Jonah 1:17; 2:10; 3:1-10
“17But the Lord provided a large fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.”
“10Then the Lord spoke to the fish, and it spewed Jonah out upon the dry land.”
“The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, 2‘Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.’ 3So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. 4Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, ‘Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!’ 5And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.
6When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7Then he had a proclamation made in Nineveh: ‘By the decree of the king and his nobles: No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything. They shall not feed, nor shall they drink water. 8Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands. 9Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish.’
10When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.”
And so, through an unorthodox means, a large fish, Jonah arrives where he does not want to go. In Niveah, he is saying words he does not believe to people he really does not like. Yet God is at work too, the people hear his call to repent. All the people (and animals too!) hear God’s plead to change their ways and follow in God’s way. Jonah’s reluctance did not hamper God’s mercy. Yet his voice does change an entire city’s future, I wonder if that has happened for you as well?
Merciful Lord, may the words of your grace ring through and true even when we don’t always share the joy for whom we share. Accept our pleads of mercy and open our hearts to truly experience your love, in Christ Jesus, Amen.