The Book of Jonah: A mini-series
Jonah’s Second Chance
25 October 2015
For long, God had been pursuing Jonah; and Jonah had been running from God’s call to preach to the Ninevites. At last, washed up on a beach, God calls Jonah a second time, and Jonah responds. What follows is an astounding example of God’s patience with stubborn believers, and mercy to unregenerate sinners.
God called Jonah “the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I give you”” (v. 1-2). Having first run from God by boarding a ship going in the opposite direction, then attempting suicide in the ocean, God graciously offers Jonah another chance to preach the message: and this time, Jonah accepts. It is a reminder for believers that God is patient, but He will have His message preached His way, not ours.
At last working with the Lord, “Jonah arose, and went to Nineveh... and he cried out, and said, “In forty days, Nineveh will be overthrown”” (v. 3-4)! Quite unlike the messages of modern evangelicalism, Jonah preached judgment. Having personally experienced God’s judgment on him, and his salvation from it, he now goes and offers salvation to others. In this sense, Jonah was a type of Christ.
What was the result of this message? Scripture records that “The people of Nineveh believed God; and they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from their greatest even to their least” (v. 5). Their hearts were broken, and they repented before God in hope that He would save them. That day, “God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way. God relented of the disaster which he said he would do to them” (v. 10). It was the greatest revival in history - and all through God working in a rebellious prophet.
God’s judgment is sure upon sin, just as it was upon both Jonah and Nineveh - but there is hope in Christ. Just as God gave the prophet and the nation a second chance to repent, He also gives us a chance today: but it may not cross us again. The Bible says, “today is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).
Will you repent?