And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. (Jonah 3:4-5)
The prophet Jonah, whose name means ‘dove’ or ‘pigeon’, was anointed by God with such power in the words He spoke, and yet often we think only of the big fish! The story of Jonah reluctantly prophesying over Nineveh for their salvation from destruction is intriguing.
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” (Jonah 1:1-2)
At first He did not want to obey this mission, with storms and being swallowed by a fish used by God to get him back on track. When He did enter this great city, one whose people were an enemy of Israel (and thus Jonah), the anointing God placed on the words He spoke was such that a whole city of 120,000 plus people turned to God repented in a day.
And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them…….
Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. (Jonah 3:4,5,10)
The Lord revealing to Nineveh and Jonah His will to show great mercy on the people He has made due to their blindness, and despite their wickedness, for there was no apparent help for them. The real story here is the sovereign mercies of God, and the chance He gives us to repent, and His provision, through words He speaks by the dove prophets…for they speak of a reconciling peace, and God provides help when there is none.
And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?” (Jonah 4:11)
This ‘pity’ of God had as its greatest revelation our salvation through Christ Jesus, upon whom the dove of the Holy Spirit did alight, who came with a simple but profound message, repent for the kingdom of God has come, and I am the only and only door to that kingdom. Surely if repentance does not come, the judgement on the kingdom of the world will do so. So in many ways Jonah pointed to Christ, a fact confirmed by the Lord, even stating his life (like that of true prophets) was a sign of God, a testimony to Jesus.
And he (King Jeroboam II) did evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin. He restored the territory of Israel from the entrance of Hamath to the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which He had spoken through His servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet who was from Gath Hepher. For the Lord saw that the affliction of Israel was very bitter; and whether bond or free, there was no helper for Israel. (2 Kings 14:24-26)
This prophet of mercy was revealed also to the Israelites where Jonah lived. During the time of an evil king and those who followed his ways, because of His will and not their action, God showed great mercy, and brought them victory against a greater enemy, even redeeming the land. And yet it does not seem that this caused them to turn their hearts, unlike the Gentiles of Nineveh. And sadly, the nation of Israel did eventually fall, as repentance does need to follow such acts of mercy, and a heart turned to God daily.
And yet God’s will is to raise up these dove prophets, who despite their piercing sight like a bird of prey (able to soar above the situation to see from God’s perspective), come with a message of repentance (and warning), to reveal God’s mercy, and to give His pity a chance for our salvation. Such prophet moving in great power of the Word, like John the Baptist, in the anointing of the Holy Spirit. These point to Christ, and carry the messages of His heart for us to turn to avoid destruction.
These prophets have largely remained hidden, and perhaps found themselves hard pressed on every side, as the Lord makes in them a deep and mature drink in the wine press of life. Jonah lived in a place called Gath Hepher, which can be interpreted to mean the hidden wine press, a place of seeking. This town not far from the childhood place of Christ (Nazareth). The suffering and trials of God are the training grounds for such prophetic authority.
So come you dove prophets it is time to arise, great wickedness does prevail, but the Lord sends you to cities like New York, Paris, London, Melbourne, Brisbane, to declare to them destruction is coming soon, and yet if they repent this can be avoided. Others are sent to His church, carry words that see redemption despite the wickedness of its leaders. All part of His preparation for His return, and as a revelation of His great mercy, and unmerited favour.