Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh…” (Jonah 3:1-2a NASB)
Jonah finally obeyed. God had to ask him again, but Jonah obeyed. He got up, went to Nineveh and started preaching an unpopular message.
I’ve confronted an individual or two, but can you imagine confronting a whole city? A city full of violent people you consider your enemies?
Jonah warned that in 40 days God would destroy their city. What was going through Jonah’s mind as he preached? Did he expect to be killed when he opened his mouth? Did he wonder if he would make it out of the city alive? It was too late to turn back. He started walking and preaching.
Their response to Jonah and his message was startling. A grass roots movement was started that spread to all social classes. Eventually the king also heard and put his royal robes aside to become one with the people. A city-wide fast was held that even included the animals. It was a last ditch effort to appeal to this God who was angry with their way of life.
As I think of the society I live in I am ashamed of my reluctance to speak plain truth. “After all I don’t want to offend. Everyone has the right to believe what they believe.” While that is true, if I loved them I would confront them with the gospel.
There have been many people through the years who loved me enough to point out my need of God. Time and again I was confronted with my sin and my need of a Savior. They helped me shift my focus from self to the God who loves me. My failure to preach that same message to those who are lost is just as sinful as Jonah’s lack of obedience.
Jonah spoke plain truth. It wasn’t a popular message, but God used it to bring an entire city to repentance. What is God waiting to do with the words I leave unspoken?
It might be costly to speak. It will probably be uncomfortable. My goal can’t be self-preservation, but the well-being of those who need to hear of a loving God who loves them enough to tell them the truth.
May we each have the boldness of Jonah. Speaking the truth to a society who has turned their backs on God.
“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5 NASB)
For further study:
I’ve included a series of blog posts that explain the gospel.
There is also a Bible study on my resource page that can be printed free of charge. The link is below.