I am amazed. All these years I assumed a certain thing was true, only to finally realize I was wrong. And all I needed to do was read the scripture as though I’d never read it before.
I’m referring to Jonah. You know, the book called Jonah? Yeah, the big fish dude.
I’ll tell you what I just noticed in a few moments, but first I’ll lay the foundation for this post.
What do you think of when you see the word: “repent”?
Oh, man! You probably think I’ve flipped, but nothing could be farther from the truth.
What thoughts run through your mind at the sound of that word? Do you have flashbacks from childhood days? Do scenes of a wild, red faced preacher running back and forth across the platform at church play across your mind; making you want to hide under a table?
Does the word “repent” scare you? Actually, there’s nothing to be afraid of.
“Repent and believe the Gospel”. A courageous message of compassion and hope; not one of doom, judgment, and catastrophe.
It’s the message Noah proclaimed, being a preacher of righteousness.
The prophets of old cried, “Repent!” The powerful word God used to call nations to his feet; the place of hope, fulfilled purpose, and renewed vision.
A word that satan fears; almost as much as the Name of Jesus.
It’s a word that demands an immediate response; though many times the response is heartbreaking. It’s a command that leaves no room for negotiation. It’s a message declaring, “There’s still time to turn around”, but it’s been misunderstood, misused, and misjudged.
It’s the message of John the Baptist, which drew multitudes away from their cities, homes and places of business, out into the hot, windy wilderness.
The word Peter preached in power to multitudes on the day of Pentecost, whereby thousands were ushered into the kingdom of God.
The ministry Jesus said was his Father’s business.
And the message of Jonah.
The word means to turn around. Change one’s attitude, action, and allegiance. What’s so scary about that? Why is that threatening? What’s really wrong with the word?
It’s a message whose time has come. A declaration America desperately needs to hear, but one it hates to face.
The ones who dare proclaim it are dubbed fanatical and foolish. God calls them faithful.
All of Heaven supports this message of compassion and hope. The Spirit is wooing and the angels are waiting for our response to the word “repent.”
It can cause a riot to break out, or righteousness to flow like a mighty stream.
It separates the believer from the unbeliever, the Christian from the casual observer.
It’s a matter of life and death.
Jonah (finally) preached to the people of Nineveh.
“So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.” (Jonah 3:5 NKJV) In other words, they repented.
From the greatest to the least. From those with the most to those with nothing.
Here’s what I “saw” for the first time: THEN word about what was happening throughout the city came to the ears of the king. And HE repented!
For years I assumed the king heard first, then issued his proclamation. But, actually, he found out FROM the people.
There is hope for America. There is hope for our families. There is hope for you and I.
Repent is a word of compassion and hope. It’s a word with a future. It is a word for everyone, not just the people we don’t agree with. It’s a word whose time has come; from the greatest to the least. It’s a private, personal word that can affect the whole of society.
You may like the word, or you may hate it. You can lash out at the messenger or look into the mirror and examine what you see. Regardless, the word won’t allow you to remain the same.
Repent. Jonah carried the word to that great city. It changed Nineveh.
What word are you carrying? What word are you believing?
“Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15 ESV)
Don’t be scared. Repent.