One day God told Jonah to join Him in a great mission. God wanted to take God wanted to take Jonah to a greater place in him and for him to grab hold of His fuller purpose for Jonah’s life but Jonah didn’t want to go there because it didn’t sound like an easy thing to do. To go up may mean we have to face difficulties and hardship and like Jonah we don’t always want to go there. We know it’s not as easy to walk uphill as it is to walk down. So Jonah went down to Joppa which means beautiful and as people, I think it’s fair to say that we that we prefer the beautiful life. Jonah paid his small fare to Tarshish but the cost of the ride would be far more. You could say “his decent” was continuous. He went down to Joppa, down into the depths of the boat and finally down into the deepest sea and all God wanted, was for Jonah to go up. There were great storms and impending disaster until Jonah admitted he was running and was tossed overboard. Jonah braced himself again the wall of the fish’s stomach, it was very hard to breathe and slippery under foot. While amazed he was still alive, he wondered how much longer he would be. As his soul began to grow faint, he remembered the Lord and began to pray. But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.” So the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. Jon 2:9-10
What seemed like a grave was Jonah’s transport to dry land and eventually Jonah is vomited up by the fish. Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you” (Jonah 3:1-2).
God spoke to Jonah a second time. This is not the same as a second chance. God is the God of the second chance and many more chances beside but the “second time” is something different. Let’s think of the other places God spoke the second time and notice it is always about breakthrough and blessing.
When Abraham was about to offer up Isaac in obedience God spoke the first time to stop from offering Isaac! Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven(Gen 22:15), and said because of your obedience I’m going to bless you!
When Solomon had offered up a thousand bulls as a sacrifice to God in worship, God spoke to him a second time. Again God said He was going to bless and establish Solomon with a new level of favor (1Kings 9.2).
When Jeremiah was in prison “the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah a second time (Jeremiah 33:1), saying, I’m going to heal, restore and favor Israel. As Peter was on the roof, he was assured that God had declared even the gentiles to be clean. And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common” (Act 10:15). The second time was a new flow of revelation to Peter.
The significance of the second time is seen by the fact that all of these people weren’t running from God or disobedient like Jonah. So rather when God speaks to Jonah the second time it is not a second chance but the promise of total restoration, complete blessing and the giving a new commission with a new level of favor. The second time is not just a reluctant reinstatement to the place we fell from but the pronouncement of favor and a new level of authority and purpose.
If you need a second chance God will give you one but He wants to speak to you the “second time.” The book of Hebrew says “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, (Heb 1:1-2) Our Father has spoken to all of us the second time.!
Friend, are you ready to go up? Are you ready to follow God into a new place? You can’t decide when God will talk to you but you can decide to offer yourself to him a living sacrifice. When Abraham offered his best, God spoke the second time. When Solomon offered his best, God spoke to him the second time and when Jonah offered his sacrifice to God in the fish Gods favor and purpose came again to Jonah.