Editorial – Second Chance

“Now the Word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time.” Jonah 3:1

Jonah had been the runaway prophet. He dreaded so much doing what God had told him to do that he decided to go west to Tarshish instead of east to Ninevah. This decision got him in deep trouble. On the first recorded submarine trip he prayed to the God of heaven. He said later, “my prayer went to you into your holy temple.” Jonah 2:7. The voyage seemed like an eternity, he said, “the earth with its bars was behind me forever.” Jonah 2:6. But in that living grave God heard him. Jonah said, “out of the belly of sheol I cried, You heard my voice.” Jonah 2:2.

Have not many other people had an experience like Jonah. For various reasons the way that God marked out for them to travel seemed too difficult, too painful, too distasteful, too dangerous or just plain ruinous and the human spirit shrank from what God said to do. We thought that we could not possibly do exactly as God directed. “Times have changed”(Testimonies, vol. 5, 211) and so, instead of going east, we went west to escape the disagreeable duty and find greater peace and happiness in a way that we deemed better than the one God had pointed out for us.

We still claimed of course that we “fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” (Jonah 1:9) and we still profess to be His people even after we had purchased our ticket to go opposite the direction that He has directed. If God should deal with us like we are prone to deal with each other we would all perish. But we serve a God who specializes in giving second chances to disobedient, runaway disciples. First, of course, we have to go through our own deep trouble—going opposite to God’s express instructions in any line always results in consequences, in trials and suffering even though we are forgiven when we repent and confess our sins. Sometimes we must, because of our own previous course of action, be cast into deep trouble, into stormy waters, until it seems that there is no hope and that both God and man have forsaken us and we say with Jonah, “I have been cast out of Your sight.” Jonah 2:4. But if we keep praying and surrendering our lives to the Lord we will find that, “Salvation is of the Lord.” Jonah 2:9.

When He sees that it is time, He can remove us from the furnace of trouble. “The refining furnace is to remove the dross. When the Refiner sees His image reflected in you perfectly, He will remove you from the furnace. You will not be left to be consumed or to endure the fiery ordeal any longer than is necessary for your purification. But it is necessary for you, in order to reflect the divine image, to submit to the process the Refiner chooses for you, that you may be cleansed, purified, and every spot and blemish removed—not even a wrinkle left in your Christian character.” Our High Calling, 312.

“I saw that the enemy would either contend for the usefulness or the life of the godly, and will try to mar their peace as long as they live in this world. But his power is limited. He may cause the furnace to be heated, but Jesus and angels will watch the trusting Christian, that nothing may be consumed but the dross. The fire kindled by Satan, can have no power to destroy or hurt the true metal. It is important to close every door possible, against the entrance of Satan. It is the privilege of every family to so live that Satan cannot take advantage of anything they may say or do, to tear each other down. Every member of the family should bear in mind that all have just as much as they can do to resist our wily foe, and with earnest prayers and unyielding faith, they must rely upon the merits of the blood of Christ, and claim His saving strength. The powers of darkness gather about the soul and shut Jesus from our sight, and at times we can only wait in sorrow and amazement until the cloud passes over. These seasons are sometimes terrible. Hope seems to fail, and despair seizes upon us. In these dreadful hours we must learn to trust, to depend on the sole merits of the atonement, and in all our helpless unworthiness cast ourselves upon the merits of the crucified and risen Savior. We shall never perish while we do this—never! . . .We are too quickly discouraged, and earnestly cry for the trial to be removed from us, when we should plead for patience to endure, and grace to overcome.” Review and Herald, April 22, 1862.

Editorial – The Reluctant Prophet

Jonah was the prophet who did not want to be a prophet. The Bible does not give all the reasons for Jonah’s reluctance, but it does record his complaint against God in Jonah 4.  Jonah was afraid for his own reputation. He feared that since he had stated the prophecy in unconditional terms, as God had instructed, he could be considered a false prophet if God showed mercy and his prophecy did not come to pass.

There are many people today to whom God has given the last message of warning and mercy to give to the world who are like Jonah. Instead of going east they go west. Instead of taking the message to everyone whom the Lord places in their pathway of influence, they are simply engaging in worldly business—not doing anything illegal (it was not illegal for Jonah to travel to Tarshish), but not getting the message out.

If you are one of those people, are you going to awake before it is too late? The ship’s captain said to Jonah, “What do you mean sleeping. Get up” (Jonah 1:6)! This wake-up call needs to be given to many who are asleep today. Will you hear the wake-up call before it is too late? Read the mission letter in this magazine for a suggestion what you could do.

“Not one in a hundred among us is doing anything beyond engaging in common, worldly enterprises. We are not half awake to the worth of the souls for whom Christ died.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 148.

Remember, there are people that you can reach who cannot be reached by others. This is especially true of many “timid” women who think that all the evangelism can be done by their husbands or sons or male relatives. Notice what God said women can do.

“Women as well as men can engage in the work of hiding the truth where it can work out and be made manifest. They can take their place in the work at this crisis, and the Lord will work through them. If they are imbued with a sense of their duty, and labor under the influence of the Spirit of God, they will have just the self-possession required for this time. The Saviour will reflect upon these self-sacrificing women the light of His countenance, and this will give them a power that will exceed that of men. They can do in families a work that men cannot do, a work that reaches the inner life. They can come close to the hearts of those whom men cannot reach. Their work is needed. Discreet and humble women can do a good work in explaining the truth to the people in their homes. The word of God thus explained will do its leavening work, and through its influence whole families will be converted.” Ibid., vol. 9, 128, 129.

Bible Study Guides – The Prayers of the Righteous

November 17, 2012 – November 23, 2012

Key Text

“Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.” James 5:10.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 3, 273–288; The Sanctified Life, 42–52.


“The sincerity of our prayers can be proved only by the vigor of our endeavor to obey God’s commandments.” Counsels on Health, 504.


  • What can we learn from the prayers of godly men? Nehemiah 1:4–11; Daniel 9:3–5.

Note: “Nehemiah humbled himself before God, giving Him the glory due unto His name. Thus also did Daniel in Babylon. Let us study the prayers of these men. They teach us that we are to humble ourselves, but that we are never to obliterate the line of demarcation between God’s commandment-keeping people and those who have no respect for His law.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1136.

  • How did God open the way for Nehemiah’s work? Nehemiah 2:1–6.

Note: “He [Nehemiah] had a sacred trust to fulfill, in which he required help from the king; and he realized that much depended upon his presenting the matter in such a way as to win his approval and enlist his aid. ‘I prayed,’ he said, ‘to the God of heaven’ [Nehemiah 2:4]. In that brief prayer Nehemiah pressed into the presence of the King of kings and won to his side a power that can turn hearts as the rivers of waters are turned.” Prophets and Kings, 631.

“Nehemiah did not regard his duty as done when he had mourned and wept and prayed before the Lord. He did not only pray. He worked, mingling petition and endeavor.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 346.


  • Why did Elijah’s prayer so effectively alter the course of nature? James 5:17.

Note: “Viewing this [Israel’s] apostasy from his mountain retreat, Elijah was overwhelmed with sorrow. In anguish of soul he besought God to arrest the once-favored people in their wicked course, to visit them with judgments, if need be, that they might be led to see in its true light their departure from Heaven. He longed to see them brought to repentance before they should go to such lengths in evil-doing as to provoke the Lord to destroy them utterly.

“Elijah’s prayer was answered. Oft-repeated appeals, remonstrances, and warnings had failed to bring Israel to repentance. The time had come when God must speak to them by means of judgments. Inasmuch as the worshipers of Baal claimed that the treasures of heaven, the dew and the rain, came not from Jehovah, but from the ruling forces of nature, and that it was through the creative energy of the sun that the earth was enriched and made to bring forth abundantly, the curse of God was to rest heavily upon the polluted land. The apostate tribes of Israel were to be shown the folly of trusting to the power of Baal for temporal blessings. Until they should turn to God with repentance, and acknowledge Him as the source of all blessing, there should fall upon the land neither dew nor rain.” Prophets and Kings, 120.

  • Relate Elijah’s experience at Mount Carmel. I Kings 18:17–45; James 5:18.

Note: “He [Elijah] reminds the people of their degeneracy, which has awakened the wrath of God against them, and then calls upon them to humble their hearts and turn to the God of their fathers, that His curse may be removed from them. …

“He then reverentially bows before the unseen God, raises his hands toward heaven, and offers a calm and simple prayer, unattended with violent gestures or contortions of the body. No shrieks resound over Carmel’s height. A solemn silence, which is oppressive to the priests of Baal, rests upon all. In his prayer, Elijah makes use of no extravagant expressions. He prays to Jehovah as though He were nigh, witnessing the whole scene, and hearing his sincere, fervent, yet simple prayer. Baal’s priests have screamed, and foamed, and leaped, and prayed, very long—from morning until near evening. Elijah’s prayer is very short, earnest, reverential, and sincere.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 284, 285.


  • Why didn’t the rain come immediately after Elijah’s first prayer? Psalm 26:2.

Note: “Important lessons are presented to us in the experience of Elijah. When upon Mount Carmel he offered the prayer for rain, his faith was tested, but he persevered in making known his request unto God. Six times he prayed earnestly, and yet there was no sign that his petition was granted, but with strong faith he urged his plea to the throne of grace. Had he given up in discouragement at the sixth time, his prayer would not have been answered, but he persevered till the answer came. We have a God whose ear is not closed to our petitions; and if we prove His word, He will honor our faith. He wants us to have all our interests interwoven with His interests, and then He can safely bless us; for we shall not then take glory to self when the blessing is ours, but shall render all the praise to God. God does not always answer our prayers the first time we call upon Him; for should He do this, we might take it for granted that we had a right to all the blessings and favors He bestowed upon us. Instead of searching our hearts to see if any evil was entertained by us, any sin indulged, we should become careless, and fail to realize our dependence upon Him, and our need of His help.” The Review and Herald, June 9, 1891.

  • What were Isaiah’s concerns when he was called by God, and how was he strengthened by communion with the Almighty? Isaiah 6:5-7.

Note: “The prophet [Isaiah] was nerved for the work before him. The memory of this vision was carried with him throughout his long and arduous mission.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 751.

  • During the time Jonah was neglecting his duty to God, what serious warning must we heed from his experience? Jonah 1:1–12.

Note: “The prayers of the man [Jonah] who had turned aside from the path of duty brought no help.” Prophets and Kings, 267.

  • What does Jonah’s history also teach of God’s delight in the prayers of the penitent? Jonah 2:1–10; 3:4–10.


  • How important was prayer to the prophet Daniel? Daniel 6:4–10.

Note: “The decree goes forth from the king. Daniel is aware of all that has been done. … But he does not change his course in a single particular.” The Review and Herald, February 8, 1881.

“Have a set time, a special season for prayer at least three times a day. Morning, noon, and at night Daniel prayed to his God, notwithstanding the king’s decree, and the fearful den of lions. He was not ashamed or afraid to pray, but with his windows opened he prayed three times a day.” The Youth’s Instructor, October 1, 1855.

  • What can we learn from Daniel’s prayer for apostate Israel? Daniel 9:4–19.

Note: “The man of God was praying, not for a flight of happy feeling, but for a knowledge of the divine will. And he desired this knowledge, not merely for himself, but for his people. His great burden was for Israel, who were not, in the strictest sense, keeping the law of God. He acknowledges that all their misfortunes have come upon them in consequence of their transgressions of that holy law. … They had lost their peculiar, holy character as God’s chosen people. [Daniel 9:17 quoted.] Daniel’s heart turns with intense longing to the desolate sanctuary of God. He knows that its prosperity can be restored only as Israel shall repent of their transgressions of God’s law, and become humble, and faithful, and obedient.” The Review and Herald, February 8, 1881.

“Daniel’s heart was burdened for the people of God, for the city and temple that were laid waste. His deepest interest was for the honor of God and the prosperity of Israel. It was this that moved him to seek God with prayer and fasting and deep humiliation. Brethren in responsible positions in the Lord’s work for this time, have not we as great need to call upon God as had Daniel? I address those who believe that we are living in the very last period of this earth’s history. I entreat you to take upon your own souls a burden for our churches, our schools, and our institutions. That God who heard Daniel’s prayer will hear ours when we come to Him in contrition. Our necessities are as urgent, our difficulties are as great, and we need to have the same intensity of purpose, and in faith roll our burden upon the great Burden-bearer. There is need for hearts to be as deeply moved in our time as in the time when Daniel prayed.” Ibid., February 9, 1897.


  • What should characterize our prayers today, and why? II Corinthians 6:2.

Note: “In the early stages of this work, there were but few friends of the cause. These servants of God wept and prayed for a clear understanding of the truth. They suffered privations and much self-denial, in order to spread a knowledge of it; and although as the result of much labor but few received the precious message, yet step by step they followed as God’s opening providence led the way. They did not study their own convenience or shrink at hardships. God, through these men, prepared the way, and the truth has been made very plain; yet some who have since embraced the truth have failed to take upon themselves the burden of the work.” The Review and Herald, February 12, 1880.

“God has loaded us with His benefits. Immortal blessings have been poured upon us in great measure. Messengers have been sent with warnings, reproofs, and entreaties. God’s servants have wept and prayed over the lukewarm state of the church. Some may arouse, but only to fall back into unconsciousness of their sin and peril. Passion, worldliness, malice, envy, pride, strife for supremacy, make our churches weak and powerless. … It is still thy day, O church of God, whom He has made the depositary of His law. But this day of trust and probation is fast drawing to a close. The sun is fast westering. … It is time to seek God earnestly, saying with Jacob, ‘I will not let thee go except thou bless me’ [Genesis 32:26]. It will be of no avail to make a spasmodic effort, only to fall back into spiritual lethargy and lukewarmness. The past, with the slighted mercies, the admonitions unheeded, the earthly passions uncorrected, the privileges unimproved, the soul temple filled with desecrated shrines—all is recorded in the books of heaven. But most solemn moments are still before you. Because of past neglect, the efforts you make must be the more earnest.” The Review and Herald, November 2, 1886.


1 How did Nehemiah win the favor of the king?

2 What should we learn from the prayers of the men discussed in this lesson?

3 Why was there a delay before the answer came?

4 Why did Daniel include himself in prayer for Israel?

5 What may be hindering our prayers from being heard?

© 2003 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Jonah

November 7, 2015 – November 13, 2015

Key Text

“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.” Jonah 1:2.

Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 265–278.


“The responsibility placed upon Jonah, in the charge given him to warn the inhabitants of Nineveh, was indeed great; yet He who had bidden him go was well able to sustain His servant and give him success.” The Review and Herald, December 4, 1913.


  • What was the moral condition of Nineveh at the time Jonah was sent there? Nahum 3:1.

Note: “In the time of its temporal prosperity Nineveh was a center of crime and wickedness. …

“Yet Nineveh, wicked though it had become, was not wholly given over to evil. He who ‘beholdeth all the sons of men’ (Psalm 33:13) and ‘seeth every precious thing’ (Job 28:10) perceived in that city many who were reaching out after something better and higher, and who, if granted opportunity to learn of the living God, would put away their evil deeds and worship Him.” Prophets and Kings, 265, 266.

  • Comparing the cities of Sodom and Nineveh, how many souls were within the reach of the Holy Spirit? Genesis 18:32; Jonah 4:11. What warning echoes down to us today?

Note: “The sins of Sodom are repeated in our day, and the earth is destroyed and corrupted under the inhabitants thereof; but the worst feature of the iniquity of this day is a form of godliness without the power thereof. Those who profess to have great light are found among the careless and indifferent, and the cause of Christ is wounded in the house of its professed friends. Let those who would be saved, arouse from their lethargy, and give the trumpet a certain sound; for the end of all things is at hand.” The Signs of the Times, October 16, 1893.


  • Who was commissioned to call the Ninevites to repentance, and how did the devil tempt him to doubt, hesitate, and finally try to reject God’s call? Jonah 1:2, 3.

Note: “As the prophet thought of the difficulties and seeming impossibilities of this commission, he was tempted to question the wisdom of the call. From a human viewpoint it seemed as if nothing could be gained by proclaiming such a message in that proud city. He forgot for the moment that the God Whom he served was all-wise and all-powerful. While he hesitated, still doubting, Satan overwhelmed him with discouragement. The prophet was seized with a great dread, and he ‘rose up to flee unto Tarshish’ (Jonah 1:3). …

“In the charge given him, Jonah had been entrusted with a heavy responsibility; yet He who had bidden him go was able to sustain His servant and grant him success. Had the prophet obeyed unquestioningly, he would have been spared many bitter experiences, and would have been blessed abundantly.” Prophets and Kings, 266.

  • What happened while Jonah was sleeping under the impression that he was safely fleeing from his God-given responsibility? Jonah 1:4, 5.

Note: “If, when the call first came to him, Jonah had stopped to consider calmly, he might have known how foolish would be any effort on his part to escape the responsibility placed upon him. But not for long was he permitted to go on undisturbed in his mad flight.” Prophets and Kings, 267.

  • What should all learn from the captain’s rebuke with which he awakened the sleeping prophet? Jonah 1:6. What did the mariners do as a last resort to still the storm? Verse 7.

Note: “The prayers of the man who had turned aside from the path of duty brought no help.” Prophets and Kings, 267.


  • When the ship’s crew interrogated Jonah, how did the prophet identify himself? Jonah 1:8, 9.
  • How did those mariners finally become acquainted with the true God? Jonah 1:10–16.
  • What opportunities and privileges for witnessing do we often forfeit, and why? I Peter 3:15.

Note: “If the needs of the Lord’s work were set forth in a proper light before those who have means and influence, these men might do much to advance the cause of present truth. God’s people have lost many privileges of which they could have taken advantage, had they not chosen to stand independent of the world.

“In the providence of God, we are daily brought into connection with the unconverted. By His own right hand God is preparing the way before us, in order that His work may progress rapidly. As colaborers with Him, we have a sacred work to do. We are to have travail of soul for those who are in high places; we are to extend to them the gracious invitation to come to the marriage feast.” Counsels on Stewardship, 186.

“Many flatter themselves that they could do great things if they only had the opportunity, but something has always prevented them; Providence has hedged their way in so that they could not do what they desired to do. We expect no great opportunity will meet us on the road, but by prompt and vigorous action we must seize the opportunities, make opportunities and master difficulties.

“You are in need of vital energy from heaven. We must in our work not only strike the iron when it is hot but make the iron hot by striking. Slow, easy, indolent movements will do nothing for us in this work. We must be instant in season, out of season. These are critical times for work. By hesitation and delay we lose many good opportunities. …

“That which stands most in the way of your performing duty is irresolution, weakness of purpose, indecision.” Evangelism, 647.


  • After Jonah had been vomited upon the dry land, what command did he receive from the Lord the second time? Jonah 3:1, 2.
  • What did he do as soon as he entered the doomed city? Jonah 3:3.
  • In what way did God demonstrate His mercy towards Nineveh, and why? Jonah 3:5–10.

Note: “As Jonah entered the city, he began at once to ‘cry against’ it the message, ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown’ (Jonah 3:4). From street to street he went, sounding the note of warning. …

“As king and nobles, with the common people, the high and the low, ‘repented at the preaching of Jonas’ (Matthew 12:41) and united in crying to the God of heaven, His mercy was granted them. … Their doom was averted, the God of Israel was exalted and honored throughout the heathen world, and His law was revered. Not until many years later was Nineveh to fall a prey to the surrounding nations through forgetfulness of God and through boastful pride.” Prophets and Kings, 270, 271.

  • What comparison did Jesus make between the repentant heathen and the Jews who refused to repent? Matthew 12:41.

Note: “God allows men a period of probation; but there is a point beyond which Divine patience is exhausted, and the judgments of God are sure to follow. The Lord bears long with men, and with cities, mercifully giving warnings to save them from divine wrath; but a time will come when pleadings for mercy will no longer be heard, and the rebellious element that continues to reject the light of truth will be blotted out, in mercy to themselves and to those who would otherwise be influenced by their example.” Prophets and Kings, 276.

“We shall not be held accountable for the light that has not reached our perception, but for that which we have resisted and refused.” The Review and Herald, April 25, 1893.


  • Instead of rejoicing over the repentance of Nineveh, how did Jonah complain to the Lord, and what excuse did Jonah make for his doubts and disobedience? Jonah 4:1–3.
  • What should we learn from the way God sought to bring Jonah to his senses? Jonah 4:5–11.

Note: “Confused, humiliated, and unable to understand God’s purpose in sparing Nineveh, Jonah nevertheless had fulfilled the commission given him to warn that great city; and though the event predicted did not come to pass, yet the message of warning was nonetheless from God. And it accomplished the purpose God designed it should. The glory of His grace was revealed among the heathen.” Prophets and Kings, 272, 273.

“Our God is a God of mercy. With long-sufferance and tender compassion He deals with the transgressors of His law. And yet, in this our day, when men and women have so many opportunities for becoming familiar with the divine law as revealed in Holy Writ, the great Ruler of the universe cannot behold with any satisfaction the wicked cities, where reign violence and crime.” Ibid., 275, 276.

“Every angel in glory is interested in the work being done for the salvation of souls. We are not awake as we should be.” Evangelism, 282.


1 What was the main difference between Sodom and Nineveh?

2 Name some ways by which we may be in danger of imitating Jonah’s hesitation, doubt, and attempt to escape God’s voice.

3 How might God surprise us as He did Jonah after fulfilling his duty to warn of impending judgment?

4 How is our attitude too often like Jonah’s after the victory?

5 What kinds of illustrations to awaken us does God give us today?

© 2014 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.