“And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (Jonah 3:1-4).
This is an amazing story about the wonderful revival that God gave to Jonah and Nineveh. This revival is not only the greatest revival in the Bible, but also in the history of mankind.
The word of the Lord came to Jonah and the Lord said to Jonah, “I want you to go to the great city of Nineveh and cry against their sins”. Nineveh was an idolatrous city. This was not a city that served God. This city had no history of love for God or the even the things of God. It was a heathen idolatrous, fish-worshipping city. It was the capital of a heathen nation but God called Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach. However, Jonah did not go to Nineveh; he went in the opposite direction. (That’s how we know he was a Baptist.) He went down to Joppa and caught a ship on its way to Tarshish but there was turmoil on the ship. A storm was brewing and they cast lots and found it was Jonah’s fault and Jonah was cast out of the boat. As a result, a giant fish swallowed Jonah and he lived in the belly of that fish for three days and three nights.
Then the Bible says that the Word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time. It is a lot easier to hear the Word of the Lord in the fish’s belly! Jonah responded this time to the Word of God. He then goes to Nineveh and preaches the greatest revival ever held.
Preachers have preached about the twenty wasted years of Jacob. Because of his deception of his brother Esau and how it was recommended to Jacob by his mother that he fled the land and go back to the old home land and wasted twenty years.
We lament over the ten wasted years of Naomi and Elimelech when with their two sons they left their homeland because of a famine and went down to Moab. As a result Naomi, Elimelech, and their two sons left the will of God and went to forbidden Moab. The truth is it is just as wrong to drink liquor, as it is to move for money. Just like everybody else who just visits the world they ended up staying for ten long years. No one ever plans to be an alcoholic, an addict, divorced, end up in a rescue mission, or wreck their life living as a derelict. The sad truth is they stayed and wasted ten years.
We speak of the twenty wasted years of Jacob and the ten wasted years of Naomi and Elimelech! Yes, Naomi did come back but the folks back home did not even recognize her. The greatest beauty aid in the world is the beauty of obedience and sweet submission to God.
We speak about the wasted years of Abraham when he left the will of God for the same reason of a famine. He went to Egypt and wasted years of his life.
We speak of the nation Israel and their wasted forty years. They wasted forty years in the wilderness because they would not go into the Promised Land when God told them. We speak of Gomer’s wasted years in the book of Hosea because of her awful sin.
However, we are admonished in Psalm 92:40 to number our days and not our years. In Ephesians 5:16 it says, “Redeeming the time for the days are evil.” How about not focusing on the forty years of waste of the nation Israel in the wilderness, not at the one who wasted twenty years like Jacob, not at the ten years like Naomi and Elimelech wasted, or at the few years of waste by Abraham, but rather let us look on the waste that is measured in days?
Look at that evangelist, look at the crowds, look at the invitation, and look at the response. Wow, what a revival! The city of Nineveh was a city of 600,000 to 700,000 people. What a revival! The Scripture says from the greatest to the least of them were saved. That would be equivalent to the entire Ark-La-Tex (Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas) region, where I live, trusting Jesus Christ for salvation in one revival.
All of Nineveh believed on Christ. The King was saved and laid aside his robe and sat in sackcloth and ashes. That is not all; the king made a proclamation that everybody in the city cry unto God. That is not all; he made a proclamation that all the people sit in sackcloth and ashes. He actually proclaimed that even the animals had to put sackcloth and ashes on!
Every person in Nineveh not only was saved but they turned from their evil ways. Think about this! The Hugh Hefner’s of that day were saved and closed down their playboy clubs and started soul winning and caused people to be different outwardly as well as inwardly.
The adult bookstores of their day all closed down. The tavern owners of their day locked their tavern doors. They all turned from their evil ways, repented inwardly, repented outwardly! That meant that all of the NIV bibles of their day were burned.
That meant that all of the Hollywood whores and whoremongers of their day repented. That meant that all of the liberal preachers of their day were saved and became fundamentalists. That meant that every seminary of their day became a fundamental Baptist college. That meant that the school boards of their day were all saved and passed conservative dress codes for their schools.
That meant that the Supreme Court of their day brought the Scriptures back into their schools. That meant that abortion was considered murder, which it is! That meant the Rolling Stones of their day were all saved and quit their concerts and started singing Rock of Ages.
That meant that the city council of their day were all saved and they closed all of the gambling halls including Bingo at the local Catholic Church. That meant that not a female could be found wearing shorts or immodest clothing. That meant that the tobacco company of their day went out of business. That meant that crime stopped and the jails were emptied.
That meant that all of the congressmen were saved and voted prayer back into their public schools. That meant that no liberal could be found in the land. That meant that the Obama’s of their day quit their socialists’ agenda and pushed a soul winning agenda. That meant that no atheist could be found in the land. That meant that no contemporary worship services could be found in the land. That meant that no profanity was heard on the streets of Nineveh.
That meant that no cocktails, martinis, or alcohol of any kind could be sold or found in the land. The divorce courts were all closed, no dirty jokes, no daytime talk shows, and Dr. Phil went out of business. Dr. Laura went home and started baking cookies. Oprah went home and started baking and eating cookies.
This revival meant that the ministerial association and national council of churches of their day were dissolved, the UN of their day was shut down, the old time religion became the only religion, everybody went to church, and everybody believed in the preserved inspiration of their Scriptures.
That revival meant that the homosexuals of their day went straight to Calvary and kept on going straight. This revival meant that people got right with each other; no more malice or hatred. It meant that dirty magazines ceased to exist. Blockbuster went bust!
Every person as a result of the revival fell to his or her knees and was saved and then not only was right inwardly but also was right outwardly. Over 600,000 people were saved and then turned from their outward sin to God all at one time under the preaching of just one man! The greatest revival of all times in a city about the size of East Texas!
The average deaths, according to a recent survey I did with our local papers, are about twenty-five per day. If our area is similar in population to that of Nineveh then twenty-five deaths a day is a reasonable number for Nineveh. Think about this! Twenty-five deaths times five equals 125 deaths. This means that for the five days that Jonah was late 125 people died and probably went to Hell. One wasted day can result in someone dying and spending an eternity in Hell. That means that as you read this chapter (Jonah 3) those 125 who died during that five day delay of Jonah are still burning in Hell at this very moment in time and they will never get out!
The Bible calls Hell an everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. If there is a Heaven where folks walk on golden streets and live in mansions when they die then there must be also a Hell where people who do not trust Christ will go to and burn in forever and never leave.
While we enjoy all of the luxuries of our great nation, sit in our beautiful auditoriums, on padded pews, and with air conditioning these 125 people are still burning in Hell! All because Jonah was five days too late!
Add up all the soul winning days you missed just because you did not feel like going.
Add up all the soul winning days you missed because of the need to work overtime to buy things.
Add up all the soul winning days you missed sitting in worldly church because of a child that talked you into leaving a soul winning church.
Add up all the soul winning days you missed because you sat home being bitter or backslidden.
I wonder how many people will end up in Hell because some Christian just did not feel like going soul winning. I wonder how many people will be in Hell because of Christians who had to work on a Saturday to pay for THINGS. I wonder how many people will be in Hell because we let our rebellious children talk us into leaving our soul winning church for a dead liberal church. I wonder how many people will be in Hell because some Christian stayed home because he or she got her feelings hurt.
Notice something here! The Bible says that Nineveh was a city of three days journey. It says that after one day Jonah arrived there. He thought that fish was still chasing him so a three day journey took Jonah only one day. He saved two days! It is not too late to get with it in this area of soul winning. You can make up for time lost! So do it!