Jonah 3:3 – So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord.
Chapter 3 opens with, ‘Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time.’ Jonah had found redemption with God, for although God was displeased with how he had acted, the Lord never actually left him. Jonah may have tried to shut out God’s voice but the Creator can speak in many ways, including through a storm. God shouldn’t have to go to extremes though, to get your attention. First and foremost, God communicates with us as we meditate on his word and listen. If I am reading the scriptures and hearing nothing, then I have to ask myself what I have done, or am doing, to block God’s voice.
Having made himself right with God, Jonah received the message a second time to go to Nineveh and he decided to do what was asked. Regardless of his feelings for the people of that city, the size of the task itself must have been completely daunting. At that time, Nineveh was one of the largest populated cities in the world with more than 120,000 people. The city wall is said to have been 12km long, 53ft high and 49ft wide. One man was being sent to that great city with a message from the LORD God of Israel. Let’s be honest, that thought alone might make you run.
Jonah delivers God’s message and all we know is that the people believed him. Even the king, when he heard the warning that the city would be overthrown if they did not turn from their wickedness, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. I’m sure that not even Jonah was expecting that response but that is the incredible wonder of God’s word; it has the power to reach even the darkest heart. We just need to be obedient to God’s calling. Jonah obeyed the call – went to Nineveh – declared the message – and God did the rest.
When we answer God’s call to evangelism, great things can happen in the most unlikely of places. Don’t be intimidated by the size of the task, rather, be excited about what God can achieve.