Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city—a visit required three days. On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. . . . When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.
Our Loving Lord Calls Us to Repentance
Nineveh was the New York City of its day. Capital of the powerful Assyrian Empire—the city was large and proud. One-hundred-foot high walls surrounded it. The citizens of Nineveh were well protected from physical danger by the walls that surrounded them.
But the Ninevites were in danger from a force much more powerful than any neighboring army. They were in grave spiritual danger. Sin was rampant, and God had had enough. He sent his prophet Jonah some six hundred miles to warn them to repent of their sin, or he would destroy them in forty days.
Like the people of Nineveh, God commands us to repent of our sins. God’s warnings about our sin are always urgent. Sin is serious; it separates us from God.
Against what sins are you struggling? Today God calls on you to repent. Turn away from those sins and trust God for his mercy. He is a forgiving God, just as he was for the people of Nineveh: “…he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.” God has had compassion on you, too. Instead of bringing on you the destruction your sins deserve, he brought that destruction on Jesus when he hung on the cross. Through Jesus, you have forgiveness for all your sins against God. May this comforting reality give you the strength you need today to leave your sin behind and live your life for him.
Heavenly Father, I confess that I have so often sinned against you. Forgive my sins for Jesus’ sake. Give me the strength and the will to live this day in true repentance that all my doings and life may please you. Amen.