Salvation of a Wicked City

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.

Forgiveness From God

As seen in the previous chapter, Jonah was punished for his disobedience of God’s direct command to go to Nineveh. He was in the whale for three days and nights, before he finally broke down and repented of his sin before God. Jonah realised that his sin was wrong, and that he needed to confess it to God before he could open communication with him. Sin can only be reconciled through sincere confession, and that is what Jonah did. God graciously gave Jonah a second chance; likewise Jonah was to give Nineveh a second chance.

(Author’s note: For sake of space the entire passage will not be quoted to the post, but it would be good to read all of Jonah 2 with this post)

Jonah 2:1-2,10 – Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.

Jonah confessed his sin to God, and God forgave him and put him back on his feet. While this seems simple, it has much greater meaning. Jonah, who 3 days before had rejected the call of God to preach salvation in Nineveh, was given a second chance. Since God will forgive that, and then help us back up, even if we struggle with sin God will be there. He is not going to leave us behind because we sin; but do not use that as an excuse to sin freely. As seen in the previous chapter, God will punish sin; perhaps not by throwing disobedient servants in a great fish, but by other means that will get the attention of a person. Make a note of this as you go about your day.


The Disobedience of Jonah

In the book of Jonah, there is a common story that most will have heard taught in Sunday School as a young child. For the next few posts, the author would ask that the readers look at the story in a different light, to see some important truths contained in the text. Behind the children’s Bible story is an important message that can apply to any Christian today. In today’s post, chapter 1 of the book of Jonah will be covered, on the disobedience of Jonah.

Jonah 1:1-2 – Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

The first point that can be brought of this first chapter is that Jonah was called to preach in Nineveh which possibly, from further study of the city, could be on par with today’s Las Vegas, or its nickname: Sin City. A preacher, or in this case, a prophet, would probably not be excited to have to go and preach there, due to the possible hostility of the crowd. However, sometimes a person has to go and do something that they do not want to do; whether it be cleaning the bathrooms at a job or preaching against a wicked city. The principle applies to any job that one may face.

Jonah 1:3 – But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

Jonah’s reaction to God’s calling is probably the same response that most Christians today would have to a task they know they should do, but don’t want to do. One may say: “Well, I didn’t jump on a ship to run away from God,” and you probably didn’t. But not doing what God asks you to do is just as bad as running away from Him. You may not be running away from God, but you won’t be running to Him either. And as one will see in the next few verses, one will never have the time or money to escape from God.

Jonah 1:4 – But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.

The Lord had never lost Jonah, and when He saw that Jonah has disobeyed, While God is a loving God, sin must and will be punished, and God punished Jonah through the storm and having him thrown into the sea, to be swallowed by the great fish. God uses every situation for good however, and the storm led to the salvation, if you will, of the mariners.

So when God calls, Christians ought to obey. While we may not get swallowed up in the great fish like Jonah did, by disobeying God we lose contact with him, until we confess our sins, and go obey God.

Jonah 1:16 – Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows.


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