Brothers and Sisters,
(Jonah 3:1) And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
As we continue our devotions this week focusing on the story of Jonah, we see here in chapter 3 that the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time. Yesterday, I mentioned what a blessing it is when God gives us a second chance.
Jonah took this second chance and did what he should have done the first time. How many times have we neglected to do what we should have done the first time only to have to go back and do what my dad always told me (go back and lick your calf over again). How much easier our lives would be if only we didn’t have to learn our lessons the hard way. If we would only to the right thing the first time instead of trying to do it our own way.
Jonah arose and took the three day journey to that great city, Nineveh, and then went a days journey into the city as he cried out and said, yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown. (Jonah 3:3-4) So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
When I read this, it amazes me at how great a city this must have been for Jonah to enter into it a day’s journey. Nineveh was the capital city of the Assyrian Empire at this time. The breadth of the city was three days journey. A days journey is estimated to be 19-20 miles. So, this would make the city of Nineveh approximately 60 miles across. I read where this was the largest city on earth at this time. The population of the city was more than 120,000.
No wonder Jonah was hesitant about following God’s call to arise and go to Nineveh. Here was one man entering into what we would consider an impossible situation. Evidently this city was wicked for God to be planning to totally destroy it. But, Jonah had now figured out that it would be much better for him to obey the call of God and put his life on the line rather than living in misery inside the belly of a fish.
The greatest day in our lives is when we come to the place where we see that God’s way is the best way for our lives. You’ve heard me say this before, but when I was struggling with God’s calling for me to preach, I honestly got to the place in my life where I realized that taking my family and living in a tent in the jungles of Africa with God by my side would be much better than living in a mansion here without the Lord.
Preaching the gospel looked as big to me as I’m sure Nineveh looked to Jonah. I had got in such a shape spiritually and emotionally that it felt as if I was living inside the belly of a fish. That day when I got down on my knees in my basement and promised God that I would do my best to do what He asked me to do then there was a peace that came over me like I had never felt since the day that I got saved. It was almost like getting saved all over again.
So, if you are struggling with something in life and it looks as big as Nineveh looked to Jonah, I highly recommend that you surrender your life to the calling of God and just see what God can do with your life. It’s a big, nasty and evil world out there, but with God by your side you can be victorious in your Christian life.