Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened. Jonah 3:3-10
Children know the story of Jonah and the whale. The miracle in the story was not that Jonah was swallowed by a big fish and thus saved, but that Ninevah, a large heathen city, believed God, repented from the least to the king, and as a result God’s wrath on the city was turned away for up to 150 years. Even the non-believing Ninevites repented of their evil ways, hoping that God would relent from his fierce anger. There was hope there, and that hope led even this heathen city to survival. How much more will God to for His people if they will humble themselves and pray, and turn from their wicked ways. This is true today as it was back then. If you are caught in wicked ways, repent and turn away now, while it is still today.