Jonah 3:4 “And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
Nineveh was an unusually corrupt city. Artifacts of clay tablets and the like display an ancient library of great magnitude. Ninevites’ art was full of atrocities, barbarities, savagery and man’s inhumanity to man. They also hated the Jews. Jonah “cried out;” he did not whisper or talk in a low voice; he proclaimed his message clearly.
Jonah was a prophet so we would expect to find prophecy in the book of Jonah. This is the only prophecy in all of Jonah. It is eight words in the English language and five words in the Hebrew. That was his entire sermon and prophecy. However, this prediction did not come to pass. It was a true possibility at the time of prediction and condition. It did not come to pass because Nineveh favorably responded to God.
Peter’s conversion record of 3000 coming to Christ on Pentecost was a drop in the bucket compared to what happened in Nineveh. Imagine Jonah coming down the streets of Nineveh after staying inside the fish’s belly for three days and nights! The gastric juices must have changed his skin and hair. He was probably an odd-looking creature.
Grace always precedes judgment.
God always gives a period of grace before judgment. God willingly forgives. He wants to use us no matter what we have done or how many times we did it. God is always willing to begin again. He delights to restore us to fellowship and to make new use of us. This is sheer grace.
God gives second, third and many chances to serve Him. How have you responded to the challenges of God in your life? Has God had to introduce a dose of discipline in your life?