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Nineveh turns to God
Bible Passage Jonah 3: 1- 10
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2023 & book Jonah.

Nineveh turns to God

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached August 7, 2023

1 This message from the LORD came to Jonah a second time:

2 “Get up and go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.”

3 So Jonah got up and went to Nineveh to do what the LORD had ordered. Now Nineveh was a very large city, requiring a three-day journey to cross through it.

4 As Jonah started into the city on the first day’s journey, he proclaimed the message, “40 days more and Nineveh will be overthrown!”

5 The people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least important.

6 When the message reached the king of Nineveh, he got up from his throne, removed his royal garments, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat down in ashes.

7 Then he had this proclamation published throughout Nineveh: “By decree of the king and his nobles: No man or animal, herd or flock, is to taste anything, graze, or drink water.

8 Instead, let both man and animal clothe themselves with sackcloth and cry out to God forcefully. Let every person turn from his evil ways and from his tendency to do violence.

9 Who knows but that God may relent, have compassion, and turn from his fierce anger, so that we are not exterminated?”

10 God took note of what they did—that they turned from their evil ways. Because God relented concerning the trouble about which he had warned them, he did not carry it out.

During the reign of Jeroboam II (793-753 BC), the nation Israel enjoyed such prosperity that people easily developed selfish nationalistic attitudes. Even God’s prophet Jonah was affected by this narrow-minded spirit. So Jonah would have been satisfied to see the downfall of Assyria, whose rising power was about the only threat that Israel saw to its own independence. Already Assyria’s capital Nineveh was threatened by an enemy from the north. Jonah was therefore surprised and angry when God told him to go and warn Nineveh of the coming attack. He was to urge the people to repent of their wickedness so that they might avoid terrifying destruction (Jonah 3:4-5,10 ).

Jonah’s first reaction was to refuse to go, for he would rather see Nineveh destroyed than spared such a fitting judgement. When God commanded Jonah to go and warn the sinful people of Nineveh of coming judgement, Jonah not only refused but fled in the opposite direction.

There was a shipwreck and Jonah was thrown into the sea per his own request to stop God’s mercy for the Ninevites.

But God saved him and sent him back to Niniveh on that same mission. God repeated His command to Jonah to go and preach in Nineveh, and this time Jonah obeyed (verses 1-3). God’s message was that within forty days Nineveh would, because of its wickedness, be overthrown. The Ninevites, leaders and common people alike, heeded the warning and turned in repentance to God (verses 4-5).

The king even issued a decree commanding a moral reformation in the city (verses 6-9). As a result of the Ninevites’ repentance, God withdrew His threat of destruction (verse 10).

Jonah was tired and dusty after his very long walk. He was a foreigner to the people of Nineveh, and he would have looked strange. But they did not laugh at him as he shouted out his warning.

They surprised Jonah because they listened to his warning. His message frightened them and they realized that they were really in serious danger. At once, they did things that showed that they were very sorry for the way that they had been living. To show that they were sincere, they put on sackcloth (a sign of repentance ) and stopped eating for several days. Everybody did the same, from rich and important officials to the poorest people.

Jonah needed to learn that God was the controller of all nations, and he would have mercy on any people or nation as He wished, even on the wicked Ninevites.


🔷 God controls the cosmic powers and no one can hide from Him

🔷 The love of God knows no boundaries because it extends to everyone He created

🔷 True repentance leads to the forgiveness of sins and the blessings of God

💥 Thank God for His mercy on your life
💥 Ask for pardon for all your sins

God intends His love to be for everybody. He loves even evil and cruel people. He has great patience and He wants everybody to turn to Him. The people of Nineveh are an example to everybody (Luke 11:32).

In series Bright Morning Reflections