Google+ 09/06/13 No, Not One!

Jonah 3: 1-10

 

Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time:

“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.

On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds:

“Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!”

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.

When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying,

He stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes.

He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes.

Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city:

“No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all.

People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God.

They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence.

Who can tell?

Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.”

When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways,

He changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.

 

Part five of our seven-part devotion series entitled, "Jonah and the Whale," contains one of the most powerful lessons in all of the Scripture.  First, we immediately see Jonah make good on his promise to God.  This time, Jonah goes to Nineveh.  Jonah is obedient and delivers God's message to the Ninevites.  It is not a pleasant message to hear or deliver.  Basically, God tells Jonah to tell Nineveh that He will destroy their city in forty days because of the way they have been living.  There are times when I feel like I am living in Nineveh!  God delivered many warnings to His people in the Bible, some of which involved mass destruction.  This fact was not new.  The Ninevites reaction was!  The king removed his robe and dressed in burlap, a sign of intense poverty and mourning.  Everyone in Nineveh followed suit and also fasted.  While fasting is not as prevalent today as it was in the Old Testament, this practice showed major sacrifice on the part of the Ninevites.  Everyone participated.  Yes, the Bible says everyone.  The king insisted that everyone change their behavior.  He called for the entire nation to repent.  How I long to see this in America today.  Nineveh was a huge city.  It took three days to travel to all of the city, which means that it was about forty miles across!  We don't know how many people lived in Nineveh, but our best guess was that there was around 120,000.  As we all know, Nineveh was founded by Nimrod (Genesis 10: 8-10).  The city had fifteen main gates!  This kind of nationwide repentance was simply unheard of in the Old Testament.  What were the results?  God changed His mind!  Read that statement again.  God did not carry out the destructive sentence on Nineveh.  Why?  Jonah was obedient and Nineveh unconditionally repented.  There was not one nay-sayer.  A contrite heart changed lives.  God's message to all nations then, now, and in the future...Repent unconditionally and I will change your lives!  Everyone must do it and there can be no nay-sayers.  No, Not One!