3 Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time: 2 “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.” 3 This time Jonah obeyed the Lord’s command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all.[a] 4 On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” 5 The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow. 6 When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. 7 Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city: “No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. 8 People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence. 9 Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.” 10 When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.
The book of Jonah is about Yahweh the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. The great I AM. As Moffatt translates, “The Eternal One”, creator of heaven and earth. The book does bear Jonah’s name but it is about the character of Yahweh.
- CHAPTER THREE REAFFIRMS YAHWEH’S MERCIFUL NATURE
- Note verse 1–“The LORD [Yahweh] spoke to Jonah a second time. Considering Jonah’s attitude and his previous behavior, why would God give him a second chance? Why does He give us a second change and a third, and a fourth? Because He is a merciful God. David said, “Your mercy reaches into the heavens”. In other words, there is no end to His mercy. God is infinite is all His attributes.
- I also see God’s mercy in His message–“Deliver the message I have given you”. God did not have to give Jonah a second chance, He could have used someone else and He did not have to warn the Ninevites of His impending judgment but again, Yahweh is a merciful God.
- Look at verse 10–“When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.” God had mercy on the entire city because they repented. Our God is a merciful God, amen! He is worthy of praise! Jonah needed mercy; Nineveh needed mercy and you and I need mercy. Thank You Jesus for Your mercy.
2. CHAPTER THREE REVEALS YAHWEH’S SOVEREIGN PURPOSE
- Yahweh initiates the call [sets everything into motion]
- Yahweh gives Jonah the message [not Jonah’s message] Jonah is simply to deliver the message.
- The Ninevites believe the message. This is the miracle of preaching. Jonah, who is anything but perfect, delivers God’s message [that he doesn’t agree with] and the people respond in massive repentance.
- People have always made too much of preachers. Preachers are “Delivery Boys”. God is the owner and editor of the paper…we just deliver His message. Like the Jews, we have a tendency to make icons out of servants. I am sure the book of Jonah made the cannon for this very reason. Jonah preached the greatest revival in human history and he was an A-hole. How do you put a man like Jonah on a pedistal for simply delivering God’s message? This story has Yahweh written all over it.
- When we are faithful to preach God’s word: people hear God speaking. It is a miracle. Every preacher I know is like Jonah: they lives are clouded with personal problems and in some cases, bad attitudes, just like Jonah but when they preach God’s word, the people hear God. It is a miracle.
- In the end, God’s message is preached and He gets credit for the results, getting all the glory just as He deserves. Nobody ever praise Jonah! No one should! Yahweh is to be praised.
3. CHAPTER THREE REMINDS US THAT YAHWEH HEARS OUR PRAYERS
- Jonah preached but the King of Nineveh and his citizens Prayed and Fasted.
- Jonah has a prayer in his heart, he just did not articulate it. His prayer was that God would destory the wicked Ninevites.
- The King of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying and he “Stepped down from his throne.” If we are to experience REVIVAL, we are going to have to step down from the throne, stop trying to run everything and do everything our way. The King of Nineveh humbled himself.  He stepped down  he took off his royal robe  he put on a toesack  and sat in ashes. Ashes is wood reduced to nothing but dust. When we get to that point that we are reduced to nothing but dust, we are getting ready for God to move.
- The King made a decree…Everyone must pray earnestly  Everyone must turn from their evil ways  Everyone must stop their violence. “Who can tell” said the King, “Perhaps God will change His mind” and He did.
- Did all your reform guys get that…God changed His mind. I can just hear them now, “God cannot change his mind”….”It is impossible”…”It makes no sense”. Listen friend, Yahweh can do anything He pleases and He does not wait for you to understand what He does before He does it. Nothing is impossible with Him and His sense doesn’t make sense to you because you don’t have enough sense for his sense to make sense. Put that in your Harvard brain and soak on it. Have you ever meet a Calvinist that was not a pompous, arrogant know-it-all.
- GOD ANSWERS PRAYER and in this case, the prayer of pagans. I believe that God will answer any prayer of repentance and faith. If I didn’t believe that, I would not have a gospel to share. If I can’t look a person in the eye and tell them with confidence that Jesus loves them, I don’t have any good news.