JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Jonah 3:8 through 10.
After Jonah preached to the huge city of Nineveh, the people responded with prayer and repentance.
The king and his nobles said, “Let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.”
Whenever we give up sinful practices and turn toward God, we make a decision for life. In the case of Nineveh, one of the specific sins that they committed to give up was violence. Along with violence in a society, there is the presence of hatred for others, selfish ambition, envy, inconsideration for people and general disrespect for human life. Turning to God closes the door on these destructive attitudes and opens the door for His love to take root in our heart. This leads to a change of attitude that seeks to do good for our neighbors. Nineveh was a civilization that made a choice for life in the nick of time.
Prayer and Repentance are vital relationship-building principles to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Malachi 4:5 and 6.
“See I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”
Elijah was used of God in a mighty way to stir revival among the Israelites. At Mount Carmel, he challenged the people, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
There is often a connection between moral decay in society and the breakdown of the family. Similarly, where revival happens in society, the family unit is strengthened. Whenever we take a stand for the Lord or bring family members to a point of reconciliation, our actions resemble the ministry of Elijah.
Standing for God and family are vital relationship-building principles to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – Nineveh’s wickedness had come up before the LORD. Their time was running out if they continued on their destructive path. But God was calling Jonah to preach His Word. When he got there, Jonah proclaimed, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
Not only did the people respond in brokenness; they also called urgently on God and gave up their evil ways, which included violence. When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened. A city was spared from destruction.
Sometimes, it may appear that someone is far, far away from God. By seeing the violent culture of the Ninevites, we might be skeptical that the people would ever acknowledge God. But what is humanly impossible is possible with God. From a human point of view, we see Nineveh on the verge of a breakdown. From God’s point of view, the city was on the verge of a spiritual breakthrough and was ripe for revival. He worked through one of his prophets to accomplish the task.
The revival of Nineveh was a display of God’s patience and compassion and is lesson of faith worth remembering.