Encouragement for your daily walk with God
Jonah preached an eight word sermon and the Ninevites were struck with the fear of the Lord and moved to complete repentance. When was the last time you heard a sermon like that?
The king stood up (a sign of his serious intent), removed his royal robes (a sign of humility), covered himself with sackcloth (a sign of mourning), and sat in the dust (a sign of repentance). Then, according to the King's edict, every soul in Nineveh responded with desperate fasting. It's hard to imagine that level of conviction coming upon an entire city. Impressive!
By way of application, our world is going the way of Nineveh. Wickedness and moral erosion surrounds us in horrifying proportions. Can God’s judgment be that far away? What are the chances of salvation? I’d like to think that if Nineveh was reachable, so is our world.
The prophet Daniel gave us a clue how that can happen: “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever” [Daniel 12:3]. It took some time for Jonah to get there, but he did finally shine for God “like the brightness of heaven,” and led many people to righteousness.
That’s our challenge too. Our modern cities are filled with cynicism, apathy, and unbelief just like Nineveh. How will they come to righteousness? When Christ followers rise and “shine like the brightness of heaven” and engage them with the truth of the Gospel. It didn’t take much for Nineveh to repent; eight words spoken with the power of God behind them. Eight words, mighty results.
When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city:
“No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence. Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.” Jonah 3:5-9