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Repenting, relenting

Explore God's Word Daily
Explore God's Word Daily

On March 30, 1863, US President Abraham Lincoln called the whole country to a day of repentance, confession, and fasting. He told Americans: “We have forgotten God”. He reasoned that the civil war ravaging the country might be a judgment from God for the sins of the nation, intended to bring national reformation. And in this, Lincoln had much in common with the ruler of Nineveh...

A city repents

Read Jonah 3 v 6-9

  • - Why does Nineveh's king urge national repentance, a huge turning back to God (v 9)
  • - How serious is the king about this (v 7-8)?

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TIME OUT

The Ninevites provide us with a great example of genuine repentance.

  • - What does it involve?

The outward signs (v 7-8a) of the inward reality (v 8b) may look different in various times and cultures. But we must beward of the idea that repenting means just saying a quick sorry.

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God relents

Read verse 10

  • - How does God respond to this city's heart-felt repentance?
  • - What do we learn here about what God is like?
  • - How have we already seen these qualities of the LORD played out in the lives of the sailors, and of Jonah himself?

We've seen Jonah disobeying and running from Nineveh. We've seen him obeying and going to Nineveh.

  • - What has God used both Jonah's obedience and his disobedience to do? What does this tell us about God?

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TIME OUT

Deuteronomy 18 v 20-22 says that a prophet who predicts the future falsely is a false prophet, worthy of death. And what Jonah said would happen (v 4) hasn’t happened! Should he now be facing death? Read Jeremiah 18 v 7-8 to see why he is, in fact, a true prophet of the compassionate God.

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PRAY

Think again about what you’ve seen in Jonah about who God is. Thank Him for His character. Pray that who He is to His world would shape who you are in His world.

In these verses, a whole city repents. It can happen! Pray boldly now for your city, town or village. Ask that God would use His people to call each resident to repentance, and that they would miraculously respond.

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This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from The Good Book Company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.

Click here and enter the code bstexplore60 when you check out to get the next quarter’s Explore for $5.84, a 10% discount.

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Keep a record of what God is teaching you with "My Bible" at BibleStudyTools.com

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Originally published November 09, 2012.

Read more Christian blogs at Christianity.com.  You can read blogs about church history, Bible characters, theology,  apologetics, and much more.  Discover study tips on learning the Bible.  Learn new truths about all 66 books of the Bible.

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