We've never seen anything quite like what happened in Nineveh at the preaching of Jonah. Here was a city of more than 120,000 getting right with God in the span of 40 days. This center of paganism became a hotbed of revival. How did this happen? And can we experience such powerful revival in our lives?
Remarkably, the revival was begun by a runaway preacher who was given a second chance. Jonah was awakened to see he needed the same grace he had withheld from Nineveh. God doesn't hold a grudge against you when you humble yourself and repent of sin. Before Nineveh experienced revival, Jonah experienced revival in the fish.
God had a message for the people of Nineveh. "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!" Five Hebrew words that brought a city to its knees! A message of judgment and discipline on sin, but also a message of God's mercy and grace. Jonah could point to himself and say, "Look at me! Forgiveness and grace are available even to those who disobey and run away from God." He was the living sermon that God delivers sinners from destruction.
The awakened messenger announced God's message – and people were saved. Are you declaring the gospel to others? Who needs to hear of God's judgment and mercy? God has given you a great calling. Are you fulfilling it? Your own life is a powerful testimony of how God changes sinners. Tell your friends how Jesus has made a difference in your life.
The Ninevites provide us with a perfect example of how to get right with God. First of all, they respected God's warning. When they heard Jonah's sermon, they believed God would do what he said. They took what God had to say about sin seriously. Do you respect God’s warning about your sin? Do you secretly feel you'll be the exception to sin's consequences? Have you become so accustomed to the warnings that you don't hear them?
The Ninevites also repented of wickedness. They took the warning seriously enough to stop playing with their sin. Being revolted by their sin and violence, they cried out for God's mercy. Revival comes when we remove the objects and pursuits of sin from our lives and refuse to pick them back up. And God's grace enables us to repent.
Finally, they realigned their worship. Their thoughts, motives, and passions were centered on God. Though they had 40 days, they did not wait to get serious with God. We will not know personal revival until we give our minds to things above and bow in submission to Jesus. God was pleased to withhold judgment on Nineveh because he is good. He wants to pour out his reviving blessing on you too.
Food for thought: When was the last time you had a season of revival in your life?
student pastor at www.burgeterrace.org, founder of www.3gministries.org