Jonah 2:10 – 3:1-2 – And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land. And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
What a way to be thrust back into the ministry! Vomited out of a fish onto dry land, Jonah hears God calling him again to go to Nineveh. When Christians fail, God doesn’t put an end to their ministry; He justs helps them back to their feet to serve Him again.
So this time, Jonah is commanded to go to Nineveh a second time. Jonah got a second chance from God, and God was trying to, through that experience, teach Jonah to give others second chances.
Jonah 3:3-4 – So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
Jonah’s recorded message to the Ninevites was simple and short. It did not tell of who was going to overthrow the city, but either the Ninevites knew of the true God in Heaven or there is some unwritten communication here. In any scenario, the King of Nineveh ordered that the city repent of their wicked ways before God, that they may not be destroyed.
Jonah 3:6-10 – For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
God gave Nineveh a second chance after seeing their change of heart. The entire city was ordered to put away wicked ways and cry unto God for forgiveness. If preachers today could get such a result, the author would wonder how they would respond, as compared to Jonah, as noted in chapter 4.
Jonah 4:1 – But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.
This was the response of a preacher to the salvation of God of a very wicked city. This Jonah, a man who God entrusted to deliver messages from God to the children of Israel and quite possibly a man of some status in the religious realm at that time period in Israel. Jonah was angry that God had chosen to save Nineveh. Not only this, Jonah knew God would save the city if they had repented, and for this reason, by Jonah’s own admission, Jonah did not want to preach the message of God.
Jonah 4:2 – And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
One should strive to be different than Jonah in the preaching of God’s message. Any vile person can repent of their sins and come to God; it makes no difference if a five year old girl gets saved or a old drug dealer repents of his sin. “Salvation is of the Lord.”(Jonah 2:9b) How quickly Jonah forgot that salvation is not on his terms; it is on God’s terms.