|Nineveh Repents - Nicolas Fontaine (1625-1709)|
TO CHEW ON: "So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes." Jonah 3:5-6
Have you ever looked at a person or group of people and thought, They would never accept the gospel? Jonah's thoughts about the Ninevites probably ran along those lines. And yet no sooner did he start preaching than the people became filled with conviction and were visibly repentant. What was Jonah's secret?
Perhaps he was a really persuasive orator? Or maybe it was his appearance. I've heard it suggested that he was quite the sight, with bleached skin and white hair after three days of treading water in the fish's digestive juices. Perhaps his shocking appearance scared the people into paying attention?
It may have been a bit of both, but I believe there was something way bigger going on here—and that it was God the Spirit sending conviction to these hearts. He did something similar among the Jews when Ezra and Nehemiah read the Scripture scroll (Nehemiah 8:8-9) and in the crowd that Peter preached to on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:40-43).
And so Jonah's story can be an encouragement to us. For when God gives an assignment, we can be sure that He has and is working on the recipients of our mission, readying their ears and softening the soil of their hearts. If our work meets with success it is due to this more than our strategies and efforts.
PRAYER: Dear God the Spirit, please help me to obey Your promptings so that Your work can be completed and I have the joy of being part of it. Amen.
MORE: Holy Spirit Rain Down (Hillsong Church)
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved