A Lesson from Jonah

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. Jonah 3:4

Jonah preaches no more and no less than what God told him say.

I would guess that he is pretty "put out" with the Lord anyway about having to go, so he probably says no more than what he must say. But this is a good example to follow. We should say no more nor less than what God has instructed us to say.

In fact, did not the Lord warn us about taking from or adding to His word?

Note his message: "Within 40 days Nineveh will be history." God’s mercy is over. His patience with your sin is over…

God will not hold off His judgment forever. One day it will be full (Romans 2). EB Pusey, writing in 1860, in his commentary on Jonah writes

[T]aught by that severe discipline, he discharges his office strictly. He cries, what God had commanded him to cry out, without reserve or exception. The sentence, as are all God’s threatening’s until the last, was conditional. But God does not say this. That sentence was now within forty days of its completion; yet even thus it was remitted. Wonderful encouragement, when one Lent sufficed to save some 600,000 souls from perishing! Yet the first visitation of the cholera was checked in its progress in England, upon one day’s national fast and humiliation; and we have seen how general prayer has often-times at once opened or closed the heavens as we needed.

"A few years ago," relates Augustine, (de excid. urb. c. 6. (L.) add Paul. Diac. L. 13.) "when Arcadias was Emperor at Constantinople (what I say, some have heard, some of our people were present there,) did not God, willing to terrify the city, and, by terrifying, to amend, convert, cleanse, change it, reveal to a faithful servant of His (a soldier, it is said), that the city should perish by fire from heaven, and warned him to tell the Bishop! It was told. The Bishop despised it not, but addressed the people. The city turned to the mourning of penitence, as that Nineveh of old. Yet lest men should think that he who said this, deceived or was deceived, the day which God had threatened, came. When all were intently expecting the issue with great fears, at the beginning of night as the world was being darkened, a fiery cloud was seen from the East, small at first then, as it approached the city, gradually enlarging, until it hung terribly over the whole city. All fled to the Church; the place did not hold the people. But after that great tribulation, when God had accredited His word, the cloud began to diminish and at last disappeared. The people, freed from fear for a while, again heard that they must migrate, because the whole city should be destroyed on the next Sabbath. The whole people left the city with the Emperor; no one remained in his house. That multitude, having one some miles, when gathered in one spot to pour forth prayer to God, suddenly saw a great smoke, and sent forth a loud cry to God."

The city was saved. "What shall we say?" adds Augustine. "Was this the anger of God, or rather His mercy? Who doubts that the most merciful Father willed by terrifying to convert, not to punish by destroying? As the hand is lifted up to strike, and is recalled in pity, when he who was to be struck is terrified, so was it done to that city." Will any of God’s warnings "now" move our great Babylon to repentance, that it be not ruined? (Barnes’ Notes. Minor Prophets. Jonah 3:4.)


1. Modern medicine and vaccinations are used as a substitute for general and national humiliation, confession of sin and turning to the Lord. The result is that modern medicine is being rendered useless.

2. Modern technology is being used, and vast sums of money (fiat paper, which is no more than an accounting book entry) are being spent to protect from natural and man made disasters. We have yet to hear for a general call of repentance to the Creator. Rather, folks are looking forward to rebuilding, so they can return to their wicked ways.

As the just suffers with the unjust, are we hearing cries for repentance from any area? Are churches setting aside their entertainment programs for sound Bible teaching? Or are we hearing cries for opportunities to return to anti-God activity?

As we see Godliness discarded, both inside and outside of the church, and exchanged for "every man doing what is right in his own eyes", we can be assured that we are now in the death throws of our once great Western Civilization that emphasized personal responsibility and personal liberty, both of which are established in God’s Word. Those of us who remember just 50 years ago are shocked at how fast and far society has fallen into chaos.

– Ovid Need