In a small cemetery of a parish churchyard in Olney, England, stands a granite tombstone with this
inscription: “John Newton, clerk [pastor], once an infidel & Libertine, a servant of slavers in Africa,
was, by the rich mercy of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, preser … More
The Lord in His grace and mercy speaks to Jonah a second time (v. 1). Despite his previous unfaithfulness, Jonah is given a second opportunity to carry out his work for the Lord. The command given to him in (v. 2) is essentially the same as that given to him in 1:2. It reveals God’s love and concern for the heathen Ninevites and at the same time, it demonstrates God’s mercy to Jonah.
This time Jonah made no attempt to avoid and disobey the will of God. In fact there was no hesitation or reluctance on his part. He went immediately to Nineveh in obedience to the word of the Lord (v. 3). Jonah was told to preach only what God told him to preach. This is still good advice for all preachers. We live in an age in which society and social pressures tends to try to dictate to the preacher what he preaches. We are called to preach God’s message and His truth, no matter how unpopular it may be. Many Bible Scholars say that the three days referred to in verse 3 are interpreted to mean the amount of time it would have taken to walk around the city and the one day in verse 4 is how long it took Jonah to reach the center of the city. The point is that Nineveh was clearly the largest city of the then known world.
Jonah’s message was not flowery or oratorical. It was simple and direct as he stressed the impending doom and warning of judgment (v. 4). There is a story told of a man who was given a severe tongue lashing by his wife. He listened to her in silence, and his silence only infuriated her more. Finally, she took a bucket of cold water and threw it on him. Though soaking from head to foot, he remarked very calmly, “After that thunder and lightening storm, I expected a shower.”
Just as this man was not surprised by his wife’s actions, neither should I be surprised by God’s judgment on my actions.
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View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »
Jonah 1:1-9Jonah’s Disobedience
Jonah 1:10-17The Storm at Sea
Jonah 2:1-10Jonah’s Prayer and Deliverance
Jonah 3:1-4Jonah Preaches At Nineveh
Jonah 3:5-10The People of Nineveh Believe
Jonah 4:1-5Jonah Gets Angry
Jonah 4:6-11God Ministered to Jonah