Jonah | Day Eight
By: Taylor Flatt
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In the verses of Jonah that we’ll read today, we find one of the most humble acts of immediate submission to the word of God by the king of Nineveh.
The king’s immediate obedience is honestly kind of shocking after the run-around Jonah just gave us in the first two chapters of this book. I mean, he’s a pagan king who is known for violence and brutality, and yet, when he hears the truth he immediately responds with action and repentance.
There’s so much we can learn about leadership, humility, and repentance from these few verses about the king of Nineveh.
Pray for God to open your heart today and let’s dive in.
Read Jonah 3:6-10.
What was the first thing that the king did when he heard the word?
What was the second thing that the king did?
Imagine the humility that it took for the king to turn from his wicked ways and ask the entire nation of Nineveh to do the same. And the king wasted no time doing it. The Bible literally tells us that he immediately got off his throne, took off his robe, and grieved. The King of Nineveh wasn’t afraid to get off his throne and get on his knees. And we should be quick to do the same.
As followers of Christ, we are leaders. And as leaders, we must lead with the same humility that puts God on the throne rather than ourselves. This kind of humility allows us to respond swiftly when repentance is required.
The King of Nineveh led his people to repentance by choosing repentance for himself. He repented first and then he called his people to repent. He humbly led his people by example and their humility and repentance literally saved their lives.
So what’s repentance? Let’s talk about that word because it’s a pretty big deal in this story but I think sometimes we don’t completely understand what it really means.
What do you think repentance means?
Now, look it up. Write out an actual definition for repentance here:
What’s the difference between repentance and feeling sorry?
See repentance isn’t just feeling sorry. True repentance takes action. Genuine repentance comes with genuine change.
List the things that the people of Nineveh changed.
So not only did they turn from their wicked ways but they tore their clothes and they began to fast. They didn’t eat or drink anything at all. They didn’t even allow the animals in the land to eat or drink.
Why did they fast?
What is the point of fasting?
They were desperate for God’s attention and they were desperate for God’s mercy. The people of Nineveh believed Jonah, they believed God, and they knew that they deserved punishment but they craved His mercy. They craved His mercy more than they craved food.
Ulltimately, that’s the point of fasting. It’s giving ourselves over to the mercy of God. It’s removing any other comfort or distraction that keeps us from seeking God with a renewed desperation.
And while true and genuine repentance does not always come with fasting, it always comes with change and with a renewed dependence upon the mercy of God.
When we fall on our knees at the feet of God in repentance, He is merciful. He is merciful every time. He is merciful because of His compassion, His graciousness, and His faithful love.
So when the people of Nineveh cried out to God in repentance, what did God do?
He relented and He showed Himself to be merciful.
And praise God because He does the same for us.
Are there any areas of your life that require repentance today?
Because of what I learned in scripture, today I will ________________________________.