Preaching and The Response

Preaching and The Response

Preaching and The Response

“Forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” Jonah 3:4 NKJV

Our prophet was gung-ho and he loudly let the people of Nineveh know the state of their city. Having been through his own ordeal-not that they would believe his fish tale, he stayed focus on his task and on God’s message to the people.  He was doing God’s bidding and speaking, what thus says the Lord. Jonah went up and down streets speaking God’s message full of warnings.

The people responded to Jonah’s message of destruction with concern as they embraced it, hook, line, and sinker. That’s a pretty appropriate term if I do say so myself. The people of Nineveh believed God-not the second, third, or fourth time, but the first time. They responded by proclaiming  a fast, as they all put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.

The words Jonah had proclaimed came to the king, who along with his people arose from his throne, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Did you know that the concept of sackcloth and ashes was a customary symbol of a public sign of repentance and humility before God? It also could represent disgrace or mourning. Sackcloth is a coarsely woven fabric, usually made of black goat hair, and it was very uncomfortable to wear. Can you say itchy. The ashes signified desolation and ruin. Everyone in that city responded with repentance, fasting, and sackcloth and ashes. It was an outward sign in response to an inside condition.

The king did not stop there friends, he proclaimed a fast and published it throughout Nineveh 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 everyone 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!” Jonah 3:7-9 KJV

The people of Nineveh took Jonah’s message and its charges seriously. God saw their works, as they turned from their evil ways. Their repentance moved the Lord to extend grace and mercy to them. Jonah doing the Lords bidding had PAID OFF for the people of Nineveh. This was cause for celebration don’t you think? Look at the lives saved, and the pride Jonah should have felt as a servant of God.


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