Summary: The way God dealt with Jonah is the way he deals with every believer. God calls upon us to count the cost.
A City Turned to God, Jonah 3:1-10
In the Book Hudson Taylor- God’s Man in China, the story is told of when Taylor was traveling by ship from Shangahi to Ningo. Among the passengers was one Chinese man who spent some years in England and went by the name of Peter, he was on Taylor’s heart, although the man was acquainted with the Gospel he didn’t know it’s saving power. Nearing a city of Part Judson heard a splash and cry from his cabin. It was Peter overboard. It was pointed to Taylor where his friend went down.
As Taylor looked around he caught sight of some fishermen with a dragnet. Just the thing needed. Come he said a man is drowning. The amazing reply was it is not convenient. Doesn’t talk of convenience come now or it will be too late. We are busy fishing. Never mind you’re fishing come at cone I will pay you. How much? Five dollars. Don’t delay and save life. Too little they said. We won’t come for less than $30.00. But I haven’t got that much with me; I will give you all I got. How much? About $14. The fisherman came and brought up the man. All efforts for separation were in vain. Life had been lost because of men’s wicked hearts.
When hearts become this calloused and hardened men will not only destroy others but, themselves. True repentance is the only hope. This was the heart condition in Nineveh the city God was calling Jonah to preach too.
Jonah was re-commissioned Jonah 3:2 "Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you." Jonah was sent to what is the chief city of the gentile world. Proclaim to it the message I give you.
The way God dealt with Jonah is the way he deals with every believer. God calls upon us to count the cost. He clearly lays out our task; Make disciples, He gives us the resources Acts 1:8. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
Serving the Lord is impossible in our own strength, but with God all things are possible. Only when we recognize our weakness do we know that with God all things are possible.
God expects obedience from Jonah. He must go to Nineveh in faith. He does not even have the message yet. He must go to Nineveh and wait on the Lord for the message. Believers are to walk by faith Jonah was told where to go, but he was trusting by faith for the message.
This is one of the most spectacular events of history. A proud and great city transformed into a city of humiliation from the king down to the least citizen. Nineveh received God’s message for what it was “God’s Word.”
When Lot announced to his relatives that Sodom and Gomorrah would be destroyed they said, you are joking,” they mocked him. Here is a contrast to that. The people believed God. They believed Jonah’s message without signs and miracles. Nineveh had only the sign of Jonah. They believed God and called for a fast.
It is faith that saves. Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Faith is the assurance of things hoed for, the conviction things not seen. We are to walk by faith, not by sight. This means we must fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfector of our faith.
Why did Jesus say, “The Ninevites will rise in judgment against us, for they believed God and repented at the preaching of Jonah? (Luke 11:32) It is because their repentance had an element of hope. They had hope because of the warning. If the destruction was fixed then why the 40 days warning. They had hope.
In Jeremiah we read of God’s compassion. Jeremiah 18:7-8, If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.
This compassion of God brought salvation to Nineveh. It was a major turning to God. The population of Nineveh was over one-half million people. It has also been called the most wicked city in history. They turned to God. That is more than believed God on the day of Pentecost by over 150 times. Jonah 4:2 says God is slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness.