Are We Having Our Nineveh Moment?
In Matthew 16:4 Jesus said,
“A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.”
What about the sign of the prophet Jonah? Many Christians point to his 3 days and nights in the belly in the whale, perhaps foreshadowing the burial and resurrection of Christ Himself, but is that what Jesus meant for His Church to focus on in the last days? Or was it something else that Jesus warned us against? Perhaps it was the attitude of Jonah himself.
1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
Jonah did not do the Will of God and instead ran to Tarshish…
gotanswers.com explains why:
“Jonah’s reason for running was that, quite simply, he did not like the Assyrians. Assyria was an idolatrous, proud, and ruthless nation bent on world conquest and had long been a threat to Israel. When God sent Jonah as a missionary to the capital, Nineveh, the prophet balked. At the end of his story, Jonah specifies his reason for resistance:
2 That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.”
In other words, Jonah wanted Nineveh to be destroyed. He felt they deserved God’s judgement. Jonah didn’t want to see God’s mercy extended to his enemies, and he knew in his heart that God’s intention was to show mercy. Jonah discovered that God’s salvation is available to all who repent, not just to the people of Jonah’s choosing.”
After Jonah was vomited out of the belly of the whale, and was given a second chance, he acquiesced to God’s will. He went to Nineveh, where he forewarned them of their impending downfall in 40 days, if they did not repent. But did Jonah’s heart change towards Nineveh? No way. After his proclamation, he went outside the city, safe from his own destruction, and he found a front row seat to watch judgement reign down upon on the evil city.
5 So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.
But something amazing happened….
Nineveh prayed and repented!
Jonah 3: 5-9
5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:
8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
And that evil city was saved from judgement…for roughly 150 more years. They unfortunately did go back to their evil ways.
10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that He had said that he would do unto them; and He did it not.
God is sovereign after all, and He shows mercy on whom He will show mercy, as written in scripture:
15 I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Nineveh was spared. Was Jonah filled with gratitude that his warning was heeded and that His God was merciful and righteous?
Nope. Jonah was bitter and angry that his prophesy to the people of Nineveh did not come to pass, because they believed him, prayed, and repented.
1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.
2 And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
3 Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.
4 Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?
It seems that Jonah, still sitting out in the hot sun waiting for Nineveh to be destroyed, never did repent of his own anger and bitterness over the mercy God had shown towards his enemy, not realizing his own sin, and God’s loving mercy and gentle chastisement towards him, again and again — as the Almighty even provided shade for him while he sat waiting, watching, and wallowing in his self righteous bitterness…waiting for Nineveh to fall.
6 And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.
7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.
8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.
9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.
10 Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:
11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?
Let us not be little Jonah’s as we wait for our blessed hope and look up as our redemption draweth nigh, and wrongly watch for judgement to befall on the wicked!
Let us instead continue to pray for our enemies and those that persecute us and hate us, and be thankful for each day that our Creator has shown mercy to us all!
President Trump has proclaimed this Sunday, March 15th as a National Day of Prayer against this pandemic that the world is currently facing.
POTUS TWEET “It is my great honor to declare Sunday, March 15th as a National Day of Prayer. We are a Country that, throughout our history, has looked to God for protection and strength in times like these….” CBN News
Let us pray and repent on behalf of our own, the unsaved, the ignorant, the wicked, and the rest of the world that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the mighty name of Jesus — be merciful and spare us His righteous judgement, as He was merciful to both Jonah and Nineveh!