God’s Saving Word: Mercy and Forgiveness
Jonah 3:1-10: Again, God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach to the people. Jonah delivers a brief message (verse 4), the people heed Jonah’s warning and repents, and God chooses not to punish them.
Jonah Obeys the Lord
3 Once again the Lord spoke to Jonah. 2 He said, “Go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to the people the message I have given you.” 3 So Jonah obeyed the Lord and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to walk through it. 4 Jonah started through the city, and after walking a whole day, he proclaimed, “In forty days Nineveh will be destroyed!”
5 The people of Nineveh believed God’s message. So they decided that everyone should fast, and all the people, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth to show that they had repented.
6 When the king of Nineveh heard about it, he got up from his throne, took off his robe, put on sackcloth, and sat down in ashes. 7 He sent out a proclamation to the people of Nineveh: “This is an order from the king and his officials: No one is to eat anything; all persons, cattle, and sheep are forbidden to eat or drink. 8 All persons and animals must wear sackcloth. Everyone must pray earnestly to God and must give up their wicked behavior and their evil actions. 9 Perhaps God will change his mind; perhaps he will stop being angry, and we will not die!”
10 God saw what they did; he saw that they had given up their wicked behavior. So he changed his mind and did not punish them as he had said he would.
Today’s Key Verse: Jonah 3:8b
“Everyone must pray earnestly to God and must give up their wicked behavior and their evil actions.”
Do you sense that Jonah was still reluctant to obey God? Why or why not? What was Jonah’s message to the people? How did the people of Nineveh respond? What did the king do and say? What does today’s reading teach you about God?
God of love and mercy, you look upon me with compassion and are ready to forgive me when I come to you with a humble and repentant heart and confess to you my wrongdoings. I thank and praise you for loving me so. Amen.
Jonah 4:1-11: Jonah is angry with God.