I just finished reading the book of Jonah. We’re all familiar with the story of Jonah running from God and being swallowed by a large fish. What intrigued me more than the story of Jonah’s time in the belly of the fish is what happened to the people of Nineveh. A reluctant prophet-preacher calls the city to repentance and a miracle takes place.
As sounds of repentance filled the streets, the king of Nineveh heard what was taking place. He stepped down from his throne to join his people in a fast of repentance. The Lord saw the sincerity of the citizens and the king of Nineveh and did not carry out a plan of destruction He had announced as punishment for their evil ways. In a single day a city was saved, a city so large Scripture tells us it would take three days to explore its expanse.
Many have prophesied that the Lord can save a nation in a day quoting the prophet Isaiah, “Who has ever seen anything as strange as this? Who ever heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment?” (Isaiah 6:8). The context of this verse is the birthing of a child. Repentance is not about refurbishing something old. It is about the birth of something new, something so new that it has never been seen before.
In our present generation, we have not seen such a thing take place where a city or a nation is born again in a single day. Many have assumed it could not be possible that a mayor or a president or a prime minister would hear sounds of repentance in their streets and step down from a position of power to join their people in a fast of repentance.
Why have we not believed this is still possible? Maybe it is because we have allowed our unbelief to blind us to the possibility of miraculous intervention by God. In our unbelief, we have forgotten that God can do abundantly above and beyond all that our faithlessness has assumed was impossible.