Jonah (5 of 7) God Gives Second Chances

3:1-10 God Gives Second Chances

Memory Verse: Jonah 3:5

3:1-4 God Gives Jonah A Second Chance

  • 2:10, 3:1 Jonah was just vomited out on dry land after spending three days and nights in the belly of a great fish. His experience was horrific, but it caused him to repent of his disobedience to God and trying to flee from His presence. Jonah’s disobedience was great, but God’s forgiveness was greater. God wasn’t finished with Jonah. He was willing to give him a second chance—the word of the Lord came unto Jonah a second time.
  • 3:2 The first time the word of the Lord came unto Jonah, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.” The second time it said, “Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.” The command is the same. God has a message for Nineveh and He wanted to use His prophet Jonah to deliver it to them. God could have chosen someone else to deliver this message, but He had a plan for Jonah’s life and wasn’t willing to throw him away after he failed the first time. God still wanted him to stand face to face with the inhabitants of the city and deliver the message in person. Application: Have you failed God? God has not chosen the mighty things of this world but the weak—therefore He is willing to give you a second chance.
    Matthew 9:36; 11:28; 12:20; 1 Corinthians 1:26-29
  • 3:3a The first time Jonah received God’s command he rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, but the second time Jonah arose and went unto Nineveh. Maybe God is offering you a second chance today. You have a decision to make. Will you choose to obey God’s plan for your life? God wants your obedience, He wants your faith.
  • 3:3b The city that Jonah was to preach to didn’t change. He was still to go to Nineveh. Nineveh was a great city in most of the areas that a person would judge a city’s greatness (size, population, military, power). This was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey—probably meaning the time it takes to travel through the city or to visit all the different parts of the city. But God also considered it’s wickedness to be great, telling Jonah, their wickedness is come up before Him. This city’s sin was so great that God has taken notice and He is ready to do something about it. Nothing about the city or its circumstances has changed—the only thing that has changed is Jonah—he had fled from the presence of the Lord and approach death only to repent and turn back to God in obedience.
    Jonah 1:2; 3:2
  • 3:4 Jonah arrived and entered Nineveh. When he was “a day’s journey” into the city he cried against the city saying, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” It was a short eight-word sermon. It must have been obvious that Jonah was a prophet from God or that more questions were asked once he made this public proclamation of pending judgment. God was willing to give the Ninevites forty days to repent of their sin or their great city would be overthrown—experience downfall. Jonah accomplished his mission.

3:5-10 God Gives Nineveh A Second Chance

  • 3:5 God was offering mercy and hope to Nineveh if they turned from their wickedness and turned to Him. This is exactly what the people of Nineveh did. They believed God—they turned to God, putting their trust in Him. At the same time, they turned away from their wickedness as indicated by proclaiming a fast and putting on sackcloth—both outwards expressions of inward repentance. Everyone, from the greatest of them to the least of them, repented and believed in God. God gave Nineveh a second chance.
  • 3:6 The word—the situation taking place in the city—came unto the king of Nineveh. After hearing the message and response of the people, the king himself arose from his throne, laid his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. For any person, but especially a king, this was a great sign of humility and repentance. He went from the throne to ashes, from a robe to sackcloth—he was willingly to see himself for who he really was (a sinner) and turn to God with a heart of repentance.
  • 3:7-9 The king was so moved by the message and probably the response of the people that he caused the following to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by his decree and that of his nobles: (1) Fasting—no man or animal was to eat or drink. This was a time of grieving, not celebration—they only had forty days. (2) Sackcloth—every man and animal was to be covered with sackcloth—this was a sign of grieving and repentance. (3) Confession—each person was to cry mightily unto God—outward actions weren’t enough, but they were to be a sign of the true inward confession taking place. Each person was to confess their sin and the sin of their city to God. (4) Repentance—each and every person was to turn from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. (5) Hope—there was hope that if they turned from their wickedness to God that God would turn and graciously cease from causing their city to be overthrown, turning away from His fierce anger so that they wouldn’t perish.
  • Confession and Repentance—renouncing your former way of life (sin, pride, self-righteousness, etc.) and turning to a new way of life that is only found in God. Just likes the Ninevites confessed and repented of their sin, today we are to also confess and repent of our sins. Their outward actions (fasting, sackcloth) didn’t save them, but it represented their change of mind, heart and life based on the understanding of truth.
    2 Corinthians 7:9-10; Luke 5:32;13:3; Psalm 51; Jeremiah 14:20
  • Hope and Faith—trusting in God to save you. Just likes the Ninevites placed their faith and hope in God for mercy, today we trust that Jesus’ death and resurrection are sufficient to forgive our sins. This is more than intellectual assent of the facts about Jesus, but you are basing your salvation on them.
    Acts 16:31; 20:21; Romans 3:22, 25, 28; 10:9-11, 17; James 2:19; Matthew 8:29
  • Perish—the Ninevites didn’t know if God would hear their confessions or see their faith, but they were hoping that He would so that they wouldn’t perish. Today, we don’t have to worry like the Ninevites did, because God has already promised that anyone who repents of their sin and places their faith in Jesus as Lord and Saviour would not perish, but have everlasting life.
    John 3:16
  • 3:10 Finally, God saw their works—that they turned from their evil way through faith. God graciously ceased from causing their city to be overthrown of the calamity—great loss and misfortune—that He had said that He would do unto them as judgement for their sin. Today, God is offering you another chance to trust and obey Him.

Review Questions

  • What came to Jonah the second time?
  • What was Jonah’s response the second time?
  • Did Jonah accomplish his mission?
  • What was the second chance offered to the Ninevites?
  • What was the Ninevites response to their second chance?

Join the Conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.