Jonah Goes to Nineveh
3 ” 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.”
He was first commanded by the Lord to preach repentance in this huge city of Nineveh, but he didn’t go. He went to Joppa instead looking to book a passage to Tarshish. He was on the run from the bidding of the Lord.
Why? Because as we will find out in the next chapter of the book, Jonah counted on God’s loving mercy. He knew that if, (when), the city repented of its sins, the Almighty would have compassion on Nineveh and relent from sending judgment upon them, (Jonah 4:1-2).
Because of this fact, Jonah apparently didn’t see the need to take the time to restore the city to its Godly roots. How else they may have found to repent of their infidelity had Jonah not gone, we just don’t know.
But one thing is clear, God did turn away His wrath from the Ninivites as they returned to piety. That’s just the kind of God we have, and He never changes. He’s the same forgiving Lord today.
From the Newseum
Now turn on your wildest imaginations for one minute. Try to picture it if we could learn in this story the lesson of sincere repentance from our worldly ways in the U.S.A. Envision for just a moment our good and loving Lord reaching down to grasp our hands held high towards heaven.
Visualize if you can the Lord lifting our nation up from its current sinful state, doing away with any and all physical judgments against us, (if He has invoked any thus far), and setting us on the righteous path to Godly love once again.
We wouldn’t need to necessarily tear our clothing or dawn sackcloth and sit in ashes. We would simply start with a prayer of forgiveness from our nation’s leaders and return to the Christian based laws of liberty and justice which were on the books at the dawn of this nation.
Proclaim respect for the one true God of all, and allegiance to Him as the first “rule of business” in the land. We could understand if some, (even many), did not want to follow God as it is a free-will choice given us by the Lord.
Just as long as the unbelievers followed all other laws, derived from the roots of His love for mankind, all would be fine. Such things as loving our neighbor as ourselves, (Matthew 22:39), and looking after the interests of others, (Philippians 2:3-5), would be the order of the day.
(Aren’t these two ideals something which most people are after anyway?) Oh well…
It’s a great prayer to ask God for…the return of our nation to sanctity and holy virtues. And, if it were in His plans and will, this nation would change immediately…just as Nineveh did all those years ago!
But as it seems to be going now, it doesn’t appear that the Lord is directing the course of this nation in His direction. However, with each day’s new dawn, we just never know what may happen…