Jonah’s Judgment of Nineveh vs. God’s Judgment of Nineveh
Jonah had a tendency to argue, disagree, and disobey the LORD. This rebellion brought him to a “hell experience:”
“I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. (Jonah 2:2. Read both chapters 1 & 2 for the full account)”
After 3 days and 3 nights the fish “vomited out Jonah upon the dry ground.” He was given a 2nd chance to obey the LORD by going to Nineveh and preaching God’s word to them:
“And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. (Jonah 3:1-10)”
Jonah prophesied to Nineveh that God would destroy them in forty days. God instead had mercy and stayed His hand. Jonah did not like being wrong and he did not agree with the LORD’s change of plans. Jonah was very happy when God’s mercy caused the fish to spit him back into life, but he did not share in God’s mercy toward the people of Nineveh. Apparently he still was hoping for the city’s punishment even after God had changed His Mind:
“So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city. And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered. And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live. And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.
Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle? (Jonah 4:5-11)
Nineveh was a city of over 120,000 people. How many similar places exist in today’s world… where the people “cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand?”
Posted by Clark Callear