Summary: Jonah goes as directed but is not happy about it. When the mission goes great, the anger comes out.
Unhappy Success Jonah 3 & 4
Well in the way of a quick review, we have been talking about the prophet Jonah. We looked at how he exercised his free will and went in the opposite direction of God’s instruction. We heard about these Sailors that acted more righteous than God’s prophet. Praying, repenting and even worrying about the life one man. I mentioned to you that God will never take away or over ride our freewill. But if we exercise it enough he will stop trying to keep us on the right path. He will wait for us to comeback to him.
Then last week we looked at Jonah’s prayer. How it look in sincere that his spirituality was shallow. It was only skin deep and that God only saved him because of Grace. God un deserved favor.. Which seems to have been given because he does believe in God. His superior attitude for his background and his position placed him in danger, but not out of the reach of God’s grace.
Today we are lumping the two last chapters into one lesson. We don’t know how much time has passed since the fish deposited him on the beach. It may have been long enough for his hair to grow back and to start looking normal after spending 3 days in the stomach of the fish. Or it could be the same day. There is no hint.
The scripture tells us that the Word of the Lord came a second time telling him to go and give the message to the Ninevehites.
As far as we can tell, he has still never repented. But this time he goes to the city. It describes his mission as requiring 3 days. So he walked through the city giving a simple message.
I can’t imagine that he gave much emotion. I picture him walking around in the city like a kid that mom has sent on chores. Not going fast and his voice not that loud. His face probably shows his distaste for being in the city at all along with his displeasure of being sent to this unclean people.
"Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned."
He does not head to the kings place, or any official of the city directly. He is walking through the streets and when he gets to a market or a major intersection. He calls out :
"Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned”
What if Jonah was standing over at the dollar store or Kroger? And saying that phrase to every person that walked in?
What would our reaction be?
If I am honest, I would start by thinking. He’s nuts!! I imagine I would ignore him go in and get my walnuts and peanut butter and be on my way without a second thought.
For the Ninevites, Jonah is a stranger; he is not from around there. His clothes and appearance would give him away. I would bet he talked funny.
The odd thing that our scripture describes is the response of the people when they heard the rambling statement of a mad man.
Nineveh was a city 48 miles across, 1000 watch towers. Later in history they will beat the Babylonian empire and be fierce invaders and even control all of Israel. What could this one strange looking foreigner really know? 40 days, they will be destroyed…..
Ridculas! Crazy, No Way! It just can’t happen.
Destruction is coming. No hope offered… No call for repentance, just the declaration of judgment. Here is a preacher hoping that he will not have a successful ministry.!
What makes the people of Nineveh respond to this less than excited prophet?
What makes any body change? For some people it might be a car accident or a divorce. Perhaps the loss of a job.
Not too long ago, when a young man was more than his folks could handle they sent him into the military to get straightened out. They normally came home changed.
What makes a nation change?
For many people, the change of the year from 1999 to 2000…. They thought and hoped that Jesus was coming back. Do you remember all the preparations?
Are we very different since September 11th 2001? Did the destruction cause our nation to repent or to just get nervous?
It appears that the people of Nineveh just knew what was going to happen. They could see how they were living and must have had a feeling of some kind.
There is no stated reason why this message was accepted and people react. It seems like the word spread like wild fire. Eventually someone gave the message to the king. This revival and mass repentance started at the common man and moved to the top.
So the people were putting on sack cloth and ashes. They started to repent of their evil ways. When the King got the word, he did not need to speak to the prophet to make a decision and he commands that no one should eat or drink. Not even the animals and everyone should where sack cloth.