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

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

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

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

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


‘Never Give Up Your Faith in Jesus’, Indian Christian Man Tells Wife Before Mob Murders Him

Steve Warren

KandeMudu
Kande Mudu. (Image credit: Christian Solidarity Worldwide)

The persecution of Christians in India is on the rise with a report of one believer being murdered for his faith by Hindu radicals in his own village.

According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Kande Mudu, 27, was attacked and murdered by a group of armed men in the Khunti district of India’s Jharkhand state on June 7. He had converted to Christianity four years ago.

Mudu’s family were the only Christians living in their village. They had faced threats to their lives and had survived one violent attack on their home two years ago.

Mudu was killed when the mob showed up at his house, broke down the front door, and attacked him with weapons. During the brutal attack, his throat was cut.

Bindu Mudu, Mudu’s wife, told CSW, “After hearing the men at the front door, my husband knew that our lives were in danger and that the men had bad intentions.”

Mudu then reportedly told his wife, “He might be killed but assured her to remain strong and never to give up her faith in Jesus even if they killed him.”

Bindu Mudu and the couple’s two daughters fled the village after her husband’s murder since none of their neighbors would give them shelter.

The police investigation into Mudu’s murder is ongoing. No suspects have been arrested in his killing.

“Our deepest prayers and condolences go out to Mr. Mudu’s wife, Bindu, and his family for the loss of a husband, father, and son. Mr. Mudu was murdered on account of his faith. We at CSW are increasingly concerned by the relentless harassment, discrimination, and suffering that Christians in India face, simply for exercising their right to practice a religion that is different from the majority of their fellow citizens. India’s constitution clearly states that ‘all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion,'” said CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas.

“The culture of hatred towards religious minorities and the impunity which surrounds attacks against them is rampantly spreading across India. This must be addressed urgently and we urge the authorities in Jharkhand and the central government to develop a plan of action. Christians and other religious minorities must feel safe and be able to live in their homes and have livelihoods as equal citizens without fear of violence or harassment from any segment of the community,” Thomas concluded.

Ninth Indian State to Pass Law Allowing Radical Hindu Groups to Attack and Intimidate Christians

Meanwhile, India’s Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said the state government of Haryana would implement a bill against religious conversion by force, marriages, or through inducement for the specific purpose of adopting a religion.

International Christian Concern (ICC) reports Haryana will become the 9th Indian state to pass this law in the legislative assembly, empowering Hindu radicals to attack and intimidate Christians in the region.

Eight state governments have not defined the terms “inducement,” “coercion,” “force,” or “fraud” in the context of religious conversions. Due to this legal ambiguity, these laws have been widely abused and empowers radical Hindu nationalist groups to attack and intimidate Christian minorities claiming to be acting under the state law.

The chief minister said that various steps were being taken by the government to maintain the brotherhood and social harmony among communities. However, this bill will divide the people of Haryana who lived in unity for ages, according to the ICC.

https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2020/june/he-took-care-of-me-i-took-care-of-him-retired-navy-seal-writes-book-honoring-his-service-dog

AUDIO The Dummies Missed Christmas

By Rev Bill Woods

Hebrews 9:27-28 (NLT2)
27  And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment,
28  so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.

It was Christmas in Bethlehem—THE VERY 1ST CHRISTMAS—THE CHRISTMAS THAT STARTED ALL CHRISTMASES!

Such a wonderful event was too much for Heaven to hold back!

    – An Angel choir broke through the mystic, intervening veil and burst into joyous caroling.

What Praise those shepherds must’ve heard!

    – There’s never been such a concert before or since.- Think how it must’ve sounded echoing through sky and valley, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

BUT HISTORY’S MOST WONDERFUL EVENT PASSED ALMOST UNNOTICED!

    – The multitudes slept through that wonderful night.

There are 4 things to notice about this wonderful event:

1.  THE WORLD MISSED ITS 1ST CHRISTMAS.

2.  MANY SHOULD HAVE RECOGNIZED IT WAS CHRISTMAS.

3.  WHY THEY MISSED IT.

4.  THAT CHRISTMAS IS A LOT LIKE WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY.

1.  THE WORLD MISSED ITS 1ST CHRISTMAS!

    – Only a few people even knew it was Christmas — 12 or 15 at the most!

      – The rest of the people slept through that wonderful night.

It’s easy to get so set in our routines that we miss many wonderful things around us.

    – When we lived in Grand Coulee it was the dam.

      – When we lived in the Columbia Gorge it was Multnomah Falls and all the other falls and spectacular views.

        – In Seattle it was the Space Needle, MT. Rainier, and the Puget Sound.

Fletcher Spruce told about his visit to Bethlehem.

    – To him it was a moment never to be forgotten while to the men who lived there it was nothing special.

There were several thousand in Bethlehem and hundreds of thousands in Palestine.

    – Only a few shepherds, a few wise men, and 2 old prayed-up saints knew anything out of the ordinary was happening.

2.  MANY SHOULD HAVE RECOGNIZED IT WAS FINALLY CHRISTMAS.

They should’ve been watching for Him.

 – The Jews had the books of Moses and the writings of the prophets.

– They’d been taught to respect and study these writing since they were children.

        – They were to teach them to their children.

Genesis told about man’s fall into sin and God’s Promise to send a Messiah to bruise the serpent’s head.

They knew the Promise given to Abraham—“In thee and in thy seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed.”

They had the record of Jacob’s special blessing given to his son Judah. —Genesis 49:10 —The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will honor.

Isaiah had written — Isaiah 7:14 — All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).

    – He lived in a dark day, but could see beyond that and wrote

 Isaiah 9:6 — For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7  His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!

The Prophet, Micah, named the very town where the Messiah would be born — Micah 5:2– But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.

Daniel gave the time of the Messiah’s coming. — Daniel 9:25– Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler—the Anointed One—comes. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses, despite the perilous times.

Even if there was some uncertainty of the exact date, the time was so near that the Jews should’ve been on the alert.— 483 years.- We know they had access to that information because they looked it up for Herod.

3.  WHY THEY MISSED IT?

    – How were they so blind that they didn’t recognize Jesus, their Messiah?

The Scribes and Pharisees missed Him because they’d substituted legalism for spirituality, and ceremonialism for vital experience.

    – They were self-righteous and complacent and didn’t feel a need of a Savior……

THEY MISSED HIM BECAUSE THEY WEREN’T LOOKING FOR HIM!

The Innkeeper missed Him because of material interests……………………

    – Millions today are missing Christmas for the same reason.

Wicked old Herod said he was interested in finding Jesus (tell story).

    – Herod didn’t find Him because of selfishness and insincerity.

What made the difference between those who found and those who didn’t find the Savior?

Simeon and Anna found Baby Jesus because they were looking for Him.

    – Faith is the key if we are to find Christ — FAITH IN GOD!

If we’re to find the true meaning of Christmas we must get beyond the $ Billions commercialized, tension-filled holiday season that the average non-Christian celebrates.

The shepherds found Jesus because of their simplicity and humility.

    – God loves simplicity and sincerity.

      – God hates sophistication and pretense.

        – Door to the Nativity is so low that everyone has to bow to get in.

The Wise Men found Jesus because they were willing to seek Him.

Mary found Christmas by an unquestioning submission to God’s Will and Purpose.

It’s God’s Greatest Gift to men that made Christmas — God expressing His Love and forgiveness to all who will accept it!

God revealed His fathomless Love through a Person, His Son.

    – Lady at Home Depot saying “Without Christ, what are they celebrating?”

The true spirit of Christmas is a spirit of unselfish giving — Jesus gave His all!

    – Too often our giving is calculated on what we can get back………….

4.  THAT 1ST CHRISTMAS WAS A LOT LIKE TODAY!

With all the Bible warnings of Christ’s 1st coming, most people missed it.

Scripture warns He’s coming again.

    – I HOPE WE DON’T MISS IT!

     –  578 references to 2nd Coming in the Bible. 

       – 260 in the Old Testament and 218 in the New Testament.

          – Christ’s return is mentioned 50 times in the Epistles.

            – 1 out of every 23 verses in the Bible mentions His return.

There are indications that suggest Christ’s return to restore Israel and establish His millennial reign may be in the very near future. These are:
    – Israel’s return to the Land Promised to Her.
     – Lawlessness is abounding.
      -Apostasy will be well entrenched.
       – A Religious appetite for an ecumenical one world church.
         – The rapid physical decline of the world via: war, earthquakes, and potential human annihilation of which all will require Christ’s return before these events run their determined course and bring the world to an end.

While it is true, that many awful things are happening today… they don’t compare to the awful things that will happen during the Great Tribulation.

Matthew 24:21 (NLT2)
21  For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again.

Revelation 1:7– Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him— even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen!

Revelation 22:12-13: “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

Peter speaks of His coming and warns about scoffers

2 Peter 3:3 — Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires.

James 5:8 — You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.

Paul says — 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 —
13  And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.
14  For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.
15  We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.
16  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves.
17  Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.
18  So encourage each other with these words.

1 Corinthians 15:51-53 —
51  But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed!
52  It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.
53  For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.

Jesus came the 1st time over 2000 years ago just like God said He would and most people missed it.

    – God’s said He’s coming a 2nd time — most people will miss that one too.

Twas the Night Before Jesus Came                                                  

‘Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house
Not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care
In hopes that Jesus would not come there.

The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.

When out of the East there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was The matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!

When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray
I knew in a moment this must be The Day!

The light of His face made me cover my head
It was Jesus! Returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.

In the Book of Life which He held in His Hand
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said “It’s not here” My head hung in shame!

The people whose names had been written with love
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound
While all the rest were left standing around.

I fell to my knees, but it was too late;
I had waited too long and this sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight;
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.

In the words of this poem the meaning is clear;
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There’s only one life and when comes the last call
We’ll find that the Bible was true after ALL!

Only those who are watching will know it happened and go to be with Him.

THE DUMMIES WERE SO PRE-OCCUPIED THAT THEY MISSED THE FIRST CHRISTMAS AND THE DUMMIES TODAY WILL MISS HIS SECOND COMING AND BE LEFT BEHIND!

WHAT ABOUT YOU?


PODCAST:THE DUMMIES MISSED CHRISTMAS

https://www.buzzsprout.com/824359/6538966



What happens when you trust God with all your heart?

August 6, 2020 Nehemiah Zion

Do you trust God with all your heart? Can you ever imagine trusting any man with all your heart? You have only one heart. So, it’s a clear choice.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5,6)

Can I survive if I do not trust man?

We are fragile human beings, emotionally weak. The crippling effect of sin caused a deadly damage to our emotions too. Sin destroyed our ability to believe good. Who is good? Only God is good. Sin corrupted us to believe lies, fake news, gossip, etc. easily. Think how fake “forwards” have caused much chaos in the world today.

When a loved one passes away, many are often lost for years. Rather than be happy for them who went to be in the Lord, many stay buried in deep sadness and in a state of loss. Trusting in God fuels our faith.

God desires we love all, but trust Him alone.

God directs our hearts to trust when necessary (Psalms 37:23).

Those who trust God never fear evil news

He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. (Psalms 112:7)

When Daniel heard he was going to be cut into pieces, he did not fear. Instead he went to the king asked for some time so he could ask God to reveal the king’s dream. His trust in God enabled him to receive the interpretation and reveal the dream too, saving many lives.

I thought I’d share more examples, then realised this word is good enough for today’s post considering the times we are in. All we hear is bad news. Evil news.

God gifted us the good news in Jesus Christ by grace. Now is the time for the world to turn to Jesus. To hear the good news of the gospel. To hear about the Saviour who still saves all those who seek Him. His precious blood gives us victory over sin, sickness, fear and death!

What a loving Father, what amazing love! Dear reader, Jesus is real. He is alive and desires your heart. All those who seek Him will find Him. Call out to Him, He will hear you. It’s a love you’ve never experienced ever.

What happens when you trust God with all your heart?

R.C Sproul: Preaching Christ

“The ‘kerygma’ is the essential proclamation of the life, death, resurrection, ascension, and rule of Jesus Christ, as well as a call to conversion and repentance.”

The church of the twenty-first century faces many crises. One of the most serious is the crisis of preaching. Widely diverse philosophies of preaching vie for acceptance among contemporary clergy. Some see the sermon as a fireside chat; others, as a stimulus for psychological health; still others, as a commentary on contemporary politics. But some still view the exposition of sacred Scripture as a necessary ingredient to the office of preaching. In light of these views, it is always helpful to go to the New Testament to seek or glean the method and message found in the biblical record of apostolic preaching.

In the first instance, we must distinguish between two types of preaching. The first has been called kerygma; the second, didache. This distinction refers to the difference between proclamation (kerygma) and teaching or instruction (didache). It seems that the strategy of the apostolic church was to win converts by means of the proclamation of the gospel. Once people responded to that gospel, they were baptized and received into the visible church. They then underwent a regular, systematic exposure to the teaching of the apostles, through regular preaching (homilies) and in particular groups of catechetical instruction.

In the initial outreach to the Gentile community, the apostles did not go into great detail about Old Testament redemptive history. That knowledge was assumed among Jewish audiences, but it was not held among the Gentiles. Nevertheless, even to the Jewish audiences, the central emphasis of the evangelistic preaching was on the announcement that the Messiah had come and ushered in God’s kingdom.

If we take time to examine the sermons of the apostles that are recorded in the book of Acts, we see a somewhat common and familiar structure to them. In this analysis, we can discern the apostolic kerygma, the basic proclamation of the gospel. Here the focus in the preaching was on the person and work of Jesus. The gospel itself was called the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is about Him; it involves the proclamation and declaration of what He accomplished in His life, in His death, and in His resurrection. After the details of His death, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of God were preached, the apostles called the people to be converted to Christ — to repent of their sins and receive Christ by faith.

When we seek to extrapolate from these examples how the apostolic church did evangelism, we must ask: What is appropriate for the transfer of apostolic principles of preaching to the contemporary church? Some churches believe that a person is required to preach the gospel or to communicate the kerygma in every sermon preached. This view sees the emphasis in Sunday morning preaching as one of evangelism, of proclaiming the gospel.

Many preachers today, however, say they are preaching the gospel on a regular basis when in some cases they have never preached the gospel at all, because what they call the gospel is not the message of the person and work of Christ and how His accomplished work and its benefits can be appropriated to the individual by faith. Rather, the gospel of Christ is exchanged for therapeutic promises of a purposeful life or having personal fulfillment by coming to Jesus. In messages such as these, the focus is on us rather than on Him.

On the other hand, in looking at the pattern of worship in the early church, we see that the weekly assembly of the saints involved a coming together for worship, fellowship, prayer, the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and devotion to the teaching of the apostles. If we were there, we would see that the apostolic preaching covered the whole of redemptive history and the sum of divine revelation, not being restricted simply to the evangelistic kerygma.

So, again, the kerygma is the essential proclamation of the life, death, resurrection, ascension, and rule of Jesus Christ, as well as a call to conversion and repentance. It is this kerygma that the New Testament indicates is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). There can be no acceptable substitute for it. When the church loses her kerygma, she loses her identity.

https://www.sermoncentral.com/pastors-preaching-articles/sermoncentral-r-c-sproul-preaching-christ-1371