JONAH 3:1-10 (NIV – UK)
Jonah goes to Nineveh
1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.’
3 Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. 4 Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, ‘Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.’ 5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:
‘By the decree of the king and his nobles:
Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.’
10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
URGENTLY CALL ON GOD
Jonah, after going through his death and resurrection experience, now does the will of the Lord and goes to Ninevah to preach against it (v. 3).
Jonah proclaimed the Lord’s message to Ninevah – he warned them of the destruction facing them. And what was Ninevah’s response? Ninevah’s response was to ‘urgently call on God’ (v. 8). The people of Ninevah believed Jonah’s message and turned to God. Because of this, God showed them mercy and relented (v. 10). But it seems that, even more crucial than avoiding that physical destruction, the people of Ninevah also guaranteed themselves a much greater prize by turning to the Lord. Jesus says, in Matthew 12:41:
“The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah.”
The people of Ninevah will be with Jesus at the judgement – they will be amongst those who will wise up with Jesus at the judgement – they granted eternal salvation through Jesus.
Jonah – who was so apprehensive about going to Ninevah, led many people to salvation through his preaching.
Question: Have you ever been afraid to warn people what awaits those who choose an eternity without Jesus? How do you think you personally can gain confidence in spreading the Gospel message?