God Repented

So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.  For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.  And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.  Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?  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.

Jonah 3:5-10

The simplest definition for the word “repent” is simply a change of mind or a change of direction or intention.  We usually hear about repentance dealing with salvation, but in these verses, it is God Who is doing the repenting.  He sent Jonah to the people of Nineveh with a simple message: “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.”  That message is short, simple and to the point.  Nineveh was a wicked place.  God had had enough of their wickedness.  God was going to destroy them.

I always found it interesting that the people of Nineveh repented and turned to Lord, crying out to Him and amending their ways, with no guarantee that He would even hear their cries.  The message was not “straighten up or I will destroy you.”  It was “I am going to destroy you.”  They realized that, whether the Lord would have mercy on them or not, He was their only chance.  They threw themselves on His mercy without even a promise or reason to hope.

We have promises.  We have written down promises in the Bible that, if we will turn from our evil and sin, the Lord will forgive us and have mercy on us.  But how many people continue to live defeated lives because they will not cry out for mercy?  The people of Nineveh exercised great faith in their actions.  How about us?

2 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks Ben,

    The Scriptures say His mercies are new every morning … Lord knows we need them!



  2. Ben, thank you so much for pointing that out. That is so true and most of us wouldn’t repent and turn around if we didn’t know for sure we’d get something for it. Wow! I love how He works and is for us, wanting to bless us and have mercy on us. We sure need it!
    God bless you as you keep us turning to Him each day!


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