Class Notes: 9/16/2020
Jonah, Nineveh, and Nemesis postponed part 3
2Chron 7:13-14; "If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people,
14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Isaiah 3:12; Youths oppress my people, women rule over them. O my people, your teachers lie to you and tell you to go the wrong way.
Isa 55:10-11; As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
1Cor 4:5; Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.
We are presently in a study of Jonah and Nineveh where we see God's policy of grace before judgment. God always provides the opportunity for repentance before he executes judgment.
Just before we stopped last time we noted the Hebrew word for believe is "amen," that is our Anglicized word "amen," and is the strongest word in the Hebrew language for faith in Jonah 3:5;
We see here that the whole city believed in God and as a result they began to do things to demonstrate that they were believers and to reveal their change of mind. Just has Jonah had repented they repented.
They proclaimed a fast. A "fast," is a time for occupation with the Lord, a time of prayer and self-examination, a time of meditation, and a time of refraining from the ordinary details of life, such as food in order to focus on God.
All of them believed in God from the greatest to the least, from the highest person to the most insignificant including the Emperor of the Assyrian Empire. The entire city repented but within 3-4 generations they were back to their evil ways to the point where God would reverse and destroy them. Gen 20:5;
Jonah 3:6-9;When the word came to the king of Nineveh (Ashur-dan III), and he arose from his throne, and laid his robe from him, and covered him (self) with sackcloth, and sat on ashes.
This is the oriental way of demonstrating a complete change of mental attitude. And this was his testimony that he, too, was a believer, and that since God was gracious enough to give them forty days' warning, he would accept the grace of God and he would trust in the Lord.
Then to demonstrate that he believed in the Lord, he took off his kingly robes, and sat on an ash heap. Furthermore, he published a decree throughout the entire city, that demanded that rest of the city to participate.
This respect for and response to God's threat of judgment is remarkable since God's Word describes the Assyrians as a cruel violent nation (Nahum 3:1-4; 2Kings 18:33-35;)
Nineveh responded to 2Chron 7:13-14; the question is will the citizens of the USA???
Jonah 3:10; When God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said he would do unto them; and he did it not do it.
God repented; that is, God changed His attitude toward the Assyrians. He changed His mind because they were now children of God and they were now directly under the aegis of God's grace.
This reveals the principle of how our decisions determine our reality. The divine decree includes our thoughts decisions and actions and if we change our mind God's omniscience adjusts the outcome of the divine decree to account for that change.
This also reveals why prayer is so important. John 14:12-15;
The entire city of rotten, evil, filthy sinners were now born again. Since they were now children of God, He had to adjust His plan. Jonah's evangelism had saved hundreds of thousands of people in three days' and it spared the nation for an additional 120 years.
This was the same length of time that God told Noah to preach repentance to the antediluvian civilization and they did not respond so they were destroyed. Gen 6:3;
We noted what God's Word had to say about how great Assyria became in Ezek 31:3-14;
The Assyrians recovered their prosperity because of positive volition to Bible doctrine. They became greater than they had previously been because they responded to Jonah's doctrinal teaching.
The greatness of a nation is always the result of responding positively to spiritual truth. These same principles apply to the USA at this time. If we repent God will bless us. 2Chron 7:14;
Association with Assyria blessed other nations. The pivot of mature believers in a nation is the origin of blessing by association.
The blessor (God) is greater than the blessee (the nation). The blessor has the authority; the blessee has the response. When the blessee revolts, the blessee gets discipline by association instead of blessing by association.
God spared Jonah when he ran and blessed his message; He now spares Nineveh. God's mercy is always undeserved; His grace is never earned. Repentance is never a work to be rewarded it is always the result of non-meritorious grace.
Nineveh's repentance delayed God's destruction of the city for about 120 years but after 3-4 generations they went back to their evil ways with the result the city was destroyed in 612BC.
We noted in Ezek 31:5-6; that the boughs represent economic prosperity; the branches represent military strength. Birds represent unbelievers and demonic evil.
When Bible doctrine is no longer believed in a nation, the self-absorbed nesters come in and take over. This is happening in the USA right now. An empire is a nation whose greatness is so great that association with it blesses every nation on that continent and beyond
Jesus Christ references the impact of Jonah's ministry to Assyria in His condemnation of those who rejected Him in His generation. Luke 11:29-30;
Positive volition to Jonah's teaching restored power to a declining nation and resulted in the restoration of the Assyrian empire. The Assyrian pivot was so great and the number reversionists who rejected truth was so low in succeeding generations that Jonah's ministry added about 120 years to the Assyrian Empire and extended it's influence.
We noted that Nineveh repented as a result of Jonah's ministry around 833BC. About 90 years later God begins to use Assyria to discipline Israel and Judah for their negative volition to God's Word of truth.
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