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Read Introduction to Jonah

 

Jonah 3: 6 Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. 7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9 Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?”

 

3:6

Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes.

Sackcloth” and “ashes” were signs of self-affliction that indicated one’s humility before God.  The king of Nineveh traded in his robe for a burlap bag.  He traded his throne for an ash heap.  He moved from the throne to the city dump.  He was not afraid to be criticized by political contemporaries.  Sitting in “ashes” indicates deep mourning and humiliation before God.  It is an indication of sorrow for sin. 

3:7

And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water.

The “nobles” were the king’s political associates.  They included even the city’s animals in this fast!  They dressed them in sackcloth. 

3:8

But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.

There were no exceptions to the fast; it involved everyone

3:9

Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?

There was to be no delay in believing the message.  They were to “turn and relent.”  The word “relent” means to sigh, pant or groan and came to mean to exercise pity, have compassion.  God pitied the Ninevites.  Most of the forty occurrences of this word refer to turning to God from sin. 

PRINCIPLE: 

Every spiritually minded person needs focus time with the Lord. 

APPLICATION: 

It is important to respond in humility to God’s discipline upon our lives.  Indifference to it will bring more discipline.  It is easy to be obtuse when we are busy and give little focus time to the Lord.  That is why it is important to get away to some quiet place and think about our lives in relation to the Lord. 

Lu 3:8 “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 9 “And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Ac 26:19 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 “but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.”

2 Co 7:10 “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation (salvation here is salvation from an immoral life), not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”

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