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Thursday, September 29, 2022
New York City from air
Click on photo to enlarge
"That Great City"
Note: We have not posted messages the last week due to our trip to New England. I came back yesterday morning while Brooksyne headed to Tulsa to visit her family for a week. Thus these messages won't have the benefit of her input and editing and I will be reading the podcast solo!
Message summary: Today let us consider God's concern for the city.
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"Should I not be concerned about that great city?" (Jonah 4:11).
"Should I not also have compassion on Nineveh, the great city" (NASB)
"And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city" (ESV)
Yesterday before sunrise I had a nice view of New York City from the air. Including the portion of western Long Island and eastern New Jersey I imagine the photo shows where over 10 million people live. If you enlarge the photo you will see landmarks such as the George Washington and Verrazzano-Narrows bridges. You can see Central Park and even the speck of land where the Statue of Liberty is.
Preparing for ministry nearly 50 years ago now I had many options as to where to serve but one I really never considered was ministry in a city such as New York City. I grew up in a small town outside of Kansas City Missouri and I've never had much interest in being in a city other than to visit.
But I am thankful for those who minister in the city such as Jim and Carol Cymbala, who have served the Brooklyn Tabernacle since 1971.
Today let us consider Jonah who was called to a city by God, "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me" (Jonah 1:2).
Well he didn't want to go but God got his attention in a rather dramatic way through a whale of an experience and he reluctantly went and had remarkable success as the city repented. But he wasn't happy about that and chapter 4 finds him stewing in his anger, consumed with his own personal issues rather than a concern for others. He really wanted to see God's judgment!
But the book ends with a question from God, "And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”
"Who cannot tell their right hand from their left" likely refers to those who, spiritually speaking, cannot tell right from left. The verse shows that God takes pity on the spiritual blindness of the pagan. God’s desire is to extend His salvation to all who repent and turn to Him. (gotquestions.org)
Warren Wierbe observes,
"Jonah and Nahum are the only books in the Bible that end with questions, and both books have to do with the city of Nineveh. Nahum ends with a question about God’s punishment of Nineveh (Nahum 3:19), while Jonah ends with a question about God’s pity for Nineveh. This is a strange way to end such a dramatic book as the Book of Jonah. In the book God has the first word (Jonah 1:1–2) and God has the last word (Jonah 4:11), and that’s as it should be."
Our daily text has been called the greatest missions verse in the Bible and it surely reflects the heart of God and is a model for us, "Should I not be concerned about that great city?" The clear answer to this question is surely, "I am concerned!" and Jonah and all of us should be as well.
Today I urge each reader to take up the burdens of the hurting world, especially the cities, around us and live a life expressing in many ways, including our prayers, that also proclaims, "I am concerned!"
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and we pray for the peace of Christ to rain down upon the cities of our nation and world. We pray for servants of the Gospel who are taking the message of salvation to the troubled streets of our cities, for their safety and for receptivity from those looking for answers, the answers that can't be found in our institutions of higher learning or our divided political landscape across America. Many express their rage and anger through lawless acts of vandalism, destruction, incite fear, and the calamitous list goes on and on. We pray for our elected leaders to stand for law and order, to be strong and courageous in recapturing civility among the rebellious throngs who resist the established authority. We pray for churches and ministries located in these cities to prayerfully and eagerly present the greatest Authority, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who provides the greatest Manual of all time, the Word of God which gets to the hearts of humankind to seek and to save those who are lost in sin through Christ Jesus our Lord. Our soul's diseases can be healed and the ills of our country as well when people's hearts are turned toward God. Help us, we earnestly pray, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Prayer for the City" Video Oslo Gospel Choir
"Keep Praying" Video Maverick City Music Gospel Choir featuring Doe Jones & Ryan Ofei
Some photos from our New England trip.
Thursday, our first full day, was rainy but we drove around Lake Winnipesaukee and up for a train ride on the Hobo Railroad in Lincoln New Hampshire. Brooksyne's highlight was visiting with a Lucy impersonator who travels around with this trailer (from the old TV show "I Love Lucy).
From Lincoln we drove on the scenic Kancamagus Highway and stopped to see Sabbaday Falls.
It will be a week or two before the peak of fall foliage in New England but we sure saw the changes such as this tree along the Kancamagus Highway.
Heading further north the weather began to clear somewhat and we saw this rainbow in the White Mountains.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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