Did you know that God is God of the second chance? The Bible is filled with the stories of people who got second chances and Jonah is just one of them. Jonah deliberately disobeyed God’s assignment and some negative consequences followed.
Jonah repented and sought God. Then providence struck. Jonah was expelled out of the giant fish and found himself on dry land, breathing fresh air again. Then Jonah’s life went on.
We can imagine that Jonah went on with his life. We can imagine that Jonah returned home. Perhaps he told his friends what happened. He had a testimony. God had saved him from death. Was he ashamed of himself? He had been one who spoke God’s special messages and he had failed to do his unique job. He had failed to deliver a special message from God to Nineveh.
Life went on for Jonah. Did he feel like a failure? Was he thankful to be alive, but became the “former Prophet”? Did he live incognito, assimilating himself back into his Hebrew culture? When people who knew who he was or used to be would approach him and ask him, “what is the message from God?”, did he look down and shake his head?
We don’t know the answer to any of these questions, but we do know that life went on for Jonah. Was he happy to not be a Prophet any longer or did he miss it? Was he ashamed or just resigned? We don’t know, but life went on. Days, weeks, month, or years; we don’t know. From the time of Jonah being deposited back into fresh air and dry land to the “then” of what happened next could have been hours or years.
Some time went by and then God spoke to Jonah again, a second time. Since Jonah was a Prophet, God had probably spoken to him before the time recorded in the book of Jonah. He received and delivered messages. That was a Prophet’s job. But the text here says, “God spoke to Jonah a second time”. It’s the second time in this story, in this part of Jonah’s life; and it’s the second time God spoke to Jonah about the same thing. Same orders, same message, same God, for the same people, to be delivered by the same person.
God gives Jonah a second chance at the same assignment. God does not stamp Jonah with “failed”, but with “try again”. God is a God of the second chance. There were consequences of Jonah’s disobedience. He failed and it was painful, but he lived and he gets a second chance. Again and again in scripture, this is God’s way. People blow it and fail, but God in a sense says that his plan is greater than us and he is willing to pick us up when we fall and help us get our bearings and then sets us on the path of his plan again.
We can fail a thousand ways and God can still bring us back. It does not mean that the failure never happened, but it means that God uses failures and gives them second chances. It’s always, “the great God of man”, and not the other way around. God likes using weak and broken people and giving glory to himself though them. We do not overcome our weaknesses so we can stand up and fight, but we stand up and walk in God’s blessings and assignments for us in our weaknesses. God uses cracked pots that leak.
He said to me, “My grace is enough for you, because power is made perfect in weakness.” So I’ll gladly spend my time bragging about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power can rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
When God calls to Jonah the second time, it does not necessarily mean that Jonah is now, at that moment, ready for God’s assignment to him. It means that God is ready and has something he wants done, that he wants said. All the heavy lifting is done by God, but God chooses to use people like Jonah, you, and me to be his representatives!
Grace Greater than Our Sin by Julia Johnson
Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.
Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.
Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.
Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?