By Pastor (Mrs) Anthonia OBAFAIYE –
The Theme of the month of August is Jehovah’s manifest presence as spoken by God through His prophet.
The Bible says in the book of Pro. 16:7 (That when the ways of a man pleases God, He makes his enemies to be at peace with him).
King David even put it in a better way in Psa. 41:11 (By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me.
Brethren there is something about the presence of God in a man’s life, Psa. 16:11 ( You make known to me the path of life, in your presence there is fullness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.)
The presence of God brings Joy, peace, love, unity, wisdom, guidance, protection, victory, prosperity, fruitfulness, cleansing, the list Brethren is endless.
But the presence of God comes with a condition to be fulfilled by His children (Deut. 28:1-14), the Bible says ‘The steps of a good man is ordered by the Lord’. The man in this context is good not because God is ordering his steps but because he allowed God to order his step, The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want, The Lord is only Shepard’s to sheep not goats. He says in His word that He is The Good Shepard, He knows His sheep by name and his sheep knows Him, he says when he calls they hear Him and the voice of a stranger they will not follow. The Lord will help us in Jesus name.
Brethren the condition to be fulfilled is obedience, as long as we obey His voice, His command, His word, His will, everything will work out all together for good for us.
Total obedience to God in everything guarantee’s His Manifest presence in our lives.
Our main text will be taken from the Books of Jonah Chapter 1, 2, & 3 we will just be reading a few verses from each Chapter.
A very interesting Prophet of God I must say, The Bible says in the Book of Rom. 10:15 ‘And how shall they preach except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things’
Verse17 says ‘So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God’
I want to believe that God created and brought Prophet Jonah to the earth for the city of Nineveh, that was his Divine purpose on earth, to preach the gospel to the people of Nineveh and to win them over to the kingdom of God, through repentance, because after that episode with the city of Nineveh we did not hear about him anymore.
May you and I fulfil our Divine purpose and destiny in Jesus name.
Prophet Jonah almost lost it because of disobedience.
The Bible says God commanded him to go to that great city and cry against it for their wickedness is come up before him.
Ezekiel 3:18 -19
The Bible says that it is not the desire of God that any man should perish, but that he repent and turn away from his evil ways.
‘When I say unto the wicked that thou shalt surely die, and thou givest him not warning nor speaketh to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, the same man shall die in his iniquities but his blood will I require at thine hand. But if you warn him, his blood will be on his own head, if he does not repent and turn away from his evil ways.
So it was a direct command from God but just like so many of us will do Jonah had condemned the city of Nineveh in his heart without giving them a chance to repent. He did not want to show mercy as he had received mercy from God, the Bible says in James 2:3 ‘Mercy rejoiceth over judgement’
The Bible says he went down to Joppa and he found a ship going to Tarshish and he paid the fare and went down to it from the presence of God.
The Bible says in the Bk of Pro. 14:12 ‘There is a way which seemeth right unto a man but the end there of are ways of death’
Brethren that was a very dangerous thing Jonah did, to flee from the presence of God, to disobey his command. Jonah from then was like an accident waiting to happen and because of his disobedience a lot of people almost lost their lives, innocent ones that had no idea what Jonah had done.
The Titanic that set sail from Southhampton to New York in the USA in 1912. Before it set sail the Architect of the Titanic was interviewed by the press and they asked him a question about the Titanic sinking, and he answered and said even God cannot sink the Titanic and Brethren I want to believe it was the blaspheming against God that sunk the Titanic ( the Architect in his pride and boasting actually never even remembered that the ship was built with steel and not wood) and a lot of people lost their lives because of one man’s foolish idle words. It will not be our portion in Jesus name, we will not be caught up in other people’s mistakes in Jesus name. They say when 2 elephants fight it is the grass that suffers.
The presence of God is so very important to a child of God, the absence of the presence of God in the life of a child of God is like the absence of oxygen in the life of a man, he just cannot breathe.
The Bible recorded in 2Sam.6: 1- that when Uzzah was stroke by God because the oxen that carried the ark of God to the city of David shook and he stretched his hand to stop the ark from falling. When King David heard what had happened he became troubled and he commanded that the ark be kept in the house of Obededom the Gittite.
Brethren death was brought to that man’s house but because he fulfilled the conditions of sustaining the presence of God (because the ark of God was likened to the presence of God in the Old Testament) the Bible recorded that for 3 months Obededom and his household prospered like they had never done before, and when King David heard this he said to himself I want it back, I want the presence of God back and he began to wait on The Lord as to how the ark of God would be brought back to the city of David where it belonged.
Brethren in 1 Sam.4: 17- 18 it was not the announcement of the deaths of Eli’s sons ( Phinehas & Hophni) that killed him but the news that the ark of God had been taken by their enemies The Philistines. It was the Glory of God, the manifest presence of Jehovah that had been taken away from Israel that caused him to fall, break his neck and he died.
Anytime the children of Israel went to war and the ark of God was brought into the camp, there was always great rejoicing and when the enemies heard them, they knew that the presence of their God had come to fight for them and their enemies always become afraid.
Say to your neighbour, The presence of God brings victory, may the presence of God be with you always in Jesus name.
My prayer for us is that the manifest presence of God shall never depart from us in Jesus name.
Peradventure you have offended God receive the grace to run back to Him and make your ways right before Him. Jonah did something amazing in Jonah 2: 1- 10 he lifted his voice and cried unto God towards His Holy temple from the belly of the whale after being there for 3 days & 3 nights, God heard, forgave him and He spoke to the fish and it vomited Jonah upon the dry land unhurt.
2 Cor. 10:6 ‘ Our disobedience cannot be punished except we complete our obedience’
Am I speaking to someone here today, The Lord says he is waiting for your complete obedience so he can punish the disobedience and set you free.
Jonah learnt the hard way because he still had to go to Nineveh (Jonah 3:1-4) to preach to them like God had commanded him the first time.
The Bible says in Psa 62:11 ‘Once has God spoken, twice have I heard this that all power belongs to God’
It is for God to speak once and it is for us to hear expressly and obey to the very last letter, for us to retain His manifest presence.
Jonah had no business on that ship to Tarshish, he had no business in the belly of the whale, if he had obeyed the first time, the manifest presence of God would have been with him and his journey would have been smooth sailing.
In the case of Jonah he was given a second chance, God might not deal with another person the same way. We need to be very careful when it comes to the things that please and displease God. Obedience is better than sacrifice (Jonah tried to sacrifice himself when he told the ship merchants to throw him over board and the ship will be calm because he was the cause of all their troubles) , King David was given another chance but King Saul was not. Obedience will stop us from praying some prayers and crying some tears. Total Obedience to God helps us to seek after God the Giver and not the gift.
King David understood the importance of the manifest presence of God in his life, when he tried to make his ways right before God after sleeping with Uriah’s wife and killing Uriah in Psa. 51:11-12 ‘Cast me not away from thy presence and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation and uphold me with thy free spirit.
May The Lord God Almighty bless us and may His presence always be with us and grant us rest on all sides in Jesus name.
Excerpts of a sermon delivered by Pastor (Mrs) Anthonia OBAFAIYE at RCCG EFA York on August 25th 2013