20 Norman Spencer Dr
Auckland 2104, NZ

Jonah 3 – How To Experience God 约拿书 3 – 如何经历神

Jonah 3 – How To Experience God

Thursday, 2nd March 2023

Rev Daniel Xi An Poon

In the beginning of the Book of Jonah, he did not listen to God when God told him to go to Nineveh. We are unsure why he went the opposite direction, but we know that Nineveh was a wicked city, and Jonah might be thinking that they would not change their wicked ways, no matter how much he preached. Jonah might have many negative thoughts about God’s calling, and that’s why he left the desert and went to the sea. But Jonah also knew that he could not run away from God, because He is the God of Heaven and Earth. Jonah was unable to listen to God, he was unable to experience God, instead, he went to the opposite direction of God. Jonah fell asleep and he gave up on himself.

Are we also like this sometimes? We know what we should do, but we walk the opposite direction. We know God’s Will for us, but we choose to be rebellious. God enabled Jonah to be swallowed by a fish, a place full of darkness, a place of horrible smell, a place of death… but when he was really alone, when he could not do anything else, then he started to pray and his life changed. When Jonah humbled himself and submitted to God, he experienced God.

Section One V1-3 Arise and Go

V1-2 ‘Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.”’ When God first called Jonah, he was not able to arise and go, he could not go to the place of the enemy and the place of wickedness. But after Jonah was in the stomach of the fish, he prayed and he repented, so God gave him another chance. God is also giving us another chance, this is the time when the darkness covers the earth, and the deep darkness covers the people, but God is talking to us again. In the past, we might not want to listen, we might not believe, and we might want to give up, but now as we are having our 40-day fast and pray, God is talking to us again, calling us to Him again, and waiting for us to take this second chance.

Are we really praying and fasting with a repenting heart? Are we really praying with humility and submission, to lay down our own right, and to let God take over? Do we hear God’s Word today instead of our own voices? We don’t have many days to go until the end of the 40-day praying and fasting, but Jonah only needed 3 days and 3 nights, so there is still a chance for us, do not give up, but to use the right attitude to fast and pray and God’s Word will come to us again. God has given Jonah a direction, He told Jonah exactly what he had to do. God will talk to us today, He will reveal His Way to us, let us also arise and go.

V3 ‘So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent.’ It’s a long way to go to Nineveh, and this time Jonah was willing to submit. He would not say what he wanted to say but what God wanted him to say. Therefore, he arose and went.

Section Two V4-9 Declare the Word of God

V4 ‘And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”’ When Jonah began to enter the city of Nineveh, he declared the Word of God. After we decided to follow God, after we arose and went, what would be the words we speak to people? God will put us in front of people, so what do we say? We must be careful with what we say and not to trip over people. It was not an easy thing for Jonah to do, because the people of Nineveh were worriers and powerful people, and Jonah was a small prophet. Furthermore, he would not want to say it out loud, he would not want to attract attention, and he would not want to offend the people of Nineveh. Sometimes when we do what God tells us to do, our physical body followed, but our heart might be rebellious, and our mind might be unwilling.

V5-6 ‘So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes.’ Even though Jonah was unwilling, but God still worked His miracles, the people of Nineveh heard and believed in God. They started praying and fasting, they humbled themselves and submitted themselves to God. It was not planned, it was not a human act, but it was God’s revival coming to the people who were willing.

V7 ‘And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water.’ The people of Nineveh heard, submitted, prayed, and put on their sackcloth. Putting on the sackcloth represented putting death to oneself. Revival comes from ourselves, life can affect life, do we also have this heart and mind to declare the Word of God?

V8-9 ‘But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?’ Can we also arise and go in our unwillingness? Can we also declare the Word of God in our unwillingness? Jonah was unwilling but he still do what God told him to do, then the whole city of Nineveh was transformed. God can also use us today, to make changes in this world, but we first must be willing.

Section Three V10 Let God Rule and Reign

V10 ‘Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.’ Why did Jonah not want to go to Nineveh in the first place? Because he wanted to be God, he was not comfortable to do what God told him to do, so he chose his own way. Moses told the Israelites in the Ten Commandments that they should not worship idol. When we listen to ourselves instead of God, do we also worship idols? We make assumptions and we decide on what to listen and what not to listen, this is to worship idols, and this is not experiencing God. Experiencing God is not only about praying and reading the Bible, but to really arise, to go, to declare the Word of God, and to let Him rule and reign.

约拿书 3 – 如何经历神                                                       

2023年3月2日 星期四


我们是否也会像约拿那样,明明听到神的指示,明明知道自己该做的事,但就是不愿意行出来,甚至与神背道而驰。约拿在神所安排的鱼腹中三天三夜,无法吃喝, 在那样一个黑暗恶心的环境中,他终于肯谦卑自己,禁食祷告,真实经历神。

一、v.1-3 要起来出发


V1 “二次”表明神再一次跟约拿说话。当神第一次跟约拿说话的时候,他故意不听神的话。然而,当约拿在鱼腹中禁食三天三夜向神祷告后,神的话再次临到他。我们在如今的黑暗世代,是否也是不听不跟从神? 若我们谦卑来到神面前,禁食祷告,神的话还会再次临到我们。我们的四十天禁食祷告是否是悔改的、放下自己的祷告?我们听到的是神的话,还是自己心里的小剧场?若之前听不到,让我们重新开始,用正确的态度来禁食祷告,让神的话二次临到我们。

V2 神的心意不会因为人的软弱而改变,他继续要约拿去尼尼微城宣告他的话。

V3 尼尼微城很大,约拿愿意去到那城,不是宣告自己的话,而是神要他说的话。

二、v.4-9 宣告神的话


V4 约拿走了三分之一的路程后就宣告审判的话语,这是非常不容易的事。尼尼微城里充满敌对希伯来人的强壮勇士,约拿在说出这城四十天之后毁灭的话之前,心里难道不会有很多小剧场吗?要有信心在敌国宣告这些话是很难的,不然他也不会一开始听到神的呼召后就逃跑。我们听到神的话,虽然也按照吩咐去做事,但是否心不甘情不愿,是否也有很多抱怨?

V5-9 虽然约拿很不情愿地宣告神的话,然而当他这样说话后,全城的人开始改变。从第四章的记录可以看出,约拿并不想看到尼尼微城的人悔改。可是,他们自己宣告禁食,悔改在神面前,甚至连他们的王也一起加入其中。神会借着一小群人愿意谦卑回应他而赐下复兴,因复兴是从我们个人开始的。当尼尼微城的人愿意祷告,穿上代表死亡的“麻衣”,表明一个彻底谦卑的生命时,生命就影响生命。改变尼尼微城的不是约拿,而是里面的民众愿意放下自己,以致影响了执政掌权的人。让我们在一切不可能中仍然宣告神的话,不要被自己里面的怀疑和不情愿拦阻。神的话说有就有,命立就立,我们不要用“还没有预备好”当做借口,只要让神的话借着我们这个管道传扬出去。

三、v.10 让神掌权