At the beginning of chapter 3 we see God telling Jonah for a second time to go to Nineveh, I presume Jonah had a wash before he journeyed to Nineveh to go tell them of God’s warning.
Nineveh was three days travelling in breadth with an estimated population of 120,000, Jonah couldn’t go to Nineveh and say what he wanted to say or tell them what they wanted to hear. No he had to tell them what God wanted him to say. Question: have we been guilty of telling someone what we or they wanted to hear and not what God wanted them to hear, either out of fear of their reaction or having our own agenda?
The Ninevites must have known that Jonah was sent from God and his words were from God hence they took note and repented. I find it interesting that the Ninevites didn’t “assume” because they had changed their ways God would automatically forgive them. It was a course of action they knew that they had to take regardless because they knew how much they had upset the Lord God of Creation.
In Matthew 12:41 Jesus is introducing his listeners to Gentiles (Ninevites) who had turned to God, and who can therefore appear for the prosecution. The Ninevites repented when they heard Jonah’s warnings, but the rulers at the time had not responded to Jesus’ call for repentance despite witnessing Jesus healing the sick, raising the dead, performing miracles.
When I read this chapter I tried to put myself in Jonah’s shoes trying to think how I would have felt, yes the Lord saved Jonah by having a great fish swallow him. But the thought of walking into a Godless society of 120,000+ telling them to turn from their sinful lifestyle otherwise the God who ‘I’ worship will wipe you off the face of the earth, in today’s postmodern secular society what response would I receive?
God showed divine mercy to the Ninevites as there were no sacrifices (none recorded) but they had broken spirits, contrite hearts and we’re sincerely resentful / sorry for their sins.
This coming week if Satan has planted the lie in your mind thoughts that your not worthy of forgiveness or God’s mercy, cast them aside and ask the Lord for forgiveness. And for those who have previously chosen not to be obedient to God because of being fearful of the outcome, consequences ask Him for forgiveness and His strength and wisdom to accept His calling in the future.
All Bible verses and links have been taken from http://www.biblegateway.com