We are looking in to the book of Jonah and so far we've seen how God sent Jonah to the Gentiles to warn them, how he disobeyed and went another way, how God intervened by the tempest and a fish and how he was delivered when he repented and prayed. Now we are in chapter 3 and we see not just one, but multiple CHANGE of hearts. Let's look at them one by one.
It says here in verse 3, "Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time". God had a plan for Jonah and the people of Ninevah. He had a perfect plan the first time. All Jonah had to do was obey, but he didn't. He chose his own way. God was obviously angry and sent a storm. He intervened in Jonah's life to show him the consequences of his disobedience. God was very unhappy with what Jonah had done. Selfish, reckless and totally turned away from God's way!
But God, gave him a second chance. He spoke the same words again, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you. (v2)" It's true that God is very unhappy when we stray. But He never relents to give us a second chance. The Holy Spirit inside us continues to convict us and helps us realize our guilt and come back to the Father. When we do, He is waiting to help us get started all over again. His forgiveness and love surpasses our sins.
God finally accomplished the task He began in Jonah for the people in Ninevah, through Jonah himself. God of second chances!
When Jonah was in the fish's belly, he felt first hand God's anger and punishment for his sins. He acknowledged that he had come too far from the Lord's presence. He prayed and repented. Repentance means a change of heart, even more, change in action.
So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journeyin extent.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!” Jonah 3: 3,4
When we look at these verses it is clear that Jonah arose, went, entered and cried. He traveled 3 days. He gave himself, all in, towards God's work. His repentance showed itself in his actions. He used to care less and be sleepy before. Now, he is a new man, God's prophet carrying message of repentance!
What a change of heart for Jonah! When God gives us a second chance, are we surrendering ourselves and leaving our old self behind? A second chance is pretty generous, shouldn't we be doing just that?
People of Nineveh
The people of Nineveh, when they heard Jonah's message, were convicted. This is strange considering the fact that they were gentiles, idol worshipers and enemies of Judah. But when God intervenes with unfaithful and sinful people, He changes their heart for good. He paves a way for His message to seep through. When its in God's plans to change someone, His message somehow gets through!
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... 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. Jonah 3: 5, 6, 10
God wants a renewed and consecrated life for Him. When we fall short He gives us a second chance and expects a changed heart in return. Lord, let me be willing to surrender my life for your will.
Written By: Alice William
I am a Christian Believer with a thirst for the word of God. I’m humbled as I study through the scriptures and comprehend what God has in store for me as He reveals them day after day. I record my Bible studies and thoughts on other Christian books that I read at walkinginword.com It is an effort to keep myself motivated in consistent reading and study of the Bible while encouraging others through my studies.