Summary: A study of chapter 3 verses 1 through 10
Jonah 3: 1 – 10
The Anti Missionary
1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I 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-day journey[a]in extent. 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!” 5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. 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?10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.
For those of you just joining us in our study of the book of Jonah, we have learned that our Supreme Ruler had selected Jonah to preach His message to the Assyrians. To a large degree these people were the worse of humanity and yet our Merciful God shows how He cares for every human being. In the book of 2 Peter chapter 3 verse 9 we find, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
Jonah had tried to run away from God and His commission to be His spokesman to the Ninevites. Our famous story describes how God stopped His wayward prophet by developing an amazing storm in the sea. He was found out to be the culprit by the sailors and was cast into the sea. The Lord instructed a great fish to swallow Jonah. As we ended chapter 2 we see that God instructed the great fish to vomit him onto dry land. Now we read in chapter 3,
1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.”
Jonah’s new commission was essentially the same as the one he had previously received. Remember, if God has given you instructions to do something, He will not relent in its application. He may allow some adaptation to His orders but essentially His commands will be followed to the ‘T’. In the book of Exodus you remember how our Precious Lord appeared to Moses in the Burning Bush. The Lord informed Moses that He had picked him to be his co-deliver of the Israelites from the cruel oppression of the Egyptians. Moses’ didn’t want the assignment and used ever excuse possible. Let’s take a look at this interaction from chapter 4, “10 Then Moses said to the LORD, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” 11 So the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD? 12 Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” 13 But he said, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.” 14 So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and He said: "Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do. 16 So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God. 17 And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs.”