Jonah 3:1 - “And the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time”.
One of the great careers of any athlete in any sport came to an end last week. I’m speaking of the “captain” himself, Derek Jeter! This is the twentieth year of his outstanding and memorable career. He is #1 in hits, games, runs scored...the list goes on and on. A first ballot hall of famer. Last week the TV cameras showed a glimpse of a young family, whose dad caught Derek’s last home run of his career. The man’s wife was taking pictures as he was holding the ball in one hand and his youngest daughter in the other arm. As they were celebrating, he then handed the ball to his other daughter to hold, and she threw the ball back onto the field! The look on the dad and mom’s faces was priceless, as their hands went to their heads in disbelief. Thankfully, the Yankees heard about the story and gave the exact ball back to the family as a keepsake.
Talk about a do-over, listen to this...God said to Jonah, “Go to Nineveh and preach to the people”, and He gave him specific instructions. Jonah’s response? He went in the completely opposite direction. After fleeing the presence of the Lord, he bought a ticket and boarded a ship to take him far away from the plan of God for his life. After being thrown overboard and ending up in the belly of a very large fish, everything came full circle and Jonah was given a second chance to minister to the people of Nineveh...a “do-over”.
Jonah 3:1 says “and the word of the Lord came unto Jonah”, I like what the Holy Spirit inserts next, “the second time”. Same instructions as before, but this time in Jonah 3:3 it says, “So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh”. Thank God for learned lessons. Thank God for “do-overs”. Thank God for second chances. That’s grace, folks! Thank God for new beginnings in areas where we've messed up, went wrong, made big mistakes and really bad choices.
Just like that dad who thought that Derek Jeter’s ball was gone for good, it somehow wound up back in his hands, with a national story attached to it. God does do-overs. He is the God of the second, third, fourth...chances. He is merciful and full of grace. He is for us. He wants us to succeed and hit the mark. Go ahead, God is granting you a do-over today!