“The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you. So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across.” (Jonah 3:1 – 3)
I am originally from a small town in southern Ontario. The town I grew up in, you could walk across it in 30 minutes and still have time to stop and visit a few people. I was born in Toronto, Ontario. That would take a few days to walk across. A large city to the north of where I live (Portland, Oregon) has it boundaries blending into so many other towns you would not know if you passed from one city to the next; not to mention the highways that stream in and out of it.
“Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” (Verse 4)
Anyone proclaiming in Toronto, Ontario would be ignored. Anyone proclaiming in Portland, Oregon would be arrested!! Sign of the times.
In any city, news would travel. Today we have social media & newspapers, Twitter & Facebook; and bounding them all together, the internet. Word would spread. The question is, beloved reader, would the “Word” be believed? We live in different times, different circumstances, and different realities. I remember in the past several “words” that the end times were coming, and people should get ready. But nothing came of it. I wonder though, if somewhere there is a person who has received a whisper in their ear to proclaim “Forty more days and all will come to an end!” Again ask, would that person be believed?
“And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.” (Verse 5)
Jonah, to his surprise, was believed. Did not quite see that coming from the time he was in a whale. His experience in the whale (or large fish) changed him. Or at least that is what the rest of the story says to me. We get so wrapped up in how we think things should be, that we overlook or (worse yet) disregard how the Divine sees it.
“When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.” (Verse 10)
I wonder too, beloved reader, how many times the Divine Hand was stayed be a remarkable show of faith. I know for myself, I have often thought “Oh I am deep in it now! Don’t know how this will resolve!” Not sin, mind you. Although I am no saint. But I have had problems, taken them to the Lord God and prayed from mercy, deliverance, and wisdom. And the Divine has worked it out such that I wonder why I worried. But you know, if I had not worried, I would have not brought the situation to the Lord; and in the past not as quickly as I do now. I ask myself, why did I wait to pray about this?
Beloved reader, when you hear bad news do not assume the worst is coming. It might just be the Divine offering you the opportunity to straighten out your life and yourself. Shalom & Selah!