What do Las Vegas, Hong Kong, London, and even your hometown have in common? They are all cities where people need God, even though they won’t admit it. However, that won’t stop God from sending messengers with the gospel. That is what He did for Nineveh.
Nineveh had a reputation—and it wasn’t a good one! The prophet Nahum tells us that Nineveh conceived evil plots against God, exploited the helpless, committed war crimes, and encouraged idolatry, prostitution, and witchcraft. It is not surprising that Jonah grew up hating the Ninevites and now feared for his life when God commanded him to go witness to them. But after God saved him from drowning, and he decided to obey, God gave the Ninevites a second chance too (vv. 1–3).
Jonah’s words recorded in verse four were most likely the summary of his message to the Ninevites. He emphasized that they would be “overthrown” if they did not repent, like what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:25). Their response to God’s word was astonishing! They believed God and put their repentance into action by fasting and covering themselves. Verse five informs the reader that this great awakening moment began with the people and eventually reached all the way to the king. The king then issued a city-wide mandate for everyone to turn from their evil ways (vv. 6–9). God’s mercy was again on display, and He momentarily held back His wrath and judgment on the Ninevites (v. 10).
When we obey God’s Word and share it, we may be surprised at how people respond. In a matter of days, God gave a second chance to a wayward prophet and a wayward city. Don’t underestimate how God could use you.
>> Is there a Nineveh in your life? Who are the people you would rather avoid? Perhaps God wants you to bring His Word to them? Begin today to pray for them and ask God to soften your heart if He wants you to go.
Father, some of us have hardened our hearts against everyone, including You. Some of us reserve our bitterness for a specific person or group. Forgive us, soften our hearts, and give us abiding love for those we despise.