There was a repeated Call for Jonah. “The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.” How gracious God is, to give a man a second chance of serving Him.
The Lord could have left Jonah in his disobedience to perish.
What hope there is in the Second Man, the Lord from Heaven “The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the LORD from heaven.”(I.Cor.15:47).
Is there one of us who have not had a second call ? and perhaps as yet there has been no response to Christ.
God’s right to take vengeance is often denied, but dare you deny His patience and longsuffering? “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” (I.Pt.3:20).
Note the changed commission: “Go and preach unto it, the preaching that I bid thee.” Jonah had a message to preach from the Lord.
The apostle Paul stated “I have received of the Lord that which I have delivered unto you.”
In these days a bold attempt is being made to discredit Jesus Christ. “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, euen now are there many Antichrists, whereby we know that it is the last time.” (I.Jh.2:18).
There was true True Obedience in Jonah. “Jonah arose and went.” What a task is before him; a three day journey, and then to preach in the streets of the mightiest, the gayest, and the guiltiest of cities.
But his forty days journey is much easier than his three days’ run to Joppa, because his heart is now right with God. “And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went:” (Ac.8:26).
It is easier doing great things for God than little things for the Devil. It
was easier for Daniel to go to the lions den than deny his God “My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me:” (Dan. 6:22).
Jonah learn true obedience, he learned it in the depths, when the floods compassed him about, when the waves and billows passed over him, and the weeds were wrapped about his head (v.3).
God was seeking to bring Jonah into the faith that saves ? “But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.” (Jo.2:9)
Jonah had a Startling Proclamation for the people of Nineveh. “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.”
A strange message from a strange man. Jonah, footsore and weary, enters the great and mighty city and begin to preach the word of God.
Those who know God’s will, are courageous as lions in declaring it.
“Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown.”
Jonah’s message was one of mercy and judgment. “Yet forty days” grace to be followed with judgment if these days were neglected, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Heb.9:27).
Grace has been reigning over 2000 years, and will assuredly be followed with judgment in the case of those who despise the mercy offered.
Jonah was a confirming sign to the people of that great city. From the Lord Jesus Christ Himself we learn that Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites (Luke 11. 30).
How could he be a sign to them if they did not know his character and history? This is indeed significant. The Ninevites not only heard the Divine message at his lips, but they saw in himself a proof of God’s mighty saving power.
Jonah wrought no miracle, but he himself was a miracle. He was as one raised from the dead.
But every regenerated soul is in itself a sign, and an evidence of the Divine and the supernatural.
What we are will be more powerfully than what we say. “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity .” (Mt.7:22,23).To see a true Christian is to see a sign from Heaven.
Preaching will bring a great Result.“ “Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah.” …. “By their fruits ye shall know them.”
Preaching that does not bring sinners face to face with their sins and with God will never produce repentance, “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:” (Mt.3:8).
There were no sleepers under Jonah’s preaching. There are scores who go to our churches for no other purpose than to see and to be seen, and to get a nap.
It is interesting to observe the process of their repentance.
They believed God. It is not said that they believed Jonah, but that they believed God.
This ought to be the aim and, end of all preaching, to lift the hearts
of the people right up to the Lord Himself, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (Jh.12:32).
What will it avail us we believe in the minister, if we have no faith in God?
Then they humbled themselves, “and put on sackcloth.” There is nothing like a deep conviction of sin for stripping one of their garments of pride. “ Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?“ (Ac..2:37).
THEY CRIED TO GOD. Every one was to cry mightily to God. There is no use telling an awakened soul that God has so bound Himself with fixed laws that he cannot answer prayer.
It is as natural for such to cry as the newborn babe. No prayer book will suffice when the soul is alive to its true need. But they did more than pray, they
Turned every one from his evil ways. No prayer is in earnest as long as sin is indulged. If we are not prepared to forsake our sins, then all our prayers are a mockery (Psa. 66: 18).
THEY FOUND MERCY. God saw their works and repented. God Character is holy, just, and good, He is unchangeable, and without shadow of turning; but in mercy He turns His face to every penitent seeking sinner. “Draw nigh unto Me, ” God says, “and I will draw nigh unto you. ” “Seek, and ye shall find.”