But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
God’s message to people everywhere is the same. He wants us all to turn from evil toward good, from darkness to light, from wrong to right, from our foolish pride to a recognition of Him and His authority over us. And the point of God’s message is always to prod us into repentance, to produce a change, to cast aside that sin that hindered a relationship with Him. And often He gives us chance after chance to see the error of our ways, to be enlightened to His truth and accept what He has to say to us. The people of Nineveh were receptive to the Word of God, and because of that, it produced a dramatic change in their lives.
But what we can’t do is just continue on the same as we’ve always been. We are doomed if we have that attitude and response to what God takes great pains to share with us. Look at all the effort He took to bring this message to this one city. Look at all the behind-the-scenes things that had to take place to get Jonah there—the ship, the storm, the fish. And we can see countless times in Scripture the great efforts God will go to in order to share His message with the world. And even today, we’re probably not even aware of all the ways He is working just to speak some message to our own hearts that will profoundly impact our lives.
And even Jonah could be used, because it’s not so much the messenger, but the message that is important. It’s what God is saying that can impact us because His Spirit is the conduit of those words and those messages and those truths that go down deep into our hearts and make a real difference. It is a message of hope and love. It is an opportunity to experience the mercy and grace of God in a personal way. It is a chance to connect with God Himself and have a relationship with Him, not just being spared from punishment and destruction.
It is always worth turning from evil. There is always hope for us when we do so. That is what God wants all of mankind to realize. That’s why He sent His Son to die for our sins. That’s why He’s still sending people of all kinds to every place to tell others about His love and to share His truths. He’s still speaking, but we have to listen. He’s still seeking us, but we have to pay attention to Him. He’s still working, and we can be a part of that. He’s still reaching out for those lost souls, and we can be used to let them know there is hope for them if they will respond to the message of God.