Category: 12th Edition March 29th, 2012
Written by Rob Dale
1 Then the LORD spoke to Jonah a second time: 2 “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.”
This time Jonah obeyed the LORD’s command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all. 4 On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” 5 The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow.
One of the things that I love about reading the Bible is how you can learn something new every time you open its pages. For instance, whenever I’ve heard someone preach the story of Jonah in the past, they would talk about how the fish vomits Jonah up on the shore of Ninevah and he begins preaching to the people right away.
Yet, that’s clearly not what happened. We see in today’s passage that God came back to Jonah a second time and said, “Go preach in Nineveh.” Only this time, instead of running away, Jonah does what God asks of him.
Now, be honest, wouldn’t you? I mean, if the last time you decided to ignore a direct command from God resulted in you being thrown into the sea and then swallowed by a huge fish and then vomited up on the shore … well, I know I would be listening a little more closely!
Jonah goes and shares the message that God gave, and sure enough, the people respond. These were not bad people, theywere just doing what they shouldn’t be doing. God wasn’t angry with them, he simply wanted them to turn from their behaviour and do what was right. He wanted what was best for them.
Their response is exactly what any preacher — or prophet — would naturally want: they listened, they obeyed, they repented.
If this was today, Jonah would set up a national television ministry and begin to announce his new “revival.” People would begin to flock from all over the world to hear Jonah preach a message
of repentance. Thousands, even millions, would be affected as a result of this one preacher’s message. But, it’s not today. And Jonah’s response is a little surprising. But we’ll get to that another day.
What is your response when God challenges you in a certain area? Do you make excuses for your behaviour? Do you do what Jonah did initially and run from God’s command? Or do you respond like the people of Nineveh and repent of the behaviour?
My prayer: Father, I’ve learned that there is only one response that I can control — my own. Instead of worrying about what others will say or do, I need to simply focus on myself. I need to do whatever you call me to do. I need to respond to your leading. I choose to do that today. Amen.