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The Softening of a Calloused Heart

Updated: May 16, 2023

God could have called any other prophets but He went after Jonah to preach against the Ninevites. We read about the Ninevites' wickedness through the book of Nahum and at the very end of Nahum 3:19, we're left with these words: "for who has not felt your endless cruelty?"

Surely, Jonah must've been one of the many who have experienced the Ninevites' wickedness. But why did he run when God called him to preach against it?

Maybe this entire story isn't about the sailors turning from their idols, or the Ninevites' but a story of God softening the calloused heart of His servant, Jonah.

The word of the Lord came to Jonah again "Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you." (Jonah 3:2)

Jonah obeyed the Lord and started his journey to Nineveh. Jonah was sent by God to share a message to the wicked. Throughout scripture, we know God's words are transformative. His words create, transform, destroy, and renew. Scripture does not state which words God had given Jonah prior to the trip.

'The message I give you', is not the same as 'the message I gave you'. God had not yet given Jonah the words to say in Nineveh. Jonah 1:2 "Go to the great city of Nineveh, and preach against it" (NIV Zondervan 2020), in King James Version on the Bible Gateway site, it is written that God asked Jonah in 1:2 to cry against the city, and in 3:2, to "preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee". The words were not yet given to Jonah.

Three days and three nights, Jonah sought the Lord in the belly of Sheol.

Now here he was, called by God to spend three days through Nineveh.

Behind every person's anger or hate is pain.

Oh how heavy was Jonah's pain.

How unbearable it must've been.

The weight of a heavy heart, suffering heart.

God could have called any other prophets but He went after Jonah.

The Shephard left the ninety nine and went after the runaway prophet.

His rod and staff, the violent storm, the fish, the leafy plant comforted Jonah.

God went after him because he wanted to do a deeper work in him.

Jonah's story is a reminder of how God uses everything in our lives.

Every disappointment.

Every pain.

Every single emotion for our good and for His Kingdom.

Jonah was sent to Nineveh, back to the people who hurt him to deliver God's message.

Try remembering a time when God asked you to do something for someone who hurt you. How did you feel?

Within a day's journey into the city, Jonah told the Ninevites:

"Forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown."

Everyone who heard this from Jonah the prophet, believed those as God's words. Shortly, Jonah's cries reached the King who like the sailors, started calling onto God, and asking for forgiveness. He proclaimed a fast throughout the entire land, and told the Ninevites to turn their ways. All this was done in hopes to receive mercy from God.

The sailors, the non believer who once worshiped idols, turned to God so they did not perish. God listened to their cries and answered them.

Jonah, the servant of the Lord who ran away from God, looked again toward His holy temple. God listened to his cry and answered him.

The Ninevites, whose cruelty was felt by everyone, and whose wickedness came up before the Lord, repented from their evil ways and turned to God. God saw what they did and answered them.

They were all sinners who did wrong in the eyes of the Lord.

Yet, when they turned to Him, He had mercy on them.

We're all humans, who sin in the eyes of God.

Yet, He continuously shows us mercy when we turn to Him.

He makes it so that our sins no longer define us.

For no one is righteous, not even one.


As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Are my sins lesser than those of my tormentors?

Nahum 3:19, Jonah 1:2, NIV and KJV, Bible Gateway

The Found Sheep


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