April 25, 2016
READ: Jonah 3:1-10
The people of Nineveh believed God’s message (v.5).
Scientists conducted a social experiment with two groups of commuters at a train station. They asked one group to start conversations with their seatmates. They instructed the other group to remain silent. The commuters who talked while traveling said they had a “more positive experience” than those who did not. Initially, commuters believed starting a conversation would be hard, but they found that most people were happily willing to talk.
We may worry that other people won’t want to talk about matters of faith with us. The threat of rejection, conflict, or even persecution can be enough to seal our lips and extinguish the prodding of God’s Spirit.
Jonah didn’t follow God’s prompting to tell the citizens of Nineveh about Him. The city’s reputation seemed to sour his desire—it was known as a “city of murder and lies” (Nahum 3:1). After an underwater attitude adjustment (Jonah 1:15—17), however, Jonah finally set aside his reluctance and journeyed to the malignant metropolis. There he addressed the crowds: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” (3:4). When the people heard Jonah, they “believed God’s message . . . declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow” (v.5). And God graciously chose not to destroy the city (2 Peter 3:9).
Scripture tells us that Nineveh had more than 120,000 residents. I’m encouraged when I think about how God used a reluctant prophet to save so many people from destruction. I pray that He’ll help me to overcome my own hesitancy as I learn to surrender each situation to Him. And I pray that sharing my faith will become easier with practice—a natural expression of my love for God and His love for all people.
—Jennifer Benson Schuldt
365-day-plan: 2 Kings 5:1-27
Read Matthew 12:40—41 to see how the events in Jonah’s life foreshadowed events to come. Look up Jeremiah 18:7—10 to learn about God’s dealings with the nations of the world.
The apostle Paul asked people to pray that he’d have boldness to share the gospel. What’s your top prayer request related to evangelism? How can you become more confident in sharing your faith?