4 Jonah started into the city, walking one day, and he cried out, “Just forty days more and Nineveh will be overthrown!” 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God. They proclaimed a fast and put on mourning clothes, from the greatest of them to the least significant (Jonah 3:4-5, Common English Bible).
How easy it would be to just not listen. Here is this crazy man who seriously smells like dead fish, walking around town, shouting out to anyone who would listen, “Just forty days more and Nineveh will be overthrown.” How easy would it have been to say, “He isn’t a prophet, he’s a crazy man?”
That happened more than once in the pages of the Old Testament. It is why Sodom and Gomorrah fell. They were warned. They were warned more than once. Abraham was told if he could find one person in Sodom and Gomorrah who was righteous, a person who believed and would follow God the cities would be saved.
It happened in the New Testament. There should be no question, these guys were far more interested in following the law than following God. Again, these guys had multiple ways and times they could turn things around. Some actually did. There was Nicodemus and Joseph. Both were Pharisees and both chose to listen. We also should not forget about Paul. Talk about a change in someone. God grabbed Paul and nothing in his life would ever be the same. Being willing to listen to God changed EVERYTHING in Paul’s life.
It happens in our own lives. Some listen. Others of us fall well short. When one reads Chuck Colson’s story, it is easy to see both sides of this. By his own admission, Colson, a Watergate conspirator, would do just about anything in the name of power. Then he was caught. Then his life started to crumble around him. Everything changed. Even in Federal prison he knew things were different.
When Jonah went walking around Nineveh, the people did more than listen, laugh, and walk away. Most of us would do just that. That is the way respond, not some of the time when someone claims to have a prophetic voice and are calling people to change, but all the time. Some of these people might just have heard a word from God. Not all, but some of them. Yet we tend not to listen to any of them. Sometimes I think it is because we don’t like what we here. We would rather continue on with the way we do things. Change is hard and its easier not to listen.
The people of Nineveh knew what they were doing, the way they were living was wrong. They knew it was not the way God called on them to live. They knew they needed to change their lives. They knew they were hearing the voice of God.
Perhaps what we need most to do is to really listen for the voice of God. Then, when we hear that voice (I have posted before on this topic), respond as God instructs us. When we do that we will change our lives. When we do that we will change the world.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thanksgiving,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved