Big Fish…Big Attitude – An Answered Prayer

10 God saw what they were doing—that they had ceased their evil behavior. So God stopped planning to destroy them, and he didn’t do it (Jonah 3:10, Common English Bible).

Yesterday, when we left off with our story, the giant fish had beached Jonah. He went around Nineveh proclaiming that divine destruction was on the horizon.

Jonah got their attention. The people started listening and started changing. What was most important, however, was the king was listening. This lowly prophet that went around town smelling like fish and proclaiming that God was angry and about to enter a period of divine destruction. The great city of Nineveh would be completely destroyed. Nothing would be left.

I am not certain why God would want them to know what was coming. Think about it, when Jesus came, one of his favorite things to do after a miracle was, “Now don’t tell anyone how this happened.”

Really, I do know why God would give the people a warning. He wanted them to do exactly what they did. God loved the people enough to warn them in hopes they would turn around. Remember, in Genesis, God was willing to relent on Sodom and Gomorrah if there was at least one righteous person there. There was not. Destruction followed.  Here, again, God is saying to a group of people who were far from the intent and will of God, and once again, God threatened destruction. Maybe this time would be different. Maybe this time the people would change. That is exactly what happened.

My guess is, repentance came because the king pressed the issue with the people. “Go home. Put on sac cloth and sit in the ashes and pray. Then maybe God will relent and not destroy us.” The king himself did what he was telling the people to do. Everyone was praying.

And, our very short lesson for today, tells us, God did notice and decided not to destroy the city. For Nineveh, God didn’t follow through on threats of destruction.

This part of the story reminds me of another verse of Scripture “…if my people who belong to me will humbly pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive them of their sin, and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, Common English Bible).

While God did not say the words of 2 Chronicles to the people of Nineveh, to me it is clearly the God’s intent to push them, if possible, toward repentance. God did forgive them and their was a healing to their land.

It seems to me that our land could use a touch of divine healing as well. I doubt anyone would argue, we have problems. The biggest problem we have is, at least some of the time, it would seem we have forgotten how to love. It is our biggest fault because Jesus tells us it is part of the most important commandment.

God lived out the promise made at Nineveh. God will do the same for us and our society. What is necessary? To humble ourselves before God and pray God will see and treat us as God treated the people of Nineveh.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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