Man, A Message, A Movement Godward
By Keith Daniel
from a message given at "Heart-Cry for Revival" Conference in
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, May 26-29, 1998
Let us consider three things in the Book of Jonah:
the man, the message, and the movement.
"Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai,
saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their
wickedness is come up before Me. But
Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down
to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish...and went down into it to go
with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
"But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea...so that the ship
was like to be broken. Then the
mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god...But Jonah was gone down
into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.
So the shipmaster came to him and said unto him, What meanest thou, O
sleeper? arise, call upon thy God,
if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.
"And they said...Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for
whose cause this evil is upon us. So
they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah...And he said unto them, Take me up,
and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know
that for my sake this great tempest is upon you...So they took up Jonah, and
cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging...Now the Lord
had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah.
And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three
nights..." (Jonah, chapter 1).
After Jonah's agonizing prayer in chapter 2, we read in verse 10 that
the fish vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
"And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time,
saying, Arise go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching
that I bid thee. So Jonah arose,
and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord...and he cried, and
said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh
believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth from the greatest of
them even to the least of them...And God saw their works, that they turned from
their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that He had said that He would do
unto them; and He did it not" (Jonah, chapter 3).
We read in Romans 10:12-15: "There is no difference between
the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call
upon Him. For whosoever shall call
upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How
then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they
believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a
preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent?"
Let us consider firstly the man, Jonah.
How does God prepare the man whom He would use as an instrument of
revival? How does God prepare a man
to preach in such a way that a whole nation repents?
I would like to suggest that God knew how Jonah would react when He
commissioned him to go to that great city and cry against it, "Repent, for
thy wickedness is come up before Me."
The Ninevites of Assyria were a wicked people, an evil and a cruel
people. They were hated and feared
by the nations of the world. The
Israelites had suffered terribly through these wicked Ninevites.
The Israelites feared them and hated them for what they did to the other
nations of the world and to Israel. It's
no wonder Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
God knew how Jonah would react, but God knew also of the torment and the
anguish and the fear and the suffering this man would endure before he finally
stood at Nineveh to preach. How do
I know Jonah suffered so? In
chapter 2 is the prayer of Jonah, the prayer of a man who wanted to die he was
in such torment. Have you ever
prayed like that?
It was a very different Jonah who finally walked onto the streets of
Nineveh to preach than the man who rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence
of the Lord. Jonah stood and
preached in brokenness and great humility in spite of his prejudice against the
C. H. Spurgeon was the only man they ever called the prince of preachers.
Why was this man's preaching honored and revered above all other
preachers of the history of the church? How
did God prepare Spurgeon to make him preach in such a way that the world
remembers him as the greatest preacher who ever lived?
Only once he spoke of it, when in his old age. He stood in the pulpit of God and the tears flowed down his
face as he looked about and hesitated and then told why.
Spurgeon said, "If it wasn't for the suffering, if it wasn't for the
storms, if it wasn't for the fires, for the trials of my life, for the tragedies
that God allowed to come upon my life--if it wasn't for these things, I would be
poverty stricken in the pulpit of God. I
would be poor as a preacher in the hand of God."
You cannot weep with them that weep unless you've wept yourself.
You'll be hard. Oh, what it
will cost for a man to become the instrument of revival!
Spurgeon said, if God could find just one man so broken of self that he
will not touch the glory, no matter what God does through him, a man so broken
by God that he would be incapable of even a sideward glance at the glory, let
alone touch it! If God finds such a
man, Spurgeon says, the world would know of him.
Secondly, what was the message that Jonah preached that brought about
such an amazing movement of God? It's
a message we can hardly whisper today. People
are fearful of it. Jonah preached
judgment. Beloved, America will
never see revival until judgment is preached once again loud and clear in her
Listen to these staggering words in Ezekiel 33:7-9:
"So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the House
of Israel. Therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth and warn them
from Me. When I shall say unto the
wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the
wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood
will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless,
if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his
way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul."
When I was a young preacher, I remember being staggered by God in one
quiet time on my knees. I wrote these words in the front pages of my Bible:
"Art thou ready, O preacher, to take the consequences of letting the
Lord speak through you as He will?"
Paul wrote in Galatians 1:10, "Do I seek to please men; for if I yet
pleased men, I would not be the servant of Christ."
So you seek to please men? You
are not the servant of Christ. In 1
Thessalonians 2:4 we read, "But as we were allowed to be put in trust with
the Gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God which trieth our
hearts." Are you ready, O
preacher, to take the consequences of letting the Lord speak through you as He
Jonah preached judgment. But
beloved, your harshest word from the pulpit of God must throb with love, or God
will rebuke you. Your crudest word
from the pulpit of God must so throb with God's love that every single person
you're preaching to will become conscious that no man has ever loved my soul
like this preacher. That's how we
preach judgment or God will judge us.
Jonah cried out that judgment would come upon the Ninevites and their
nation because of their sin.
Read Jeremiah 18:1-12: "The word which came to Jeremiah from the
Lord, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause
thee to hear My words. Then I went
down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter:
so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
"Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, O house of Israel,
cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord.
Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in Mine hand, O
house of Israel. At what instant I
shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to
pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation, against whom I have pronounced,
turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.
And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a
kingdom, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not
My voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.
"Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the
inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I frame evil
against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his
evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.
And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices,
and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart."
Nothing will stop us, they said. We
want to be free from any constraint concerning sin.
Oh, how many nations in the world today are saying that!
Is America saying it in the heart of her people?
In Psalm 2:1-3, the Psalmist cries out in confusion and great fear,
"Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel
together, against the Lord, and against His Anointed, saying, Let us break their
bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us."
Why do the ungodly, the godless, the irreligious unitedly assemble, and
with one voice cry out for one thing? They
are speaking of Christ, Christianity, its influence, the Gospel's influence upon
a nation--"Let us break their bands asunder and cast their cords from
us." Come, let us free ourselves from slavery and bondage to God's
law. We want to be free from any
restraint of sin.
They say, we want to take away decent speech and call it free speech.
We want our children to hear the language of the gutter and we permit it
to enter the home. We don't want
restrictions on films and media and books and on the stage.
"Come, let us break their bands asunder and cast their cords from
The next verse, (4), says, "He that sitteth in the heavens shall
laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision."
Do you want to know what I see written across America, and the West, and
my country of South Africa? It is
derision, fear, confusion. You
think you can do without God? What
you sow, America, you reap! This
applies not only to individuals; it applies nationally too.
Sow perversion and you reap perverts.
Then you want to jail them. But
it is you who made them. They're
ten years old with guns. Why?
Because you made Hollywood able to make crime and slaughter as something
heroic, so we have gangs and gangsters--when they're ten years old!
O beloved, "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh.
The Lord shall have them in derision.
Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore
displeasure" (verses 4,5). Do
you want to know why all the troubles are going on right now in America? Though
you are the greatest nation in the world, yet look at your fearful hearts. You see crime and you see children destroyed morally before
they've passed the age of ten. They
have no honor. Look at their eyes;
they have no innocence. What have
we done? Why have we done it?
God is troubling us in His sore displeasure--derision, fear, confusion,
hopelessness. What are we going to do with what we've started now that
we've pushed God out? How do we get
back to decency without God?
The verses that follow fill me with hope that God can revive nations like
ours, that God longs to, in spite of generations arising that would reject God
and all the influence of Christianity that their forefathers set as a foundation
in the land. Today many are
fighting to free themselves of what their forefathers embraced.
In spite of this apostasy God says these amazing words:
"Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of
Zion. I will declare the
decree: the Lord hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten
Thee. Ask of Me, and I shall give
Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for
There is hope when the High Priest who stands at the right hand of
God will ask of the Father a petition such as this. There is hope when we cry
out, "Give us America! Give us America!" and when we plead with the Father.
O Jesus, Thou Son of God to whom the Father has promised, "Ask of Me
and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, the uttermost parts of
the earth for Thy possession"--give us America!
Oh, for such a revival that it would spread through the world.
Now comes the judgment if you don't turn!
"Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them
in pieces like a potter's vessel."
"Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of
the earth. Serve the Lord with
fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss
the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled
but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him"
Oh, be wise now, ye kings. Rejoice
in fear and trembling that there is still grace and mercy, that God hasn't
destroyed you yet. Rejoice in
trembling; kiss the Son; pay homage to the Son of God.
Acknowledge Him, the Gospel of Christ; embrace Him as a nation; kiss the
Son of God. You rulers of nations,
you who are in charge, be the first, like the Ninevites' rulers who were seeking
I wonder how much His wrath is kindled right now.
America influences the whole world,
America, you were so blessed once. Now
the world wants to and will follow you into anything.
Blessed indeed is the nation whose God is the Lord.
America, America, "The wicked shall be cast into hell, and all the
nations that forget God (Psalm 9:17). Don't
forget God, America!
The rulers were the first to seek God in Nineveh.
They called upon their people to turn, and they called with such
desperation that their people did turn. The
rulers took the message of Jonah and cried it out by what they did.
God is not making a mistake when He cries out--"O ye kings...ye
judges of the earth...."
George Washington cried out, "It is impossible to rightly govern the
world without God and the Bible." God
give you another George Washington! No
wonder America became the greatest nation in the earth with such men.
Daniel Webster long ago warned the striving people, "If we abide by
the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to
prosper, but if we and our posterity neglect its instructions and authority no
man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury our glory in
If God could only find a man, if God could only find a man who would
without compromise preach the message with such love that it would break our
hearts, if God would only prepare us such a man, we would see the movement
Godward. As Nineveh turned to God,
we will turn to God.
What a heritage America has in men like Jonathan Edwards.
Edwards was broken by the spiritual state of early New England,
America--the irreverence in the church, the lack of fear of God, the
hopelessness that prevailed, no one under conviction of sin.
There was deadness in the churches.
Jonathan Edwards became so broken and fearful by this state of New
England, early America, that he got alone with God.
He was so desperate for three days that he did not eat.
For three nights, he did not sleep.
Every moment of the days and the nights, he was on his knees, weeping,
groaning in agony, crying out, "God, give me New England!
Give me New England, God!"
He had a pen in his hand as he prayed, and paper, and a Bible opened and
the tears were falling onto the paper and onto the pages of the Bible day and
night. This man was crying,
"Give me a message that will turn these people back to God!"
To this man crying for the only message that would turn the people back
to God, God gave revelation. God
made his hand turn the pages; God brought his eyes to the verses all through the Holy Bible.
This man stood up from the presence of God in brokenness, and he walked
into the pulpit of God and something happened.
Before he opened his mouth, God had come.
The people looked and they sat up, as they had never sat up.
This man was not charismatic in his personality.
Charismatic personalities are a hindrance because we rely on personality
to get us through a meeting. Edwards
didn't have great ability. He
didn't raise his hands. The people
didn't even see Jonathan Edward's face. All
they saw was the paper in the dim light that he held as he was reading.
That's what God needs, a holy man of God whose expectation is in God
only, a man who will not touch the glory.
Do you know what message God gave him?
"God, give me New England!"
It became one of the most famous sermons after the Sermon on the Mount
that Christ preached. Edward's sermon was, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry
God." God gave him the message
of Jonah. Judgment!
As he began to preach, men began to slip onto their faces, and to hang
onto the pews, and began to cling to the pillars, and began to cry out.
Men who not once in their life had been stirred by any message, were
suddenly stirred because judgment was being preached.
What started there spread through New England like a flame.
That flame started through Jonathan Edwards became a fire that swept
across early America through young Whitfield.
What did Whitfield preach? Judgment!
Every time he stood in the pulpit--judgment!
But before an appeal was made, men were crawling and weeping.
He was obeying God.
That flame that Edwards started and that was taken by Whitfield spread
like a fire through America. It
came to men like Charles Finney. He
was criticized by the world, but has anyone won so many souls as Finney?
What did Finney preach? Judgment!
On a very different level from the way Whitfield preached it, but O, his
preaching was throbbing with the judgment of God coming upon sin unless you
repent! When the awful judgment
upon sin was cried out from this man, America arose and began to turn to God
under such men.
Through Finney and the prayer revival, as stepping stone, revival came to
men like Moody. Moody preached judgment but God had to remind him very
carefully, Let your harshest word throb with love, Moody.
Even if you preach the judgments of God, let everyone know that behind
the judgments of God are love.
These revivals were stepping stones to revivals that spread through the
world. The only revival that South
Africa had in its history was when Finney's writings were read in the Dutch
Reformed Church where young Andrew Murray fell on his face weeping.
Two weeks later revival swept through the land, and turned the nation's
history. It was through the
revivals that started in America.
Somehow the world wants to follow America.
If America turns back to God, the world will turn back to God.
It did before. Why won't
you, America? Why won't you? You owe it to the world.
You're so corrupt today. Because of your greatness, the world wants to be
Beloved, could it be that you, even with all your praying for revival,
are the greatest hindrance to revival today?
"Judgment is not the message we should preach in dignity in 1998.
In this enlightened age? O,
Forgive me that I preach this way, but I am desperate for revival.
Are you able to pray, preacher, you who pray desperately for revival --
"Oh, God, no matter what it costs me, make me an instrument of revival!
I've prayed for revival. I've
prayed for others; I've prayed for my nation.
Now, my Lord, I want to pray, start revival in me.
I'm the one, God. I have no
right to pray for revival. I want
to dedicate my life on the altar. What I dedicate, You can consecrate. Make me
an instrument of revival, God, no matter what the cost, that I don't become the
enemy of revival."
God, don't turn Your face away.
Look at us. We need God, and
we acknowledge all our efforts, all our outreaches, our organizings cannot stop
what the devil is doing to America and the West and the world.
We are at the end of ourselves, God, but we want You to have Your way in
our lives. Break us of self, break us so we will not touch the glory.
Break us that we would stand and preach in brokenness and great humility,
even to people we're prejudiced against.
God, give us America or we die! Wash
us in the Blood of Christ from all our inconsistencies, all our shallowness, our
hypocrisies, all our unfaithfulness to God in the handling of the Word of God,
all our trying to impress and please man so we've forgotten to please God.
We want to hear man's "Well done" when all we should have done
is flee to God to hear God's "Well done."
Oh, our God, forgive us for not fasting and losing nights of sleep as our
nation is being destroyed and for not crying with great tears with a pain in our
heart, "Give me a message that will bring revival!"
Help us, Lord. Have mercy on
us by the Blood of Jesus Christ. Take
us deeper. Let the blood go through
and through. Create in us clean
hearts, O God. Renew a right
spirit. Then shall we teach
transgressors Thy way and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.
Make us clean and pure in heart and motive. Come, our God; come, our God!
Prepare us no matter what it costs, but don't let us die, not having
brought our nation back to God. In
Jesus Christ's Name.