Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, & Micah: Day 18

Jonah’s Preaching

by

Today's Text: Jonah 3:1-10, Jeremiah 18:7-10, Nahum 1:2-11

Scripture Reading: Jonah 3:1-10, Jeremiah 18:7-10, Nahum 1:2-11

Nineveh was the worst.

A chief city in the already brutal and wicked Assyrian empire, Nineveh removed the noses and ears of their prisoners to mark and maim them for life. And like most Mesopotamian civilizations, their culture was immoral and generally terrifying—temple prostitution, child sacrifice, and infanticide.

I love my ears and nose, so I understand why Jonah didn’t want to go.

These are the people who heard God’s call to repentance. They listened to Jonah and to God. And they repented. They stopped, tore their clothes, rubbed ashes on their faces, and gave up eating. They were desperate to get God’s attention.

God had mercy on even these most wicked people. They didn’t know they were that wicked until God arrested them in their sin. But this story is only marginally about the repentant Ninevite hearts. Primarily, this is a story about God’s mercy and forgiveness.

God calls them to repent, and they respond by fasting.

Fasting hurts. It is tangible and practical repentance, and repentance must change how we live our lives. We turn from the things that give us false comfort, and only have God.

For the Ninevites, fasting meant giving up their means of power and energy, and depending only on God for power in a very real way. They humbled themselves publicly and didn’t hold back for pride or fear of what others would think. Even the king—who held an almost god-like status in the culture and had everything to lose—humbled himself, bowing before the one true God. It was a culture-wide repentance, extending from the greatest to the least.

Their repentance was not chiefly about how sorry they felt, but about casting themselves wholly upon God’s mercy. It wasn’t about what they could bring to the table. Rather, they said, “Who knows? God may turn and relent” (Jonah 3:9). They recognized that repentance is about what God is doing, not what we can do to gain any kind of merit.

Mercy is not a matter of merit; it is God’s gift. When we call out earnestly to Him in repentance (Jonah 3:8), He “is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Even though Nineveh was awful by any standard, God had mercy on them. This is good news, because the truth is we are all more like the Ninevites than we are like God. I know I am. I don’t gouge eyes out, yet pride, envy, and wrath are always within arm’s reach for me.  

“But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate his extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in him for eternal life.”
- 1 Timothy 1:16

The story of Nineveh’s repentance is about God’s perfect patience, His deep mercy, and His profound forgiveness. Call out earnestly to Him.

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  • I’m so glad that the inteenrt allows free info like this!

  • Melanie Bisson

    This devotional has me crying this morning as I catch up on reading after a day of international travel. What a merciful and incredible God we serve. He is our Jehovah and our one and only and I pray that my friends and family that don’t yet know Him find Him in the same way these people did.

  • I am struck by how important the message that Jonah brought to Nineveh turned out to be, after he was so reluctant to go and spread the word. It makes me really look at whether or not I am listening to God’s call to speak of His love to people who desperately need to hear it.

  • Thank you for this devotional. A great reminder that our God reigns and our God saves

  • Courtney B.

    Today’s reading gave me a funny feeling. I think it’s because The Lord is growing me in my relationship with Him, and He knows 1) I’ve lived most of my life shutting people out due to fear, which I think hinders me from leaning on Him 2) With that leads me to not be able to accept His grace and love. The part that said “They recognized that repentance is about what God is doing, not what we can do to gain any kind of merit.” struck me, because it’s shows me how God is the mighty one who pursues us and it’s nothing based on myself. God pursued Nineveh at their worst, His love took over all, and lead them to repentance.
    “I don’t gouge eyes out, yet pride, envy, and wrath are always within arm’s reach for me. ” Lord, you have shown me love today, and how I can let go, and fall into your arms. That pride, envy, etc keep me isolated, and that I can let go of my fears of being vulnerable, and trust You. You are a God who has pursued me time and time again. Thank you.

  • Sarah D.

    Second Chemistry exam today, if you could pray for me, I’d really appreciate it :) I feel somewhat ready, but I know there are still things I don’t understand…been feeling really down about it lately…please pray that I remember what I studied and that I will not be afraid to continue to ask for help, so that I can learn from my mistakes…thank you guys, love to all!

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Sarah, thanks so much for sharing. We are praying now that your exam goes well today! <3 – Abby, The SRT Team

  • Karen CEBC

    I’m thanking our Lord for this beautiful sisterhood bonded by God’s love and salvation! The honesty, humility, vulnerability and encouragement expressed is evidence of God at work in us… one day our struggles will be over and we will see Him and each other face to face!
    Thank you Lord for your Word, the fellowship of believers, your patience and your relentless love.

  • Lord Jesus, Please begin with me.

  • Diane Huntsman

    I’m not sure I know exactly what sackcloth and ashes are.. but I think every.single.solitary. one of us need to put those on and sit in a state of real repentance.. it’s easy for me to blame America for her rebellion against God in her flamboyant ways, and yet I sit guilty of pride, of judgement, of failing to do so many things I know to be good and helpful.. bring on the sackcloth and ashes.. I’m being challenged to repent personally. Lord have mercy.. You are too kind to respond to our cries for forgiveness.. .

  • Mardean Enyart Hood

    God is so merciful
    Thank you Jesus
    Amen
    Thank you churchmouse

  • churchmouse

    Oh Nineveh. Oh USA. Oh_________(fill in the blank). Break our stubborn pride. Forgive us of our national and individual sins. Send revival such as has not been seen in a very long time. Send a fresh move of Your Spirit which is unmistakable and undeniable. Be merciful. You are the sovereign Lord. Revive us. Amen.

  • SRT sisters, it’s been a couple of years since I’ve read and shared with the community, but somehow I’m here today. I’m going through a lot of heartache and just feel so far from God. I know repentance is the only thing that will bring me closer, but it seems so difficult. That sounds so selfish. Please keep me in your prayer as I keep finding myself in a cyclical pattern of losing my connection with God and going my own which always leads to hurt.

    • Dana

      Praying for and with you Emmy.

    • Ana Feliciano

      Emmy, just said a prayer for you. He is faithful, and he will fulfill his promises. He started working in your heart and He will continue to sanctify you.

    • Tina

      Praying for you Emmy… He loves you with bells on. He has been waiting for you, return knowing His mercy is a no strings attached gift, extended to you out of love for you… forever His, His arms are open wide… fall into them…
      Praying… with love dear sister… xx

    • churchmouse

      Prayed for you, Emmy. Glad you’re here. God is right there with you. He remains your friend. Just talk to Him. And His people. There will be words of acceptance and comfort. You are ever His beloved.

    • godlovingmum (australia)

      praying for you sister

    • ~ B ~

      Emmy, praying that God reveals Himself more and more to you. That today you know you are loved and that you know how He rejoices in your turning. Praying that you develop a connection you’ve never had before and find yourself face first into personal forgiveness and repentance. May you know these verses from Luke 15 today ….

      “Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.

    • Kay

      Emmy, God knows. He knows all about your pain, your suffering and your pride. He sent Christ to redeem us because of all of that and a million other human conditions. He has a plan to bring you back into the fold. His arms are open wide. There is no act you need to take, simply accept His grace. You are perfect and beloved.

    • courtney

      Hi Emmy! Praying for you! Just wanted to share that I’ve had some times of basically running opposite of the Lord, and then returning and not knowing where to start or how to repent because a prayer seems so small compared to the rogue way of my heart. I believe prayer is enough, but when I have run away from God or when something happens that leaves me desperate and hurting, I do think fasting has helped me return to God because it is a tangible moment where I can physically repent… something about it helps me transition back to a right relationship. I’m not saying I believe you must fast to be restored to God – but I do think that it helps me to understand what’s going on in my spirit and helps me cultivate a posture of repentance and returning. Hope that makes sense and is helpful. :)

    • Laura

      Praying. Trust Him to pursue you through this.

    • Seirena

      Said a prayer for you this morning Emmy that God would be your guide and you would turn to him in everything! Praying for you!!

    • Laura

      We’re so glad you’re here today, Emmy. Praying for you!

    • Cassie Kendall

      We’re glad to have you with us! God’s lead you to this passage and this devotion for a reason. You can overcome anything with Him!

    • ERB

      Emmy, just knowing that you’re here and are choosing to respond to God’s pursuit of you is such a Blessing!! I am incredibly impressed and proud of you!! It’s not an easy task to humble yourself before the Lord and to receive His mighty Goodness and Unconditional Love. God will, and probably already is honoring you for your willing and King David-like heart!! Keep letting God pursue you, for He will never stop!! Much Love and Many Blessings to you my dear sister!! You are in my thoughts, heart and prayers!! ~m

    • Maria Peters

      Thank you for being vulnerable with us this morning. Know that so many of us are praying for you and lifting you up.

    • Micahlee

      Said a prayer for you Emmy ❤️

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