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Association of Indiana College Gospel Choirs|United States

AICGC shall serve as the premier organization in the state of Indiana to provide for the spiritual and leadership development and opportunities for fellowship of its members in college gospel choirs at institutions of higher education.

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Example of God's Grace

Jun 02, 2011

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Today I want to discuss God’s grace. I am sure that every morning when we get up, we thank God for his grace and his mercy. Have you ever caught yourself thanking God for his mercy and grace just because you know you have it and not really understanding why you have it? I’ll be honest and say that I have. I am going to use the story of Jonah to give you an example of God’s grace. I know that when I read different stories in the Bible about how merciful and gracious God was I appreciate it even more. Before I get to the story I want to start you off with some definitions. According to Webster’s Online Dictionary, grace can be defined as a temporary exemption or a special favor. I have my own definition. I define grace as being unmerited or undeserving favor God gives us because he loves and cares for us.
The story of Jonah comes from the book of Jonah (chapters 1-4). As children we were all taught the story of Jonah and the whale. That is a great story, but it only covers half of the book. The story begins with God telling Jonah to go into the city of Nineveh and to tell the people that God will destroy the city because of their wickedness. Jonah apparently did not like that idea so he ran and got on a ship that was leaving town. He did this in an attempt to hide from God. Now to shorten this part of the story, God sent a storm because of Jonah’s disobedience, the other sailors threw Jonah out of the boat and Jonah was swallowed by a great fish. Now the interesting part of this story is that God arranged Jonah to be swallowed by that fish. God saved Jonah’s life. While in the belly of this fish Jonah then entered a state of repentance and then God ordered the fish to spit Jonah out. That is the first example of God’s grace. Jonah selfishly and deliberately disobeyed God. Have many of us done that? However, in spite of that God showed his grace by saving Jonah’s life when Jonah did everything to jack it up. Jonah even brought other people in his mess, but God was gracious anyhow.
The second part of this story is when Jonah actually does go to the city of Nineveh. After Jonah tells the entire city that God will destroy the city, the king declared a fast throughout the whole city. Everyone prayed and turned from their wicked ways. When God saw this he spared the city. Jonah was very upset at God’s change of heart. In Chapter 4 verse 2 Jonah states, ““Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, LORD? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people.” Using my wild imagination, I could see God saying, “Jonah, why are you tripping? Did you forget that quickly that I saved your life?” So after Jonah complains he goes out of the city so he could see if God would do what he originally told Jonah he was going to do. While sitting there, God arranged a big leafy plant to grow where Jonah was sitting. This plant provided Jonah shade from the sun. The next morning, God arranged a worm to eat the stem of the plant which caused it to die. God then arranged an east wind to blow on Jonah until he wished to die. Jonah then became mad because the plant had died. In the last part of chapter 4, God explained that Jonah did absolutely nothing to put the plant there. God then went on to explain that the great city of Nineveh has more than 120,000 people which do not know their right hand from their left hand. It was not right for Jonah to be sorry about this plant, but not feel sorry for the people of Nineveh who clearly did not know right from wrong. This is the second example of God’s grace. When the people of Nineveh sincerely repented of their ways, God showed his grace by sparing their lives. God also showed that he was a God of a second chance.
Jonah decided that he wanted to do his own thing and not obey God. God showed his grace by saving his life. I did not mention that Jonah was in the fish for three days and three nights. I think that was purposely done because it allowed Jonah to recognize the grace of God and that he should have been dead, but God. Now connect this story to your own life. How many times have you selfishly did what you wanted to do instead of what God told you to do? It may even be possible that God allowed you to go through some things because that was the only way he could get your attention. It was then you recognized that you should have been killed, or you should have been in jail, or you should be all around jacked up and messed up, but because of God’s grace he kept you while you were in your mess. Does this relate to anybody? When you sincerely repented and decided that you were going to live the life that God wants you to he showed his grace again by providing a way of escape and elevated you. A while ago God showed me in a dream where I would be if I did not make the choice to live for him. I now appreciate his grace so much more. I was reminded about the same truths about God that Jonah had stated in chapter 4 (“I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people”). I recognized that he does not have to show his grace towards us, but he does because he loves us, cares for us, and is always looking out for our best interest. I hope a simple story such as the one as Jonah helps you gain a greater appreciation of the grace of God. Be Blessed family. Aaron D. Gilbert
Aaron D. Gilbert