Summary: Series in Jonah
Text- Jonah 3
Jonah 3:1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you." 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three days’ walk. 4 Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown." 5 Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. 6 When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes. 7 He issued a proclamation and it said, "In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. 8 "But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. 9 "Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish." 10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.
a. Definition of Repentance
b. Results of Repentance
There is a story of a pastor who noticed that the outside of his church had started to look a little rundown. It had been years since it had a good paint job, so he decided to get up there one Saturday and give it a fresh coat of paint.
He found an old can of paint out in the shed that looked like it would almost be enough to get the job done. Just to be on the safe side he thinned it way down with a jug of paint thinner.
Just as the pastor was finishing up the job he heard a loud clap of thunder and the sky opened up. The rain began to wash the thinned paint right off the church.
The pastor was so frustrated he threw up his hands and shouted, “O Lord, what am I supposed to do now?”
At that moment the clouds parted and a loud voice from heaven said, “Repaint, and thin no more!”
My dad told me that one about 15 years ago. I apologize to those of you who are allergic to puns.
The theme of repentance is common to the Bible; however, the word repentance isn’t often used outside of a religious context though. It is a concept that is often misunderstood. Today as we turn our attention to the third chapter of Jonah we will see two great illustrations of true repentance.
An accurate view of repentance is important. It not only is an essential ingredient in salvation, but it is also important in helping us preserve and maintain a healthy relationship with God and with other people. The ability to admit your own wrongdoing, face the consequences, and change your behavior is a skill that we all must master.
Follow along as I read chapter 3, and then we will talk a little about what repentance is…
Obviously the two illustrations of repentance from this part of the story are Jonah’s change of heart and the repentance of the people of Nineveh. It doesn’t say specifically when Jonah came to his senses and repented of his disobedience and rebellion, but my guess is that the change of heart came about while he was inside the stomach of that fish. It just seems like being partially digested would have a way of reorienting your priorities.
But it is clear that Jonah did repent. Because the second time God asked him to go to Nineveh, Jonah went.
Repentance means making a U-Turn. Jonah made this change the hard way, but he eventually made that U-Turn. Jonah’s actions here represent the four different aspects of true repentance. Let’s take a second to look at the definition of repentance.
First, repentance involves some kind of confrontation. Repentance is only needed when we are headed in the wrong direction. Jonah should have been headed for Nineveh, but instead he was headed in the opposite direction. He was clearly disobeying God. He was totally in the wrong. He was literally going the wrong way.