Repentance. - Jonah 3:5-9.
November 25, 2022, 9:00 AM


Responding in Repentance

Jonah 3: 5-9

“The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When the news 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. Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh: "By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish."

preached “yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” I personally don’t believe that was the whole message. That was the core of what he had to say. They knew they needed to get right with God, so Jonah had to introduce them to the Lord. This message wasn’t a popular message. It was a message of condemnation for sin. Jonah would in our day be called a hell, fire, and brimstone preacher, but it is a message that needs to be heard today. “If you do not turn from your sins you will be judged by God and sent to hell.” That is true for each person and also for nations and leaders.

Sometimes the discipline God chooses to use is to have more ungodly nations oppress more godly nations who should know better. America should know better. We should know that life is precious. Truth is paramount.

Grace sells much better and it is also truth, but not the whole truth. There is something that precedes grace and that is the awareness of our desperate need for it because of sin. That is the warning now before it is too late.

It might be easier to listen to a prophet of doom when he just spent the last three days in the belly of a fish. If he was like the illustration we used last week if his skin and hair were bleached white from the digestive juices. He probably looked like a ghost, but that is just a guess.

The great city had a surprising response- they repented. They believe the Word of the Lord. Revival broke out. The whole city turned and believed in God. They responded in not only repentance, but faith, believing God was going to do what God said he was going to do. The Ninevites began with trusting God.

The people in Nineveh from the King to the servants and including the animals were called upon to fast and pray asking God not to do what He said He would do. The King removed his robe, and covered himself in dust. So did all the people. Ashes signified humility before God and contrition of heart. People in mourning in the Eastern world sometimes still will cover themselves in dust or ashes.

However repentance is both inward and outward. There is more than just feeling badly it is a change of action. In our “repentance” we can often times be concerned more with stopping feeling bad, rather than understanding the offence of our sins. The story is told of a man who sent a check to the government for back taxes with a note attached that said, “I felt so guilty for cheating on my taxes I had to send you this check. If I don’t feel any better, I’ll send you the rest.”

That wasn’t the attitude of the folks in this story. When one comes clean before God they want it all to be taken away and they cried for God to save them even though they realized they were guilty.