality, for it shines an entirely different light on to what we find and read within this prophetic book. Jonah’s argument and anger with the LORD entirely and altogether surrounded and was based on His character, for it was His character that seemed to offend Job.

What’s more, is that in the fourth chapter you even get the sense that when Job was still in his country, and when the LORD first spoke to him about going unto the city of Nineveh Jonah had a conversation and dialogue with Him about His very nature and character. Notice if you will the words Jonah spoke unto the LORD in the second verse as he declared unto the LORD, saying, “Was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish.”

What so amazes me about the narrative of Jonah and his attempt to flee from the presence of the LORD—and not only his attempt to flee from the presence of the LORD, but also his argument with the LORD after Nineveh repented before the LORD with fasting, with dust, sackcloth and ashes. Jonah knew and understood the character of the LORD while still in his land, and while still in his country, and the text actually seems to indicate that Jonah wrestled with that character and nature when the LORD first spoke unto him about going unto Nineveh to cry out against it for its wickedness which went up before the LORD.

The text seems to indicate the awesome and incredible reality that Jonah knew and was aware of the character of the LORD while he was still within his country, and we almost get the sense that he sought to use the character of the LORD as the basis of his argument against going unto Nineveh. If there is one thing we must recognize and understand regarding the words found in this prophetic book it’s that Jonah was no stranger to the character of the living God, and he knew the same thing Moses knew and heard directly from the LORD as the LORD passed by him while he was in the cleft of the rock. Jonah’s words which were spoken before the LORD in the fourth chapter reveal his knowledge of the nature and character of the LORD, and it was that nature and character that Jonah actually tried using as an excuse to flee from the presence of the LORD.

Scripture reveals how Job thought and believed he could run and flee from the presence of the LORD, and yet in the fourth chapter we are brought face to face that what Job was really running from was the character of God—and not just the idea of the character of God, but actually his knowledge of the character of God. Notice if you will how in the second verse Jonah actually speaks before and declares unto the LORD that he knew tat the LORD was a gracious God, and that He was a merciful God, and that He was slow to anger, and was of great kindness, and repents Himself of evil.

Please don’t miss the awesome truth surrounding Jonah’s words and exchange between himself and the LORD, for Jonah actually reveals his intimate knowledge concerning the character of the LORD. Jonah revealed unto the LORD when speaking to Him that he knew the LORD was gracious and merciful, and knew that He was slow to anger and of great kindness, and it was that knowledge which Jonah could not justify in direct connection with the heathens and Gentiles in Nineveh.

Time and time again I have read the prophetic book of Jonah and I have thought and believed that what Jonah was running and fleeing from was the call of God which was placed upon his life, and the assignment the LORD gave him to journey unto Nineveh and cry against it because of the wickedness which went up before the LORD. The truth of the matter, however, is that Jonah wasn’t really running from the call of God upon his life as much as he was running from the character of God.

Jonah knew and understood the character of the LORD—the same character which was revealed unto Moses atop Horeb in the midst of the wilderness of Sinai—and it was that character which Jonah attempted to flee and run from. In the garden of Eden Adam and Eve attempted to hide themselves from the voice of the LORD because they realized they were naked and were ashamed, while Jonah attempted to flee from the presence of the LORD because of the character He possessed.

This is actually quite remarkable when you take the time to think about and consider it, for while Jonah was still present within his country he knew and was very much aware of the character of the LORD, and was aware of the graciousness and mercy of the LORD, and yet despite that knowledge there came a point when the character of the LORD offended the agenda—and perhaps even the character of Jonah. I sit here today and I can’t help but think about and consider the awesome reality that Jonah was very much aware of the character of the living God, and Jonah knew that character, and yet he had reached the place where the character of God offended his own character.

THE COLLISION OF THE CHARACTER OF GOD AND THE CHARACTER OF MAN!

Jonah’s flight from the presence of the LORD was a direct result of his inability to handle the collision and conflict of the character of God with his own character. In all reality, I would dare say that there are many of us who when we experience this collision and conflict between the character of God and our own character, we tend to respond just as Jonah did. Oh we do in fact know that the LORD is gracious and merciful, and we do in fact know that the LORD is slow to anger and of great kindness, and there are times when that knowledge is not only too wonderful for us, but might in fact offend our own character, and perhaps even our own agenda.

Stop for a moment and think about the fact that Jonah indicated that while he was in his own country he knew and understood the character of the LORD, and he understood the same thing Moses himself understood by revelation of the LORD at Horeb, and that knowledge was acceptable in the sight of Jonah until it entered into a place of conflict and collided with his own character. Scripture seems to indicate that Jonah would have been willing to the inhabitants of Nineveh to perish in the judgment and wrath of the LORD and the entire city to be completely and utterly destroyed.

Scripture seems to point to the fact that Jonah would have been content hearing that Nineveh had been destroyed and devastated in the face of the wrath and judgment of the LORD, and would have perhaps even reveled and marveled in it. Much to his chagrin and surprise, however—not only would the LORD instruct Jonah to go unto the city and cry out against it because of its wickedness, but the LORD would respond to their repentance and humility before Him. Pause and think about the fact that this wasn’t a Hebrew city in the land of Israel that would repent before the LORD in dust and ashes with sackcloth and fasting, but it was a heathen and Gentile city.

What’s more is that it wasn’t merely a select few within the city of Nineveh that repented before the LORD, nor was it merely the king of Nineveh who repented before the LORD of hosts, but it was the entire city. Now, we would like to think that if we experienced such success in preaching that we would be elated and ecstatic about such a marvelous and beautiful response before the LORD, however, despite the fact that the entire city of Nineveh repented before the LORD, and despite the fact that Jonah also witnessed the LORD repent Him of the evil which He purposed against this city, Jonah grew angry and offended with the LORD. It’s worth noting and pointing out that after Jonah witnessed all of Nineveh repent before the LORD, and knew the LORD had repented Himself of the evil which He had purposed against the city and its inhabitants, Jonah sat outside the wall of the city on the east side of the city that he might see what would become of the city.

One might even get the strong sense that Jonah thought for sure the LORD would judge the city of Nineveh—even in spite of their repentance before Him in sackcloth, dust and ashes. One gets the strong impression that Jonah might have even wanted the LORD to judge Nineveh rather than turning away His wrath and effectively cancelling out His judgment.

As I sit here this morning thinking about and considering the fact that while it was true the LORD sent Jonah unto Nineveh to cry out against it for all the wickedness that was present therein, it might be possible the LORD knew the inhabitants of the city would repent before Him. If we truly believe the LORD knows the end from the beginning then we have to get the sense that the LORD knew that by Jonah going unto Nineveh to preach against it because of its wickedness they would respond by repenting before Him.

There is not a doubt in my mind that when the LORD sent Jonah unto Nineveh he knew that upon hearing the word of the LORD and the declaration of impending judgment the inhabitants of the city would repent themselves of their wickedness, and would indeed humble themselves before the LORD. The question I can’t help but ask myself as I sit here this morning is whether or not Jonah was sent unto Nineveh to cry out against it because of its wickedness because the LORD not only knew they would repent before Him of that wickedness, but also as a witness against the house of Israel.

Is it possible that that the LORD would send one of His own people unto this heathen and Gentile city to preach and cry out against the wickedness therein because He wanted to have a demonstration unto the house of Israel concerning the repentance of Nineveh, but their refusal to repent before Him, and their refusal to turn themselves once more to the LORD would bring judgment against and upon them. It’s actually quite intriguing to think about and consider how the LORD would send one of His own unto a heathen and Gentile city to cry out against the wickedness therein, and they would respond to the preaching of Jonah and repent in sackcloth and ashes before the LORD.

This heathen and Gentile city would hear the preaching of the word of the LORD, and they would hear a warning of impending judgment and wrath, and it would so shake them that the entire city would repent in dust and ashes. What’s more, is that this repentance would start at the very top of the city of Nineveh with the king, and it would be the king who would call the city to repentance before the LORD. Jonah went a day’s journey into the city and proclaimed the word of the LORD, and when the word of the LORD reached the king’s ear he would issue a decree that no would eat anything until they saw what the LORD would do unto them. It might be that perhaps the LORD would repent and relent Himself of the great judgment and wrath He purposed against this great city.

The more I read and consider the words found in this prophetic book the more I can’t help but be directly confronted with the awesome and incredible reality of this heathen and Gentile city which did not worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob hearing the word of the LORD prophesied and proclaimed by this Hebrew, and it would shake the entire city to its core—and so much so that they would turn themselves to the LORD, and would repent of the great wickedness found in the midst of them.

There is a part of me that wonders if the LORD sent Jonah unto Nineveh as an indictment against the house of Israel much like the LORD would send the apostle Paul and the apostles unto the Gentiles as an indictment against the Jewish people during the days after the Messiah had come, died on the cross, was buried in the grave, raised to life on the third day, and ascended unto the right hand of the Father forty days later.

I can’t help but see a direct link and connection between Jonah being sent unto the Gentiles in the Old Testament and the apostle Paul being sent unto the Gentiles—and both because of the rejection of the Jewish people of that which was right before them. The house of Israel rejected the word of the LORD and the prophets whom the LORD raised up before them, and almost as a direct result the LORD would raise up one of their own and send them unto a heathen and Gentile city preaching repentance and warning of judgment and wrath. Jonah’s being sent unto the Gentiles in the days of the Old Covenant was not that much different from the apostle Paul together with the other apostles being sent unto the Gentiles in the days of the early church because of their rejection of the physical person of the Messiah, as well as their rejection of the apostles and their teaching concerning the Messiah.

It’s interesting and worth noting that what ultimately drove the apostle Paul unto the Gentiles was the persecution of the Jewish people in response to his preaching of the gospel—and not merely their rejection of the preaching of the gospel, but also their continued rejection concerning the Messiah.

I sit here today thinking about and considering the narrative surrounding Jonah, and I can’t help but get the strong sense that Jonah was a Hebrew who was called of the LORD to preach righteousness and warn of judgment in a heathen and Gentile city. What’s more, is that Jonah might have had an idea or suspicion that the Ninevites would respond to the preaching of the word of the LORD and would repent before the LORD.

We certainly know that he was very much aware of the character of the LORD, and it was the character of the LORD which offended Jonah and caused him to flee from the presence of the LORD of hosts. With that being said, it’s actually quite interesting and astounding to think about and consider the awesome truth that the LORD would send one of His own people unto a heathen and Gentile city that he might preach righteousness unto them—and not only preach righteousness unto them, but also quite possibly provoke the house of Israel as well.

It’s worth noting and pointing out that Jonah would go unto the heathen and Gentile city of Nineveh, would preach unto them the word of the LORD, and would experience them repenting before the LORD with fasting, with dust and ashes, and with sackcloth. What’s more, is that the city of Nineveh would respond more to the word of the LORD than the house of Israel had, and would even do. We know that ultimately the house of Israel would be invaded by the Assyrians, and how the house of Israel would be carried away captive into the nations and lands within the Assyrian empire.

What’s more, is that at the very heart of the Assyrian Empire would be its capital city of Nineveh which would experience the preaching of the word of the LORD—and would not only experience the preaching of the word of the LORD, but would also repent before the LORD in dust and ashes. Imagine what it might have been like for Jonah to preach judgment to this heathen and Gentile city knowing what he knew about the character and nature of the living God, and he not only witnessed the repentance of the entire city, but he also witnessed the repentance of the LORD concerning the evil He had purposed against it.

It would be this repentance of the LORD which would offend Jonah—even knowing what he did about the character and nature of the LORD—and it would be this repentance and turning of the LORD that would cause Jonah to become angry with the LORD. What a tremendous turn of events would take place within the prophetic book of Jonah, as Jonah would preach to an entire city concerning the coming judgment of the LORD and would witness an entire city from the king who sat upon the throne to the lowest servant repenting before the LORD in dust and ashes.

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close it is quite remarkable to consider the awesome reality that the LORD would raise up a Hebrew from the house of Israel and sent him unto a heathen and Gentile city to preach judgment and repentance—perhaps as a means of provocation to the house of Israel concerning their own failure and refusal to repent before the LORD. I can’t help but wonder if the LORD would have sent Jonah unto Nineveh—to this capital and chief city—to preach judgment and righteousness to it as a means to provoke the house of Israel concerning the words and warnings which they received.

We know that in the New Testament the apostle Peter would be the first of the apostles who would be sent unto the Gentiles to preach the gospel of the kingdom, and it would be unto the house of Cornelius that not only was the gospel preached, but also the Holy Spirit was poured out filling them all. We know that the apostle Paul would ultimately become and be known as “the apostle unto the Gentiles,” for it would be he who would engage on three missionary journeys into Asia and Europe that he might establish churches among the Gentiles.

What’s more, is that when writing unto the saints which were at Rome the apostle Paul would speak about the grafting in of the Gentiles during a period of time when the Jews would reject the Messiah, as well as the gospel and good news concerning the Messiah. We know that we are living in the times of the Gentiles right now, and that many Jews still reject Jesus as the Messiah, thus continuing the rejection that began more than two thousand years ago. When we read the prophetic book of Jonah we find a Hebrew being sent unto this heathen and Gentile city to preach judgment against and before it, and almost being sent to preach to a city that was ripe for repentance as a sign, as a witness and as a testimony against the house of Israel. Perhaps it is for this reason why Jesus declared that the generation of Ninevites which were present during the days of Jonah would rise up in judgment against the generation during Jesus’ day because they repented at the preaching of Jonah.

Nineveh would repent at the preaching of Jonah while the house of Israel would not only choose not to repent before the LORD, but would also continue to turn their hearts further and further away from the LORD until they were ultimately swept away in the judgment of the LORD. Jesus indicted the generation that was present during the days He walked upon the earth for there was one greater than Jonah who was walking among them, and yet they not only rejected the Messiah, but also refused to humble themselves before Him in repentance.

Pause and think about the awesome and incredible reality that Jonah preaching judgment unto the inhabitants of Nineveh would have been a direct provocation of the house of Israel—and perhaps not merely a provocation, but also an indictment against them of the voices of all the prophets which the LORD had raised up among them to warn them, to sound the alarm, and to preach repentance before the LORD. Despite the countless voices the house of Israel would have among them in their midst they would harden their hearts and close their ears to the preaching of the prophets, and as a result they would find themselves hurdling toward judgment before the LORD.

Jonah’s preaching to the city of Nineveh would be an example how a people should respond to the word of the LORD, and how the house of Israel should have responded to the message of the prophets. The city of Nineveh would in essence indict and condemn the house of Israel during that generation for their rejection of the word of the LORD and the voices of the prophets who were spoken among them. What’s more, is that that the grafting in of the Gentiles, the preaching of the apostle Paul and the other apostles unto the Gentiles during the days of the early church would be a tremendous indictment against the Jewish people—not only for their rejection of the Messiah when He walked among them, but also when the apostles preached the gospel and good news concerning the Messiah.

The underlying question(s) we must ask ourselves when reading the prophetic book of Jonah is whether or not we are such who are somehow offended with the character of God because His nature and character offends us. Moreover, we must ask ourselves if we are those who when hearing the word of the LORD being preached, spoken and delivered unto us respond with humility, with brokenness, with submission and with surrender. Jonah was sent unto the city of Nineveh to preach judgment before and unto the inhabitants therein, and they would respond to the LORD by repenting in sackcloth, in dust and ashes.

We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome and incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss the incredible importance surrounding the book of Jonah and this man who attempted to flee from the presence of the LORD—and not just fleeing from the presence of the LORD, but the divine nature and character of the LORD when it went against what he believed within his own heart and soul.

https://emotionalpeace.wordpress.com/2020/09/23/running-from-the-character-of-god-offended-by-his-nature/

Running From the Character of God & Offended By His Nature