“Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.” (Jonah 1:1-2)
Nineveh was a city in Assyria. The Assyrians were warlike and cruel. God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach for them to repent. Jonah didn’t want to go, so he boarded a ship. God sent a storm that threatened to destroy the ship. The sailors prayed to their false gods which did no good. The captain then told Jonah to pray to his God. The sailors also cast lots, similar to drawing straws, in order to find out whose fault it was that the storm had come—Jonah got the short straw.
Jonah told them that he was a Hebrew and was running from God. They were afraid because they knew that the Hebrew God was the true God. Jonah told them to throw him overboard. They reluctantly agreed, and while throwing him overboard, they asked God for mercy. The storm stopped. The heathen sailors became followers of the true God. Then the whale came and swallowed Jonah. Jonah spent three days and three nights in the whale’s belly before the Lord commanded the whale to vomit Jonah onto the dry land.
God told Jonah the second time to go to Nineveh. This time Jonah obeyed. He went to Nineveh and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” (Jonah 3:4). God got the hearts of the people, and they repented deeply for their sin, wickedness and violence and prayed for God’s mercy. Jonah 3:10 says, “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”
However, Jonah wasn’t happy that God had spared them. He said angrily, “…I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.” (Jonah 4:2). God said to Jonah, “And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?” (Jonah 4:11). Jonah didn’t care about them, but God did.
As a cop, what do you see and hear much of the time when you deal with people?—crime, dishonesty, indecent clothes, wild hair, disrespect, ratty homes, money wasted on personal pleasure, immoral living, foul language, pounding music, and a Godless culture. Most likely the people don’t know or even care about serving or pleasing the true God, just like the people of ancient Nineveh which helps explain why they act as they do. Do you have a “Jonah” attitude of “I don’t care about these people?” It’s easy to be that way.
If you know Jesus as Saviour, though, think of how He sees them. Matthew 9:36 says, “But when he [Jesus] saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” The worst problem with most people is not their behavior. Their worst problem is that they’re headed for hell without Christ. By the way, Jesus referred to the story of Jonah and the whale as a true story, so it really happened.
As a cop, you have to deal with people’s bad behaviors, but even as you do, ask the Lord to help you see them as He sees them and have compassion on their souls. Ask the Lord to work in their lives to reach them with the gospel. God can work miracles in their hearts like He did in the hearts of the Ninevites. Jesus also said, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:38). So as you pray, be ready also to labor with the Lord to reach precious souls.
God’s word tells us how to be sure of a home in heaven. Please click “How do I Go to Heaven?” on the sidebar to find out.
Brian Miller 11/12/2015
Cleveland Baptist Church | 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 | 216-671-2822