Loving Father, as I read Your Word and spend time with You, make me more as You want me to be.
Read Jonah 3:1-10
 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:  “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”  Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it.  Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”  The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.  When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust.  This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink.  But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.  Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”  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. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow did the Ninevites react to Jonah? What did God do?
Had the story of Jonah ended with ch. 2, we would know that God is gracious when we are disobedient, but we would still be wondering whether past failures mean that God dismisses us from his service. When Christians mess up, does God take us off the case? Chapter 3 reassures us that God often gives his disobedient children a second chance (1,2). God’s extraordinary grace is also a challenge. We are to show the same grace to others (see Matt. 5:43-48). Is there someone you know who needs to be given a second chance? Grace is contagious! Jonah’s second chance (3,4) resulted in a second chance for Nineveh, too. Nineveh’s 40-day period of judgment and testing (4) resulted in such radical change that they became an example of true repentance (Matt. 12:41). The Ninevites teach us that repentance starts with believing God’s word (5) and grasping the seriousness of our position before him (9). Real repentance is demonstrated in a change of attitude toward God (5,8,10) and a change in behavior toward others (10).
Do you need a second chance from God? If so, ask for it, determined to act differently this time around.
Gracious Lord, I thank You that You are a God of second chances. What great love and grace You show.
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