Sermons by Monday Club
So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth…
In this chapter we have the prophet's second call, and what came of His obedience to it.
I. A NEW SPIRIT (vers. 1-3). In part, the command is the same as before. In part, it was unlike the first. Before it was, "Cry against it." Now it is, "Preach unto it." Here is an intimation of just that mercy against which the prophet before rebelled. Jonah implicitly obeyed it. Here was a new spirit. God had just given him needed discipline. No doubt He now gave him needed grace. It is by both that He prepares us for usefulness.
II. A FAITHFUL SERMON (ver. 4). In this sermon two things are noteworthy.
1. It was direct, simple, plain. There is no enlargement, no argument, no exhortation. There is great power in simplicity. It is God's own truth, not human additions to it, or commendations of it, which stirs the consciences and wins the hearts of men.
2. It was also alarming. It sounded just one note, and that was a note of warning. It was an unqualified announcement of coming judgment. Denunciations and threatenings alone can never win and subdue to repentance. But God's denunciations and threatenings never are alone. There was mercy, as well as justice, in the alarm which Jonah sounded. But neither the plainness nor the faithfulness of Jonah's preaching can fully account for the results which followed.
(1) Behind the message was the messenger.
(2) Our Saviour tells us that He was Himself a sign to the Ninevites.
(3) God was with the message spoken, to make it effective by the influence of His Spirit.
III. A REPENTANT CITY (vers. 5-9). Those that heard gave heed. The people seem to have moved first.
1. There was first the fasting, together with the sackcloth and ashes. What did these signify but confession of sin and grief therefor?
2. The supplication for mercy.
3. A moral change.
4. This repentance had its root in faith.
IV. JUDGMENT AVERTED (ver. 10). How widespread and deep the work was we cannot tell.
(Sermons by Monday Club.)
Parallel VersesKJV: So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.