“Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.’ Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, ‘Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.’ The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.”
– Jonah 3:1-5
Yesterday, we learned how Jonah came out of the whale’s belly right onto the shores of Nineveh. Today, we’re going to look at what happened when he finally carried out God’s instructions.
Once he knew he could no longer run, the prophet stood face-to-face with his greatest fear and marched boldly into Nineveh with the Word of the Lord on his lips. The message he was tasked to proclaim was simple: 40 more days and the city will be destroyed. However, it was the reaction that he feared! When I picture Jonah delivering this doomsday message, I imagine him whispering it rapidly under his breath so as not to be heard. You see, not only did he have a fear of bringing the prophecy, but I believe Jonah’s personal bias entered into his reticence because he didn’t want the Ninevites to be saved. After all, who would want such a wicked empire to continue in brutality? Yet despite his attempts to give his message “under the radar,” lo and behold, the people of Nineveh heard and believed him! They repented of their evil ways and so did the king, who took off his royal robes, covered himself in sackcloth, and sat down in the dirt. In fact, he issued a decree telling the nation that everyone and everything, including animals, needed to repent. As shocking as this was to Jonah, the fact that the Lord’s message was received with open hearts proved that His Heavenly Father had indeed had His servant’s best interest at heart the whole time!
Friend, when Jesus calls you to do something difficult, remember that He has gone before you. There is nothing He assigns to you that He won’t equip you to do. Instead of running from His lead, choose to embrace what you’re afraid of and know that He will cover you with grace and mercy when you follow His lead and do the thing that’s hard. Whatever it is, He has cleared the path, parted the waters, and made a way where there seems to be no way. Though you will be stretched, your good Father has your back; you will be strengthened and He will be glorified as you obey His voice and faithfully follow His call!
Jesus, thank you for going before me to clear a path and make a way whenever you ask me to do something difficult.
When did the Lord last call you to a challenging place like Nineveh? How did you respond? How did He prove Himself faithful in the process?