Title: Lord! Change me to be like you!
Speaker: Rev. David Lai
Translated by Yi-Leng Chen
Scripture: Jonah 3:1-10; Romans 1: 16
The Book of Jonah tells the story of a Hebrew prophet named Jonah ben Amittai. God calls Jonah to proclaim judgment to Nineveh (/ˈnɪnɪvə/), but Jonah resists and attempts to flee so he doesn’t have to complete his holy mission.
He goes to Joppa and boards a ship bound for Tarshish. God creates a mighty storm while they are at sea. The ship’s crew eventually threw Jonah overboard. A great sea creature, a great fish (or whale), sent by God, swallows Jonah. For three days and three nights Jonah was imprisoned inside the fish’s belly.
Jonah eventually says a prayer, repenting for his disobedience and he thanks God for His mercy. God speaks to the fish, which vomits out Jonah safely on dry land. After his rescue, Jonah obeys the call to prophesy against Nineveh, and they repent and God forgives them.
- When the call of God came to him, Jonah could not see beyond his own selfish desire for God to punish the Assyrians. Before Jonah could relay God’s message and change the life of others, he had to be broken and changed by God.
- Roman 1:16
It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. Jonah was convinced in a powerful way that all salvation comes from the Lord (Jonah 2:9).
We learned three things from Jonah 3:1-10
- First thing: Arose and went. Before, when God said those same words, “he arose and fled;” now, after he was broken and changed by God, “he arose and went.”
- For those whose life was changed by God, besides prayers, take action to carry out God’s mission!
- God wanted Jonah’s actions and his heart. He wants ours as well. For those whose life was changed by God, we will need to align our desires with God’s.
Let’s pray to our God:
O Lord, change me to be like you.
Outlines of the Book of Jonah:
Jonah Flees His Mission (chs. 1-2)
- Jonah’s Commission and Flight (1:1-3)
- The Endangered Sailors Cry to Their gods (1:4-6)
- Jonah’s Disobedience Exposed (1:7-10)
- Jonah’s punishment and Deliverance (1:11-2:1;2:10)
- His Prayer of Thanksgiving (2:2-9)
Jonah Reluctantly fulfills His Mission (chs. 3-4)
- Jonah’s Renewed Commission and Obedience (3:1-4)
- The Endangered Ninevites’ Repentant Appeal to the Lord (3:5-9)
- The Ninevites’ Repentance Acknowledged (3:10-4:4)
- Jonah’s Deliverance and Rebuke (4:5-11)