Who can tell if God will turn. —Jonah 3:9
Read Jonah 3:6-10
With overwhelming power, the Lord brings Jonah’s preaching home to the people of Nineveh. “Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (v.4). The people were greatly dismayed. The message of repentance reached all classes of society, even the royal court. This singular man came from a distant country and a strange nation with a dreadful message, and the unexpected happened: the heathen king takes this message to heart. Jonah’s arrow found its mark in the king’s conscience, and the king bowed his head and confessed his sins. The king of Nineveh and his subjects were pagans, yet they surrendered to God. We can learn much from this heathen king. Do we also mourn because of our sins? Do we confess of our personal sins as well as the sins of our nation, this nation in which the Lord has so powerfully worked in the past?
If we must repent of our evil as a nation, then repentance must begin with each one of us personally. Let us therefore seek refuge under the shadow of the cross. Nineveh was only given one preacher – Jonah. We have much more; we have the entire Bible to tell us about the Lord Jesus Christ! Jonah was not able to deliver Nineveh, but the Lord Jesus Christ could, and He is able to help us too. He will take His own up into glory, though He disciplines us in this life. The Lord’s faithfulness and truth retain their strength even till the last generation.
What can we learn from the response of the Ninevite king?