Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Fast of Nineveh: Redemption of all creation
V5“The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth”.
This passage teaches us about God’s mercy and the right approach to repentance.
God in His mercy reached out to the prophet Jonah to preach against the great city of Nineveh because its wickedness had come up before Him. Jonah refused to listen to God. During a series of events initiated by God, Jonah prayed to the Lord and the Lord delivered him (Jonah 1 & 2).
When the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, he obeyed and went to Nineveh (Jonah 3:1). Here we see God’s hand at work and Jonah’s true repentance which led to his restoration.
Jonah proclaimed the message from the Lord: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown”(v4).
The Ninevites believed the prophets proclamation and decided to act upon it. The king of Nineveh covered himself with sackcloth and issued a proclamation whereby people and animals were not allowed to eat or drink; were to be covered with sackcloth; were to call urgently on God and give up their evil ways and violence. The Ninevites grieved their sinful ways and resolved to change their wicked ways.
In his proclamation, the king of Nineveh also declares his hope in God. “Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish” (v9). By this the king acknowledges that their sins were worthy of God’s harsh judgement but is hopeful in the compassionate nature of God. “The Lord is compassionate and gracious; slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103: 8-10).
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
“When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened” (v10). When God’s disciplining hand is at work in our lives, we must realize that God in his mercy yearns for us to be reconciled with Him. Salvation has been given to us in the redemptive work of Christ. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us” (Eph1:7)
In Matthew 12: 41, Jesus referring to himself, declare that “the men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here.” Let us approach His throne of mercy and seek His grace to genuinely repent of our sinful ways and be obedient to His will.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” Psalm 139:23-24
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Genuine repentance is only possible by God’s grace.
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church