God’s Plan of Salvation Seen in the Book of Jonah
As your reading this devotion, you are one of three kinds of people. Maybe you have heard this message before and when you did, you received it and believed and were saved. Maybe you heard it and refused it then but will be ready to receive it today. Perhaps you have never heard it. As strange as it may sound, there are men and women in this area who have never heard God's plan of salvation. They have heard wonderful sermons, they have heard some list of do's and don'ts, and they have tried to keep it! But they have never heard God's plan of salvation. I want you to know this morning that it is not my plan, it’s not a Baptist plan, it is His plan.
I. God’s Plan is a Divine Plan: We see that this plan originated with God. This was no accident or coincidence but was the very hand of God. God's plans are always the best plans, and it is wise if embrace them and not resist them. God always knows best and He always will, so it is important that we learn to trust Him.
1) The heart of God: God wanted to reach the people of Nineveh with the Gospel. This is the desire that He has for all of His creation, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” This great love that Jesus has for mankind has not changed since He created us. The whole idea of our creation was so we could fellowship with God. Revelation 4:11, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” God had a desire to create mankind so He could enjoy beautiful fellowship with Him. It is amazing that a holy God desires to share His love with us and that He made us the crown of His creation. God made mankind alone in His image. Genesis 1:26-27, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (27) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” No other part of God's creation was made in the image of God. This makes mankind unique and special. Mankind alone has a soul and the ability to communicate with God. Genesis 2:7, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” If Jonah was interested in what was in God's heart, he would have been eager to do the will of God. Are you fulfilling the purpose of your creation and spending time with God each day?
2) The hand of God: The city of Nineveh had developed into a wicked and ungodly city. The culture was corrupt, and the conduct of its citizens was wicked. Unfortunately, the desire of mankind of mankind is to run away from God. Thankfully, the love that God had for us did not disappear because of our imperfection. God did not give up on mankind but made a plan for His redemption. Jesus sought us and we were the main concern of His earthly ministry, Luke 19:10, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” God wanted to reconcile us back to Himself to restore our fellowship with Him. God wanted to use Jonah as an instrument to share His love with the people of Nineveh. II Corinthians 5:18, “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation…” which is a ministry that Jonah wanted no part of.
3) The honor of God: What happened in Nineveh was for the honor of God and not of man. God wants to use human instruments, but He will not share His glory with them. Judges 7:2, “And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.” God wanted to rescue His people and give them a great deliverance. However, God did not want there to be any mistake on how the victory was won and who should get the credit. We should seek to live our life for the glory of God and have no interested in trying to uplift our unworthy name.
II. God’s Plan is a Detailed Plan: God is meticulous about the details of His great work. We see it in everything that He does. We see in creation the beauty of God's handiwork and that everything that He does is good. Genesis 1:31, “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” When you look at the tabernacle or the temple you see very specific details about each item in there. They all have practical value, and they teach great spiritual truth's that we can glean from in our life today. Every single detail here with Jonah was planned by God and provides us with some great object lessons for our Christian life. If you think that God does any less detailed planning for your life you are mistaken. God has made a great investment in each of us and we are accountable for that before God. Luke 12:48, “But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”
Joppa was the place where Jonah embarked on a journey that would lead him away from preaching to a Gentile nation. Eight-hundred years later, this is the exact place the Lord tells Peter to receive the Gentiles (Acts 10). Jonah was called by God to go to Nineveh to preach God’s message to the Gentiles. Jonah reflects the Gospel message later being taken to gentile nations through the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. Jonah was a Hebrew who was unwilling to preach to gentiles. Yet, through his eventual preaching, the city of Nineveh, in large measure, repented of their sin. If we can learn anything, may we learn the truth that God only has one plan of salvation. It is not a Jewish plan, nor is it a Baptist plan, it’s God’s plan. If we expect to miss Hell and to go to Heaven when we leave this world, then we must come to God on His terms. We must reject every work of the flesh and every attempt to get there on our own.
PRAYER: Father, I thank You for Jesus who paid the sin debt that I owed and could never repay. Although I strive to live righteously, I still fall short of perfection. I thank You that my standing is “in Christ” and His shed blood has washed my sins away. In Jesus name, Amen!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.