Verse 1 – Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying,
Verse 2 – “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.”
Some people may feel as though they can’t serve God because of past mistakes, but serving God is not an earned position. No one is truly and perfectly qualified. The Lord equips us after the calling. What we do is pursue it.
Verse 3 – So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three day journey in extent.
Verse 4 – And Jonah began to enter the city on the first days walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
Scripture shows that Jonah preached “one time.” Does this look a little half-hearted? Did God only tell him to say that one sentence? The district of Nineveh was about 30 to 60 miles across. You would think he would have started preaching as he walked those miles so everyone could hear. Nope!
Verse 5 – So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.
Verse 6 – The word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes.
Some people accept God’s message the first time they hear it, while others wait until they have hit rock bottom. And still there are those that will never listen and never turn, but this king listened and turned towards God.
Verse 7 – And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, “Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water.
Verse 8 – “But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.
Verse 9 – “Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?”
Jonah’s one sentence message gave no indication that if they repented that God would relent. The king says, “Who knows, He might!” It was worth a try. I believe Jonah had more to say about them repenting, but he didn’t say it because he truly didn’t want them to be saved. Jonah only wanted the harsh side of the message to reach them, not the grace and mercy shown by God.
Verse 10 – Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.
How sad to look at the lost and just say, “You are going to die one day and go to hell for all eternity,” and stop there. Why not finish the message by telling them that there is a God that died for their sin and can wash them clean of all sin with forgiveness and mercy from on high. Yes people need to know that without God they will spend eternity without him, but don’t ever forget to start, by telling them they have not went too far to be forgiven and can be saved!