Discussion Questions to follow
1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you.” 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three days’ walk. 4 Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 5 Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. 6 When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes. 7 He issued a proclamation and it said, “In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. 8 “But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. 9 “Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.” 10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.
Nahum 3:1-4 (Description of Nineveh)
1 Woe to the city of blood, full of lies, full of plunder, never without victims! 2 The crack of whips, the clatter of wheels, galloping horses and jolting chariots! 3 Charging cavalry, flashing swords and glittering spears! Many casualties, piles of dead, bodies without number, people stumbling over the corpses— 4 all because of the wanton lust of a prostitute, alluring, the mistress of sorceries, who enslaved nations by her prostitution and peoples by her witchcraft.
Matthew 3:2, 8-10
2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
8 “Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; 9 and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. 10 “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
1 Thessalonians 1:9
For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God.
12 “Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; 13 and rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil. 14 Who knows whether He will not turn and relent and leave a blessing behind Him, even a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God?
Jeremiah 18:7-10 (National)
7 “At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; 8 if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. 9 “Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; 10 if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it. 11 “So now then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds.”‘ 12 “But they will say, ‘It’s hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’
Jeremiah 26:2-3, 12-13, 19
2 “Thus says the LORD, ‘Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak to all the cities of Judah who have come to worship in the LORD’S house all the words that I have commanded you to speak to them. Do not omit a word! 3 ‘Perhaps they will listen and everyone will turn from his evil way, that I may repent of the calamity which I am planning to do to them because of the evil of their deeds.’
12 … “The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that you have heard. 13 “Now therefore amend your ways and your deeds and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will change His mind about the misfortune which He has pronounced against you…
19 “Did Hezekiah … not fear the LORD and entreat the favor of the LORD, and the LORD changed His mind about the misfortune which He had pronounced against them? But we are committing a great evil against ourselves.”
Ezekiel 18:23-32 (Personal)
23 “Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord GOD, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live? 24 “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and does according to all the abominations that a wicked man does, will he live? All his righteous deeds which he has done will not be remembered for his treachery which he has committed and his sin which he has committed; for them he will die. 25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not right.’ Hear now, O house of Israel! Is My way not right? Is it not your ways that are not right? 26 “When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and dies because of it, for his iniquity which he has committed he will die. 27 “Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life. 28 “Because he considered and turned away from all his transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die.
29 “But the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not right.’ Are My ways not right, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are not right? 30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct,” declares the Lord GOD. “Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you. 31 “Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live.”
17 “Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me. 18 “When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 “Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself. 20 “Again, when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I place an obstacle before him, he will die; since you have not warned him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand.
21 “However, if you have warned the righteous man that the righteous should not sin and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; and you have delivered yourself.”
Amos 7:3, 6
3 The LORD changed His mind about this. “It shall not be,” said the LORD.
6 The LORD changed His mind about this. “This too shall not be,” said the Lord GOD.
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
Luke 11:29-32 (Matthew 12:39-41*; 16:4)
29 As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked (and adulterous*) generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now something greater than Jonah is here.
23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.
1 Timothy 1:13-16 (Paul)
13 … I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. 15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.
1 Timothy 2:3-6
… God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all…
Acts 8:1, 3
1 Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles… 3 But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison.
Acts 22:4-8 (*Acts 9:4-5; 26:14-15)
4 “I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, 5 … and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished. 6 “But it happened that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me, 7 and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, *’Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ 8 “And I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’
1 Corinthians 15:9 (*Philippians 3:6 – persecuted the church)
For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
Galatians 1:13, 23
13 For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it.
23 … they kept hearing, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.”
- What does Jonah 3 tell us about God?
- How does Nineveh’s response affect what God said He was going to do? What evidence was there that the people of Nineveh were really repenting? What is involved in genuine repentance? Compare what John the Baptist taught in Matthew 3:1-10.
- What does Joel 2:12-14; Jeremiah 18:7-10, 26:1-19; Ezekiel 18:23-32; 2 Peter 3:9 tell us about God’s desire for people?
- What does Jonah 3 teach us about the need and value to warn others?
What does Ezekiel 3:17-21 say about this?
- What do you think Jonah must have thought and felt when he saw wicked Nineveh believe in God and repent when his own people, who were supposed to be God’s people, refused to do so?
- What kind of warning do Luke 11:29-32 and Matthew 11:23-24 give to us that claim to belong to God’s people? Why would it be more tolerable for the horribly wicked people in Sodom and Gomorrah than for those who lived in Capernaum (Jesus’ home town during His ministry)?
- Look at Paul’s life and testimony in 1 Timothy 1:12-16; Acts 8:1, 3; 22:4-8; 1 Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:13, 23. What does Paul believe his experience tells us about God? Compare 1 Timothy 2:3-6 & Romans 5:6-11.