“Arise, to Nineveh We Go . . .”

post date: July 31, 2010

From Damascus Road Church
This week at Word of Life I preached through the book of Jonah using the theme “Outrageous Grace.” God seems to have used the messages to touch many hearts. Just this morning as I was walking back from breakfast, a woman stopped me and said that the messages had given her a lot to think about. “I never realized how much I’m like Jonah.”

I know the feeling.

In my last message I pointed out that if we don’t want to obey God, we can always run away just like Jonah did. But it won’t work out any better for us than it did for him. The following note came in via Facebook last night:

“Chewing on the amazing truths that the LORD spoke to me through your messages in Jonah. Readying myself through prayer to face the Nineveh’s in my life and be faithful, lest I take a ride on the “Regurgitron” spewing forth from the belly of the fish!!!»

The real challenge comes when we realize that Nineveh is all around us. Nineveh is anywhere God calls us that we don’t want to go. It’s anyone we don’t like whom God calls us to love. Here’s a snippet from that last message:

Where is Nineveh today?  Nineveh is Philadelphia. Nineveh is Newark. Nineveh in your neighbor next door, the one you don’t like who won’t take care of his yard, who makes too much noise, the one whose kids get in trouble all the time. Nineveh is your boss who is a jerk. Nineveh is the guy in the next cubicle or the woman down the hall. She’s such a drama queen. Thinks the whole world is about her. She’s your Nineveh.
Nineveh is your ex-husband, which is really easy to understand but hard for you to love. Nineveh is your ex-wife whom you’d rather not see again. Nineveh is your Muslim neighbor and your Sikh banker and your hairdresser who is on her third husband (or it her fourth? Who knows?).
You see, Nineveh is not just a place.  Nineveh is a symbol for the gathering together of the people of the world.  Wherever you find people, there you find Nineveh in all its splendor and power and glory and greed and brutality and evil.  It’s all there, mixed together, the good with the bad, the light with the darkness.
Look around, child of God!  You live in Nineveh, you work in Nineveh, all your life is lived in and around “that great city.” No one can escape it.

The only question is, Will we go to Nineveh or not? 

A young man who heard the series wrote to thank me, and then added this simple postscript:

“Arise, to Nineveh we go . . .”

That’s everything I was trying to say this week in just five words.


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