"Actions speak louder…Faith without works is dead." (James 2:14). The people of Nineveh ‘believed’ God (verse 5), but that belief wasn’t enough. The KING of this great city fasted and used his authority to instruct everyone in the land to fast, call out to God, and put on sackcloths. They humbled themselves before God, physically showing their repentance.
God’s grace existed in the Old Testament. Contrary to popular belief and lack of studying the Bible, we can see that God’s grace & mercy existed in the Old Testament! Grace is unmerited favour. Favour is receiving something you did not work for. Mercy is the withholding of what you do deserve! God’s mercy is evident in this chapter.
Your obedience can save a nation. Repentance can save a nation.
For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? (Romans 10:13-14 NKJV)
And how shall they hear without a preacher? How will people hear about God if you do not tell them? How will people hear about God if we don’t support our missionaries & evangelists? How will people hear about God and be saved if you don’t grow in the faith, obey God and speak up?
See how a city was saved because Jonah finally heeded to God’s instruction. If he really resisted…the blood of the city would be on his hands, he would be held accountable. The people of Ninevah would have perished for lack of knowledge! But thank God that wasn’t the case.
Understand that the things God tells us to do, the thing He considers to be our purpose has a greater impact. Purpose isn’t just for you! It’s for others to benefit from. You accomplishing your purpose is you being a point of provision for someone in ‘need’! You accomplishing your purpose and divine assignment is allowing someone to hear God’s word and get a chance to be saved! This was the case with Jonah, and it is the same for us. Our obedience to God is so key. If you don’t want to obey God for yourself, please at least obey Him for the people that will benefit from your obedience.
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? - James 2:14 (NIV)
10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? - Romans 10:10-14 (NIV)
1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” 3 Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. 4 Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. 6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:“By the decree of the king and his nobles:Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” 10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened. - Jonah 3:1-10 (NIV)