“Repent!” is not a word most people want to hear. It conjures images of an odd-looking man holding a sign on a street corner ranting about the end of the world. Most people just walk on the other side of the street. Yet that’s exactly what happened in Jonah 3—the end of the world for Nineveh was literally 40 days away. Remarkably, the Ninevites changed their attitude about life and even changed their behaviors! The rest of the world agreed: no group of people needed to change more than this ruthless and barbaric Assyrian super-power.
How could this happen? Were the Ninevites actually good-natured people deep down? Was Jonah such an incredible speaker that no one could resist his charisma? Jonah 3:10 says simply: “God had compassion.” Wait! Isn’t this the Old Testament God who was constantly in a bad mood, raining down fire and brimstone at will?! Yet God described himself to Moses in Exodus 34:6, “The LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”
The whole reason God sent Jonah to Nineveh was because God loved them so much that he did not want them to destroy themselves and the nations around them. God has that same love and desire for you. You just have to turn to him (repent) and find his love!