Keys of Authority

Scripture: “The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:
“By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”
When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He relented and did not bring on them the destruction He had threatened. (Jonah 3:5-10)

Thought for Today: “Saving a City”

The Book of Jonah is so often described as the story of a selfish prophet, but it is also the story about a repentant city. Nineveh was on God’s mind for all the wrong reasons. It was a great city; but God was about to release judgement upon it, because of its sinful behavior. The story gets vague for those of us who are so far removed in time and distance, but there is no overlooking the fact that God was interested enough in this Gentile region, to send a prophet. We have no knowledge of the message Jonah carried, but the response of the city is powerful. They contended for their lives through prayer and fasting.

They Believed God!

We could speculate all we want about the sin of a city, throw stones and cast blame, but if there is a believing people, there is always hope. Believing God’s Word stands against all the natural instincts the sinful heart finds reasonable. Yet, God would say “Come let us reason together, though your sin is as scarlet” believe Me “they shall be as white as snow” (Isa 1:18-20). “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land, but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword.”

The believing heart, the willing and obedient heart, is transformed when there is hope… and God offers hope to all men, everywhere. Any man, family, city or nation that believes God at His Word and will contend for the life found in Christ, shall be saved!

Proclaiming a Fast!

Nothing uncovers rebellion, like the activity of fasting. When we choose to repent of our sin through setting aside our legitimate appetites of the flesh and seek God; its like the city of Nineveh putting on sackcloth. We feel the guilt and shame… evidence of a heart that has gone astray. We see our rebellion for what it is and uncover its effect upon our family and community.

Yet, we also uncover something more beautiful, the spiritual emptiness that a loving God can fill. Fasting awakens our spiritual hunger, opening the heart to a fresh, clean, satisfying breeze of the breath of heaven.

Keys of Authority:

This is the greatest challenge to the Kingdom of God. Closed doors hinder the advancement of God’s heart into a city or nation. Can a believing people contend for the transformation of a city? Nineveh’s salvation is the story of a king, a throne, a robe and a decree… a transfer of authority.

  • Nineveh’s king held the keys of authority.
  • He arises from his throne! His seat of authority.
  • He lays aside his robe, the covering of superiority and commits to sackcloth and ashes.
  • He relinquishes his ruler-ship and publishes a decree that all the city would cry mightily unto God, perhaps He would relent from the violence in His hands.

Amazing! The idea that a city can be saved in a day… is true! If that city will hand over the keys of authority.

The Saving of a City:

My favorite statement in the book of Jonah: “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented” (Jonah 3:10). This city contended for its life through prayer and fasting. They were heard in heaven and God saved the city of Nineveh.

Could God save our city… were we to believe Him, fast and pray and hand over the keys of authority?

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