In weeks one and two, we learned about Jonah as the runaway and about Jonah inside the belly of a fish. We saw the very real appearance of grace that God offered him after being tossed off the boat headed to Tarshish. This week, we learned how Jonah’s experience changed his heart and his perspective. We also learned that his story proved to be exactly what the Ninevites needed to be saved.
Chapter 3 opens as God approaches Jonah with a second chance: “Arise, go to Ninevah, that great city and call out against it the message I tell you.” This time, Jonah listens and goes to the great city. He delivers God’s message to the Ninevites: “Yet 40 days and Ninevah shall be overthrown.” Miraculously, the Ninevites immediately believed, fasted, and repented.
So what did Jonah say to the Ninevites that made them change their ways so quickly? We can imagine that Jonah shared what he’d just been through. His story was one of rebellion, running, repentance, and salvation. He was able to speak about the very real consequences of sin and how repentance could bring about grace. As they turned from their ways, God did not bring devastation down upon them.
God gave Jonah a second chance. Even more so, he used Jonah’s rebellion as the very thing needed to help save the Ninevites and give them a second chance. It’s a reminder to us all that God is entirely in control. It’s also a reminder that with our repentance, God can use our past rebellions as a means to bring Him glory. And while God never condones sin, He is patient and desires to forgive us and use us. So no matter who we are or what we have done, we can trust in the patience and long-suffering nature of God to give us a second chance.