The idea of being grateful to the point of saying so, while meeting your demise in the belly of a sea creature, takes great faith in God to provide life. This is what comes from remembering the one and only true God, when surrounded by idolaters. Jonah’s prayer ends with the determined commitment of a martyr to sacrifice himself for God’s service. (2:8-9), which is another reason why Jesus uses Jonah as a prophecy of his own resurrection, Matthew 12:39-40. The first reason is his complete immersion by water into his own death for 3 days, the second reason here is his sacrificial motive in his own voluntary death, as he praises God in gratitude for his powerful mercy. Idolaters do not have access to this attitude of gratitude while facing any kind of trouble, temptation or trial. They can not taste of the Lord’s mercy & grace. However, the next passage is all about how idolaters can be given repentance, and once they do repent, then access is granted to a new life.
Three Facts Sinners Should Be Shown To Help Them Repent: 2nd Tim. 2:25.
- The Truth In Action; Jonah showed Nineveh urgency, “he went immediately”, 3:3. God’s word was more than just an “announcement” of impending doom. The Lord’s message included the reason for impending doom, “because their wickedness has come to my attention”, 1:2. His urgency would have included the obvious explanation of why the judgment was coming, and all the definitions of WHO was judging, WHY wickedness got God’s attention, and WHAT wickedness is! The term wickedness is personified; it is pictured as ascending heavenward into the very presence of God. This figuratively depicts how God became aware of their evil, as if it had ascended into heaven right into his presence. The Hebrew word for “has come up before me.” Shows the term לְפָנָי (lfanay, “before me”) can mean “in the full cognitive knowledge of” or “in the full mental view” of someone, see, Gen. 6:13, Isa. 65:6, Jer. 2:22., The use of the verb עָלָה (ʿalah, “to ascend”) complements this idea; it is sometimes used to describe actions or situations on earth that have “come up” into heaven to God’s attention, so to speak (see Ex. 2:23, 1Sam. 5:12, 2Kgs 19:28, Psa. 74:23) The point is that God was fully aware of the evil of the Ninevites. Jonah would bring this truth to them clearly!
- The Redemption Is Real; Jonah showed his own repentance, putting value in 40 days of mercy. As the clock is counting publicly, people are believing God’s word because Jonah is able to prove physically that he was shown mercy. How would we look, if we had been through death in the belly of a sea creature? The very fact that he is alive and able to preach God’s mercy towards himself is making their own access to this redemptive mercy is really available. Regardless of Jonah’s actual appearance, his message of 40 days of mercy can be likened to the mercy offered to Jews during John the Immersionists ministry (Matthew 3:5 & Luke 3:3) where masses of people were affected & forgiven. How do we show and tell God’s mercy in our life?
- The New Life Is Glorious; Jonah’s preaching was so valiant and persuasive, even the King put repentance as a priority that had fasting joined within it, 3:6-7. This is glory (the brilliant effect or powerful influence of God’s word to benefit worldly people). This generation of Nineveh will stand in judgment on the last Day against the generation in Christ’s ministry, Matthew 12:41.