In our study of Jonah chapter three, we look at God's mercy and willingness to give people a second chance.
"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.'" NIV translation
After Jonah's resurrection from chapter two, God gave him a second chance to listen and obey His instructions. This passage can serve to comfort us as we all let the Lord down but, just as with Jonah here, God waits to give us the second chance to put aside ourselves and listen to Him. (He knows what is best for us!)
"Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city-a visit required three days." NIV translation
Given the experience of God's mercy and power, Jonah grabbed the second chance that God offered and went to Nineveh. We see that it was not some little village that Jonah was sent to but a major city. After the experience in the big fish, Jonah could be confident that God could and would take care of him. We too can find the courage to obey by remembering our previous experiences with God.
"On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: 'Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.'" NIV translation
Now, Jonah goes into the city and gives the simple message but it would have meant much more to them than it does to us. You see, Nineveh was a place of warriors as we have seen and not only warriors but the most brutal of all. Nineveh was also a city where the warriors lived and blew off steam as it was not only great in size but also great in wickedness. It was a place where the sex and the alcohol flowed freely as warriors celebrated their conquests. When told that they would be overturned (conquered) they would expect that they would be treated as they had treated the people that they had overthrown and that was with the most cruelty. Jonah also gave them a specific time limit for repentance which was forty days. This period of time is used many times in the Bible and is always a time of trials/testing or proof.