Having learned that God is the God of second chances, Jonah headed to the imposing city of Nineveh to warn of God’s impending judgment. The residents of Nineveh repented in the hope that God would relent and spare them—and remarkably, God did! As Alistair Begg clarifies, though, it was not a case of God “changing His mind.” Rather, it was an expression of His great love, which exceeds our capacity to understand it.
1Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” 3So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city,1 three days' journey in breadth.2 4Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.
6The word reached3 the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, 8but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”
10When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
Copyright © 2020, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.