Jonah was a prodigal prophet. God gave him a message to preach, and he ran away from his calling. He tried to flee from the presence of God, but God used Jonah's rebellion for his own purpose. He took someone like Jonah, a runner, and made him into a prophet that preached the good news of God's grace to a city of 500,000 living in sin.
JONAH WAS GIVEN A SECOND CHANCE
Jonah chapter 3 begins just like chapter 1.
“Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.”
Except this time, Jonah obeyed. Jonah was given a second chance to do what God had called him to do. God showed him mercy by not giving him what he deserved. He showed him grace by giving him a second chance. Jonah is the prodigal prophet. He ran from God initially, but after some time of rebellion he came back to God, who welcomed him with open arms. God is a giver of second chances(even third and one hundredth chances!)
JONAH'S MESSAGE WAS TIED TO HIS TESTIMONY
Jonah was instructed to tell the city of Nineveh a message. The city's name itself derives from the word ninus which means residence of Nimrod(city's founder) or nunu which is Akkadian(Semitic language spoken in Mesopotamia) for fish. Simply put, the city could actually just be called “fish town”. In a addition, the people of Nineveh worshiped the fish god and goddess, Dagon, and Nanshe.
Fish were deeply rooted in the culture of the Ninevites. That is why they took great interest in Jonah's fish story.
This is what God does. He calls a man, He changes the man's heart, He gives the man a story, and He gives the man a mission; the mission to tell his story.
GOD WILL SHOW MERCY AND GRACE TO THE REPENTANT
Something amazing happened in Nineveh after Jonah preached his message(of only five words in the Hebrew). The whole city of 500,000 repented, even their king. They all believed, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth(a sign of repentance). The city of 500,000 believed, and turned from their sins. The people who Jonah didn't want to preach to. The people who's land had been stained with the blood of their enemies. These were the people that some may have thought were too far gone for God's grace. These people received God's gift of relentless grace.
God used Jonah's rebellion to gave him a story. His story helped him preach the message God gave him, and ultimately God was glorified when the city of Nineveh repented. God gave us all a story. He can use it to bring glory to himself, no matter what it is. God shows us grace through Jesus who took our sins. We are given a second chance. We are given relentless grace.