When God calls Jonah a second time, he shows himself to be a God of second chances.
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time.
It isn’t often that you get a second chance to do something the right way, but I was given that chance with a class called “Old Testament Isagogics.”
What happened was that I took a couple of really bad habits with me from college into seminary. Bad habits that were all academically related.
One of those bad habits was skipping class. Especially early morning classes.
Now, by “early morning” I mean 8:30 a.m.
I know that doesn’t sound early to most people. And it certainly is not early to me now.
But back in my middle 20’s, anything before 10:00 a.m. was early.
My first semester at seminary, I had Old Testament Isagogics at, you guessed it, 8:30 a.m.
Isagogics is the introductory study of the literary and external history of the Bible. It is a preliminary course that has to be taken – and passed – before you were able to take the exegetical classes, the interpretation and translation of the books of the Bible.
I missed enough of those classes that I barely got a passing grade at the end of the semester.
A couple of years later, I was given a second chance at taking the class. By that time, I was married, serious about my studies, and motivated to learn.
And I passed with an acceptable grade.
Mercy and Grace Make Up Second Chances
I was given a second chance. In other words, mercy and grace were shown to me.
I was not given what I deserved in having on my academic record a nearly failing grade in a foundational course. That was the mercy part.
I was given what I did not deserve. I was given a second chance to do better and get a better grade. That was the grace part.
Jesus Came to Give Us a Second Chance
God gives us a second chance. His second chance has a name: Jesus Christ.
Left to our own, we sin. Even when God comes calling, our first inclination is usually to run away.
That’s the way it was for Jonah, a prophet in Old Testament times.
God called Jonah to go to a foreign city and preach repentance to the people there.
Instead of going, Jonah ran the other way. It didn’t work out so well for Jonah. There was a storm, being thrown overboard, a big fish, and three days at the bottom of the sea. For a more complete study of Jonah, go here.
But then God gave Jonah a second chance. And this time, Jonah took it.
God doesn’t want you to remain in your sins. So he sent Jesus, your “second chance.”
Jesus took all your sins away with his death and resurrection.
Now the question is: what are you going to do with your second chance?
Don’t Waste Your Second Chance
God is giving you a second chance. Follow him. Do what he has called you to do.
He has either called you to follow Christ and become his disciple or he has called you to proclaim the Gospel of Christ (because you are already a disciple).
If your second chance is so you can follow Christ, find a mature Christian and visit with them, have them pray with you, and study with them. Become part of a vibrant faith community (church) and begin a Second Chance Journey!
If your second chance is to proclaim the Gospel, become (or stay active) in a weekly Bible study and learn more about God and his second chances. Also learn how to tell the story of our Second Chance God.
And if, by chance, you blow your second chance, here’s some assurance.
God is not only the God of second chances, but also third and fourth and fifth chances.
In fact, while you still have breath, you have a chance to follow God and answer his call!
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me a second chance through Jesus Christ. I ask for your Holy Spirit that I will use your second chance to follow Jesus and tell his story to the world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
© 2018 True Men Ministries