“And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. 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. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: 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? And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” Jonah 3:4-10 (bold and underlining added)
Why did God forgive the enormous number of people in Nineveh and spare them from His wrath against them for their deplorable, despicable, wicked sins? Why did He not destroy them as He had warned them He would do through Jonah the prophet when Jonah finally went and preached the one-sentence sermon God gave him to preach after originally running from God and refusing to deliver God’s message of dire warning? Was it merely because they believed God’s warning? NO! Was it merely because the king immediately ordained that the people fast and dress in sackcloth and ashes and cry out to God as was the custom then for people needing to repent?
Was it merely because they cried out to God to forgive them? NO! It was because they BELIEVED in God, they BELIEVED HIS WARNING, and “TURNED FROM THEIR EVIL WAY (upper case added).” This world is coming to an end! God is storing up His unfathomable wrath!
But in His unfathomable LOVE and MERCY, He is warning us to BELIEVE IN CHRIST, to BELIEVE HIS WARNING, and to TURN FROM OUR EVIL WAYS so we can experience the indescribable love, hope, peace, and joy of knowing, loving, worshiping, and serving Him and being in His glorious magnificent awesome presence FOREVER! The people of Ninevah LISTENED, HEARD, BELIEVED, and ACTED on God’s warning. Jesus Christ died on the cross to atone for our sins to enable us to repent, believe in Him, follow Him, and live in the amazing, majestic presence of the Lord God almighty for eternity instead of hell and the lake of fire! God is warning us because He loves us and wants to save us from His wrath to be with Him everlastingly.
Repent! Oh repent!