Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
Nineveh, wicked though it had become, was not wholly given over to evil. He who “beholdeth all the sons of men” (Psalm 33:13) ... perceived in that city many who were reaching out after something better and higher... God revealed Himself to them in an unmistakable manner, to lead them, if possible, to repentance.
The instrument chosen for this work was the prophet Jonah... Had the prophet obeyed unquestioningly, he would have been spared many bitter experiences, and would have been blessed abundantly. Yet in the hour of Jonah's despair the Lord did not desert him. Through a series of trials and strange providences, the prophet's confidence in God and in His infinite power to save was to be revived...
Once more the servant of God was commissioned to warn Nineveh... As Jonah entered the city, he began at once to “cry against” it the message, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” From street to street he went, sounding the note of warning.
The message was not in vain. The cry that rang through the streets of the godless city was passed from lip to lip until all the inhabitants had heard the startling announcement. The Spirit of God pressed the message home to every heart and caused multitudes to tremble because of their sins and to repent in deep humiliation... Their doom was averted, the God of Israel was exalted and honored throughout the heathen world, and His law was revered. Not until many years later was Nineveh to fall a prey to the surrounding nations through forgetfulness of God and through boastful pride...
The lesson is for God's messengers today, when the cities of the nations are as verily in need of a knowledge of the attributes and purposes of the true God as were the Ninevites of old... The only city that will endure is the city whose builder and maker is God... The Lord Jesus is calling upon men to strive with sanctified ambition to secure the immortal inheritance.
Prophets and Kings, 265-274
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