The message — “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown!” — was delivered — and believed! That’s the best news any preacher could get. To have one’s message believed is a real blessing. How did the Ninevites show their belief? They proclaimed a fast for all of them, from the most common servant to the king himself! A wholesale, city-wide revival!
Jonah’s message is described in verse 6 as a “warning.” The king of Nineveh set the example of repentance by stepping down from his throne, removing his royal robes, covering himself with sackcloth, and sitting down in the dust! What an amazing thing it would be if our government leaders today took exactly the same actions!
The king then used his royal power to proclaim a fast for every living subject in his kingdom! No tasting. No eating. No drinking. Every living creature to be clothed in sackcloth. It’s one matter to enforce such actions — it’s quite another to say “Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.”
Outward signs of repentance can be mandated. Personal, authentic repentance is voluntary. My, what an incredible revival Jonah’s “warning” has wrought! (to be continued)