“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.”
God gave three commands to Jonah: “arise,” “go,” and “cry.” This is equivalent to “Get ready,” “get set,” “go.” These were Jonah’s marching orders – win the Ninevites to Jehovah. His only responsibility was to cry against the city.
“Arise” is preparatory work. We cannot go before we “arise.” Evidently, Jonah was sitting at ease, taking pleasure in his situation. He had no concern about the Ninevites or anyone else outside of his immediate associations. God challenged him to get up from his lackadaisical life.
go to Nineveh, that great city,
God gave Jonah a commission to “go to Nineveh, that great city.” That will take Jonah out of his comfort zone! All that lounging in luxury is over for him. His only responsibility was to get up and go. God would do the rest. However, he could not see himself going into the situation single-handed.
Nineveh was 550 miles to the Northeast of the northern kingdom of Israel, with a population of over 600,000 people. It was the largest city in the world at the time of Jonah. The gardens of Nineveh were considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Its city had 1,500 towers. The walls were 100 feet high. Nineveh was the capital of sin; it was the Paris of antiquity in its day. The Assyrians were a constant threat to Israel, although not an immediate threat at this time. The Assyrians were known for their brutality. Jonah just could not see himself going into that situation single-handed.
and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.”
The Lord wanted Jonah to “cry” against the city: “Do not murmur or purr, but ‘cry out against it.’” The reason was that the wickedness of Nineveh came up “before Him.” Even the king of Nineveh acknowledged this (3:8). Their brutal atrocities were notorious throughout the then-known world. Jonah’s message was not to be wishy-washy; his message was to be one of judgment (3:4). Jonah would have none of this.
God extends the Great Commission to the church and individual believers.
The word “go” occurs forty-nine times in the book of Acts. A going church is a growing church (Ac 8:26,27; 9:10?11; 10:19?20). Each time someone went, it paid off.
A fickle, cowardly, and temperamental church will not do the will of God. It will not win a maximum number of people to Christ in its community. Amazingly, God uses the church today in all its fragility.
How long has it been since you rose above your convenience and reached out to someone without Christ? How sold are you on the redeeming grace of Christ? Do you want others to know about it? The day of opportunity will not last forever.
He 9:27-28, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”