“WHO KNOWS?” — The Ninevite king knew something. He knew that he and his kingdom had committed grievous sins against Jonah’s God. He knew that judgment was coming. He knew that the only proper response to this kind of holy God was thorough repentance! Whether repentance would avert this God’s wrath was not known. But repentance was his only choice.
How refreshing to hear the Ninevite king’s clear and persuasive wisdom in commanding wholesale repentance of his kingdom! Yes. Yes. I know. “Separation of church and state!” But this king was convinced that his life and his subjects would soon be separated from their lives!
This king hoped beyond hope that Jonah’s God would “with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” And he was right to hope! For Jonah’s God responded. Seeing their repentance, He “relented.” He did not carry through with the destruction he had threatened. There was mercy with this God!
I have a friend who for years served in Christian organizations. But my friend Mike (not his name) turned away from the gospel and has now embraced a skepticism that nothing will penetrate (it seems). I’ve tried my best apologetics on my friend. Nothing brought him to his senses. Then I spoke of God’s judgment, of hell, of God’s wrath against unbelief.
He became incensed and said, “I will not respond to threats!” Neither God’s holiness nor His love softened my friend’s heart. A genuine threat ought to drive us to certain conclusions. At least it did with the pagan king of the Ninevites. (to be continued)