1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. 4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. 6 The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, 8 but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9 Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” 10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
My bible’s commentary:
This is a remarkable statement of God’s grace to Jonah, which rings true also for each of us. God does not give us one shot at responding in faithfulness to his call. He is the God of second chances. Indeed, because of the work of Christ, God will never give up and quit on us. God’s grace led Jonah not only to repentance but to useful ministry. Along with forgiveness came restoration. Jonah’s experience of God’s mercy then became the backdrop to his ministry in Nineveh.
People in the great cities of the world tend to live hectic lives, consumed with the pressing needs of the moment: running a business, raising a family, or enjoying some sport. Jonah walked right into the bustling city and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” (v. 4)
God’s word always engages people with eternal issues. It lifts our horizons from the immediate interests of our lives to the imminent and overwhelming reality of either everlasting destruction or eternal life. “Whatever you are doing now,” Jonah was saying, “you need to realize that you will soon face the judgment of God-and that day is nearer than you think.”
Surprisingly, the people of Nineveh responded in the heartfelt belief (v. 5). They gave up their evil ways. The proclaimed word of God brought belief (v. 5), ignited prayer (v. 8), and produced repentance (v. 10) in people who had expressed no prior interest in God. Again, we learn from the converted hearts of these cruel pagans that true faith requires a supernatural work of God to change hearts.
Repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin. Neither can exist without the other. Repentance is possible only when faith is present; and where there is faith, repentance will also be found. Faith comes from a spiritual awakening to our own need and to God’s glory. Repentance is a gift from God that flows from faith; it is the evidence of genuine faith
Acts 11:18– When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
The three days and three nights that Jonah spent in the belly of a fish was for Nineveh the “sign” of God’s great mercy for sinners, in the same way, Jesus death and his resurrection three days later is a sign for us.
Matt. 12:39-40– But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Luke 11:29-30–When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
The good news of the gospel is that God has poured out on Jesus the wrath that we deserve so that we may not perish. The death and resurrection of Jesus give us every reason to hope in the mercy of God!
Thank the Lord that he gives us more then one chance to be obedient as he did to Jonah and I believe God has used the people of Ninevah to show us to never give up on those who are lost and those who have fallen away. If they don’t let us get close enough to to talk to them, we can pray for them, daily, that they repent and their faith gets stronger.
If you have any prayer requests, please share them and also your favorite songs and bible verses that lifted you up today.
I wish all of you a very blessed Monday.