The people of Nineveh believed God. - Jonah 3:5a (NCV)
It had been nearly three days since the storm washed Bill and Robert over board and the rescue chopper that had been flying over the area was calling it quits claiming the Bermuda Triangle got them. In the mean time Helen and Martha were getting very worried. but they really didn't need to for God had everything under control
On the island where Bill and Robert had washed ashore, the natives had taken the guys to a nearby hut and brought them some food and drink. "What's this?" Robert asked as he looked at the awful smelling stuff in front of him."I don't care." Bill replied as he started shoving it in his mouth. "It's food and I'm starving." Reluctantly Robert ate too.
After they had been eating awhile a little boy asked them what happened or at least that's what Bill and Robert thought he asked. Not sure if the people understood English Bill and Robert tried to act out the story of how they ended up on the island. As they acted out their story a crowd gathered and thinking they were comedians they laughed and laughed and laughed.
Finally, on of the natives hollered out "You guys are hilarious!" When Bill heard that, he stopped and turned to Robert "They speak English." he told him. "Yeah, I heard." Robert and stopped his acting as well. "Do you guys speak English too?" another native asked. "Of course we do." Bill told them. "Than what's with all the acting?" the native asked.
"We didn't know anyone spoke English on this island and we were trying to tell how we got washed overboard and ended up here." "Than why don't you tell us." the native hinted and the crown got silent. "I'll go first." Bill said as he looked at Robert and than proceeded to tell how they went on a cruise and were going to try and catch a shark. When Bill got to the part about the storm, Robert took over and told how it was his fault they got washed overboard trying to see the Bermuda Triangle.
As they told about their time in the water and the troubles they had the people listened with great interest. "How did you survive all of that?" one of the natives asked. "It was God who helped us to survive" Bill answered, "It was God who saved us." When Robert heard Bill say that he got an idea. "Just like God saved us," Robert said, "He wants to save you - not from the ocean but something even worse."
"That's right!" came a familiar sounding voice from somewhere in the crowd. As the guys looked around to see who had said that, Randy appeared. "Who wants to be saved?" Randy called out and hand after hand went up. "If God can save those two guys, He can save us." Someone said and than Randy started baptizing people into Christ and by the time he was done nearly a hundred people had been saved.
After Jonah had entered the city and walked for one day, he preached to the people, saying, “After forty days, Nineveh will be destroyed!“ The people of Nineveh believed God. They announced that they would stop eating for a while, and they put on rough cloth to show their sadness. All the people in the city did this, from the most important to the least important. When the king of Nineveh heard this news, he got up from his throne, took off his robe, and covered himself with rough cloth and sat in ashes to show how upset he was. He sent this announcement through Nineveh: By command of the king and his important men: No person or animal, herd or flock, will be allowed to taste anything. Do not let them eat food or drink water. But every person and animal should be covered with rough cloth, and people should cry loudly to God. Everyone must turn away from evil living and stop doing harm all the time. Who knows? Maybe God will change his mind. Maybe he will stop being angry, and then we will not die. When God saw what the people did, that they stopped doing evil, he changed his mind and did not do what he had warned. He did not punish them.
Jonah 3:4-10 (NCV)
In this chapter Jonah we find Jonah deciding he better obey God and when he does something great happens - the people of Nineveh repent, but unfortunately too many people are just like Jonah Now that may sound funny because we see Jonah doing what God told him to do and we see the great results but all too often we don't do what God tells us to do and we don't see the results because we become hindrances, we get in the way - something that is frowned upon in the Bible
- Romans 14:13 - So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall. (NLT)
- 1 Corinthians 8:9 - Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. (NIV)
- Luke 11:52 - "Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering." (NIV)
- Mark 9:42 - "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea. (NAS)
So what happens when we get out of God's way, when we quit being a hindrance to God's work and do what God would have us to do? From Jonah's example we can see several things that happened
- The Ninevehites believed God.
- The Ninevehites changed their ways
- The Ninevehites cried out to God
- The Ninevehites were saved from destruction
When Jesus left the earth he told his disciples to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation" Mark 16:15. God wanted the Gospel spread around the world so that all could be saved but people were not going into all the world, they were hanging around Jerusalem. God sent persecution and the people started moving and the Gospel spread.
Here's Something to Ponder
- Are you hindering God's work?
- Is God working through you?