“And the people of Nineveh believed God.” - As Seen On Sunday

“And the people of Nineveh believed God.” - As Seen On Sunday


And 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.
— Jonah 3:5



We believe you,

We are calling out to you,

help us to turn from our evil ways,

do not allow us to perish,

We what we are doing,

relent from your disaster,


Sermon Recap

So we have come full circle now. God talked to Jonah, he ran, he prayed, and God didn't let
him get digested. Now the word of the Lord comes to Jonah a second time saying the same thing as the first time, but this time Jonah goes. The city would take 3 days to get through and he walks a day into it because saying,“yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.”

Im just going to be honest, I don't see why anyone would have responded to this. I read one thing that said about how crazy Jonah would have looked after being inside a fish with stomach acids changing the color of his skin, but It doesn't really say that in the text. It doesn't say Zombie Jonah scared everyone. It doesn't say that they even knew what happened to him. He was traveling away from Nineveh, and then was spit up onto the beach, so we don't even know how far he had to travel to get there. Either news could have traveled ahead of him or people might not have known anything about him.

All we really know is that once he got there, he went almost half way into the city and said they have 40 days. The Spirit did the rest.

“And the people of Nineveh believed God.”

They were distraught about this message. They could have laughed at this foreign “prophet.” No, they believed God; not just Jonah but God behind the message. They believed and responded. They fasted and put on sackcloth as a sign of mourning and repentance. This reached the King and he responded in the same way.

“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, 8 but 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. 9 Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”

What the king says reminds me greatly of 2 Chronicles 7:14 where God says,

“14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

The fasting and sackcloth are how they humbled themselves, calling out to God is praying, both say to turn from their even ways and both end with the potential of God hearing and relenting.

The attention of this chapter has turned from Jonah to the Ninevites. Perhaps this is why the focus isn't on a great eloquent message but one simple line that served as a warning, the response of those who received it and ultimately God’s grace for those people.

It is really easy to read their response as penance where through the works God relented but that takes away from God’s grace. Corporately they repented and asked God to relent and God answered them. I think that there is a fine line between humbling ourselves and trying to earn grace. I certainly think that we often mix up the two. God knows the hearts of people, but we see time after time in the Bible where He first has people act. I think maybe God helps teach us something when he allows us to act from our hearts as opposed to never having put us through it. Although we do not have a mass conversation and we know that Assyria was destroyed over 100 years later, I believe that were must have been something accomplished in the hearts of the people and above all else, God’s grace was on display.

About the Author | Sean Kready TwitterFacebookInstagramSnapchat
An imperfect Christian, who sins on the daily, but tries to share his journey so that we all might know God better. This is our offering. An act of worship.

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