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“Looking Into the Word”
by Art Sadlier   
November 8th, 2010


“But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.” Jonah 4:1

The Lord told Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach repentance that they may escape the judgment of God. Jonah refused to go until he ended up in the belly of a great fish. Jonah changed his mind and went and preached repentance to the Nineveh and they repented.

Jonah was angry; he didn’t want to see God spare them because they were the fierce and sworn enemies of his people Israel. Jonah obeyed God, but not with a perfect heart. He preached the gospel with a bad attitude; he preached it out of a sense of duty. Notice; the Lord used Jonah’s mouth in spite of his attitude! God honours His Word no matter the circumstances. Jonah’s message was blessed but Jonah received no blessing.

Jonah 4:3 "Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live." That dosen't sound like the joy bells.

I think of Charles Templeton who preached the gospel to thousands and many of them were saved. God honoured His Word even though Charles Templeton latter proved that he was never saved himself. He wrote a book entitled, “Good Bye God.” In that book he stated that he had an emotional religious experience that it took him many years to get over and that he did not believe in God.

The point here is not that Jonah wasn’t a servant of God, but rather that God honours His Word no matter who declares it. Jonah preached God’s Word with a wrong attitude and God blessed His Word but Jonah received no reward or blessing.

The Psalmist reveals what the true heart attitude should be of those who seek to reach lost men and women for Christ.

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” Psalm 126:5-6

A deep desire to win the lost results in a heart that is broken over the condition of lost men and women. That desire will drive a man or woman to pray. Do we experience the kind of praying that God hears and answers?

Robert Murray McCheynne said this about prayer.  “A great part of my time is spent getting my heart in tune for prayer because prayer is the link that connects earth to heaven.”

Sometimes we seem powerless to win the lost to Christ and sometimes we share the gospel out of a sense of duty. We need to learn to exercise prevailing prayer.

“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”  John 15:16

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