Jonah 3* Jonah sent again to Nineveh, preaches there. (1-4) Nineveh isspared upon the repentance of the inhabitants. (5-10)1-4 God employs Jonah again in his service. His making use ofus is an evidence of his being at peace with us. Jonah was notdisobedient, as he had been. He neither endeavoured to avoidhearing the command, nor declined to obey it. See here thenature of repentance; it is the change of our mind and way, anda return to our work and duty. Also, the benefit of affliction;it brings those back to their place who had deserted it. See thepower of Divine grace, for affliction of itself would ratherdrive men from God, than draw them to him. God's servants mustgo where he sends them, come when he calls them, and do what hebids them; we must do whatever the word of the Lord commands.Jonah faithfully and boldly delivered his errand. Whether Jonahsaid more, to show the anger of God against them, or whether heonly repeated these words again and again, is not certain, butthis was the purport of his message. Forty days is a long timefor a righteous God to delay judgments, yet it is but a littletime for an unrighteous people to repent and reform in. Andshould it not awaken us to get ready for death, to consider thatwe cannot be so sure that we shall live forty days, as Ninevehthen was that it should stand forty days? We should be alarmedif we were sure not to live a month, yet we are careless thoughwe are not sure to live a day. 5-10 There was a wonder of Divine grace in the repentance andreformation of Nineveh. It condemns the men of the gospelgeneration, #Mt 12:41|. A very small degree of light mayconvince men that humbling themselves before God, confessingtheir sins with prayer, and turning from sin, are means ofescaping wrath and obtaining mercy. The people followed theexample of the king. It became a national act, and it wasnecessary it should be so, when it was to prevent a nationalruin. Let even the brute creatures' cries and moans for want offood remind their owners to cry to God. In prayer we must crymightily, with fixedness of thought, firmness of faith, anddevout affections. It concerns us in prayer to stir up all thatis within us. It is not enough to fast for sin, but we must fastfrom sin; and, in order to the success of our prayers, we mustno more regard iniquity in our hearts, #Ps 66:18|. The work of afast-day is not done with the day. The Ninevites hoped that Godwould turn from his fierce anger; and that thus their ruin wouldbe prevented. They could not be so confident of finding mercyupon their repentance, as we may be, who have the death andmerits of Christ, to which we may trust for pardon uponrepentance. They dared not presume, but they did not despair.Hope of mercy is the great encouragement to repentance andreformation. Let us boldly cast ourselves down at the footstoolof free grace, and God will look upon us with compassion. Godsees who turn from their evil ways, and who do not. Thus hespared Nineveh. We read of no sacrifices offered to God to makeatonement for sin; but a broken and a contrite heart, such asthe Ninevites then had, he will not despise.
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