10 Takeaways From Jonah’s Story That Could Apply to Justin Bieber

by | Jun 9, 2016 | Culture

I watched part of the 2016 Billboard Music Awards a couple weeks ago and, after seeing Justin Bieber win Male Artist of the Year, I couldn’t help but picture him being baptized in NBA star Tyson Chandler’s bathtub.

I read an article that detailed the spontaneous water baptism after a sobbing Bieber had reached out to Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz by uttering, “I want to know Jesus … baptize me.” While I was encouraged by what I read, I was saddened by the critical comment thread that followed.

Unfortunately, most of the criticism and judgmentalism appeared to be from those identifying as “Christian.” I’m not making allowance for Bieber’s shortcomings, but I’m sure glad my sins aren’t national news headlines or accessible via video on TMZ. It seems that too often we forget where we used to be before we found Christ and you would think we would extend the same kind of grace and mercy that has been extended to us.

Enter Jonah.

God commanded Jonah to go to the great city of Nineveh to deliver a message of doom and gloom for 40 days—a message that God was going to destroy the city because of its wickedness. After his defiant disobedience landed him inside the belly of a fish for three days, Jonah’s genuine repentance resulted in him receiving grace, mercy and a second chance.

After heeding Jonah’s 40-day warning, the king and people of Nineveh—like Jonah—responded with repentance. And just like Jonah, they too received grace, mercy and a second chance. In fact, the Scripture actually says that God changed His mind.

“When God saw their actions, that they turned from their evil ways, He changed His mind about the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it” (Jonah 3:10, MEV).

After the people responded with repentance, Jonah did a happy dance, right? Nope. He was enraged! Instead of rejoicing that an entire city of more than 120,000 people was spared, he was furious that his prediction didn’t come true. Apparently, he forgot or overlooked his own disobedience. This reminds me of the parable that Jesus told about a man who’s enormous debt (think $1 million) was forgiven. This hypocritical man whose enormous debt was forgiven chose not to forgive a tiny debt in comparison (think $1,000) owed to him. God wasn’t pleased. And God wasn’t happy with Jonah’s response either. 

The moral of the story is—don’t be like Jonah, but learn from his mistakes.

10 Takeaways From the Story of Jonah

1. Get up and go in the right direction. God told Jonah to get up and go to Nineveh. Jonah rebelled by going in the opposite direction. Havoc followed.

2. Obey the first time. Jonah could have saved himself some serious hardship (and nastiness inside a fish) had he simply obeyed God’s first command.

3. You can’t escape God. Wherever you run to, God is already there. Surrender already.

4. You reap what you sow. There’s no such thing as karma, but Scripture is clear about something called sowing and reaping (Gal. 6:7-8). And while Jonah reaped what he sowed, God still extended grace and mercy.

5. Repent every time. Jonah’s repentance freed him from the fish and Nineveh’s repentance resulted in God changing His mind. True repentance allows God to deliver a second chance.

6. God is a God of second chances. The story of Jonah illustrates a God who is all about grace, mercy, and multiple chances. 

7. Don’t be a hypocrite. The fact that Jonah received a second chance but didn’t believe 120,000 people deserved one is mind-boggling. Remember, the moment you point your finger at someone else, you have three more pointing back toward you.

8. Extend mercy. Jesus said in Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

9. Don’t forget where you used to be. We are all sinners saved by grace, so the moment you think you’re better than someone else—because you forgot that used to be you—is the moment you will fall on your face.

Stay humble and grateful.

10. Love people like God loves them, period. First Corinthians 13 is a pretty good guide to help you.

Whether it’s a high-profile celebrity like Justin Bieber, an annoying coworker who gets under your skin, or that elderly neighbor down the street who yells at your kids when they turn around in her driveway (yeah, I’m preaching to myself)—when someone repents—be quick to forgive, slow to judge, and always willing to rejoice that God’s grace and mercy has been extended in the same way in which it was extended to you. {eoa}

Chuck E. Tate is the founder and lead pastor of RockChurch, a growing and thriving congregation in the heart of Illinois. Prior to planting RockChurch in 1998, Chuck worked for a national youth ministry in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In that role, he managed and spoke at conventions across the United States and Canada, and co-produced a national television program that aired on Trinity Broadcasting Network. His first book is titled 41 Will Come.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Discerning False Prophets and Delusions with Mario Murillo

Discerning False Prophets and Delusions with Mario Murillo

My longtime friend Mario Murillo is providing a critical role in the body of Christ in speaking up against the wolves in sheep clothing. Matthew Henry said, "A traitor inside the camp is more dangerous than 1,000 persecutors outside the camp." Christians want to be...

Do You Need A Miracle? It’s In Your Mouth!

Do You Need A Miracle? It’s In Your Mouth!

So many people are in need of a miracle these days. So many people are experiencing lack, illness and despair. So many of these people are Christian people that are bewildered as to why they are experiencing such hardship. The Christian life is not an easy one, but it...

Is America Destined to Become Like Sodom and Gomorrah?

Is America Destined to Become Like Sodom and Gomorrah?

Sodom and Gomorrah were real cities and real people lived there. These were notoriously sinful cities that God warned but eventually destroyed because of their wickedness (Gen. 19:24). These cities, infamous for their debauchery and homosexuality, are mentioned 23...

How to Get Rid of Guilt Forever

How to Get Rid of Guilt Forever

Are you bugged by a guilty conscience … carrying around baggage from a certain mistake or decision that produces feelings of regret or even self-loathing? We’ve all said or done things that we wish we could take back. And while it’s completely natural to grieve over a...

4 Tips to Fix Your Christian Marriage Problems

4 Tips to Fix Your Christian Marriage Problems

Christian married couples, like everyone else in the world, can have their ups and downs. The pressures at work, home and family can mount a pile so high you barely see your spouse on the other side. God created marriage and He longs for you to have a healthy,...

RECENT ARTICLES

Prophecy: The Isaiah 60 Church Will Arise

I saw a movie several years ago about an Amish community. In the movie, when someone needed help (whether it was a crisis, a barn raising or help in harvesting their fields) they would ring a large...
Did Mr. Rogers Warn Against Transgenderism?

Did Mr. Rogers Warn Against Transgenderism?

While he may not have realized it at the time, Fred Rogers, otherwise known as "Mr. Rogers" on the children's television program "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood," may have been anti-trans and also prophetic about the culture in America more than 40 years ago. A devoted...

Evangelist John Ramirez Exposing Satanism Infecting America

Evangelist John Ramirez Exposing Satanism Infecting America

Spiritual warfare is raging across America, yet few are talking about it or the ramifications that come with it. The Bible warns Christians of the enemy's plans, but the deception of the devil has relegated many to the sidelines instead of the frontlines where they...

14 Fervent Prayers for Gen Z

14 Fervent Prayers for Gen Z

Generation Z—those born between 1997 and 2012—is rising. They are entering the workforce, entering politics and entering the ministry. But spiritually speaking, this generation is in crisis. Forty-six percent of Gen Z say they’ve committed their lives to Jesus, which...

The Fresh and Mighty Wind of God’s Spirit Is Now Blowing

The Fresh and Mighty Wind of God’s Spirit Is Now Blowing

There is a fresh wind blowing. It is the fresh wind of His Spirit. It is not only a wind that will bring refreshment, healing, empowerment and strength, but it is a wind that will bring deep rest, deep clarity and a deep stirring of what He is breathing upon! I had a...

Yes, Jesus Did Address Sexual Sin

Yes, Jesus Did Address Sexual Sin

Yes, Chris Bryant, Jesus really did address the subject of homosexuality, no matter how much you might want to twist the issue. After the Church of England recently set down an edict that forbid same-sex couples to marry but that each individual would receive "God's...

Pin It on Pinterest