A prophet’s obedience in the Bible

Published 7:50 pm Monday, October 28, 2019

remember growing up, our family would spend Thanksgiving in Atlanta. My dad would spend his days in the industrial district buying supplies for his electrical contracting business. My mom would spend her days in Rich’s and Davison’s shopping.

My sister and I would explore downtown; but we’d all meet at the S & S Cafeteria for lunch.

And we always made our way into the street with lots of other people to watch the lighting of the giant musical Christmas tree at Rich’s.

Maybe some of you remember it?

Later, I lived in Atlanta while I finished my final two years of college at “big” Emory, and along the way I met Mary Ella, who was a student at Emory.

We lived in Atlanta until I joined the Navy and we moved to Orlando. Atlanta was a big city when everything else was small… much like Nineveh in the story of Jonah.

“Once again the LORD spoke to Jonah. He said, “Go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to the people the message I have given you.”

So Jonah obeyed the LORD and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to walk through it. Jonah started through the city, and after walking a whole day, he proclaimed, “In forty days Nineveh will be destroyed.” (Jonah 3)

Atlanta is both a core city and a metropolitan city with four rings.

In 2018, the population of the core city was 498,000 and the population of the metropolitan area was 5,900,000 making it the 37th most populous city and the ninth most populous metropolitan area in the country. (Wikipedia)

Nineveh was “so large that it took three days to walk through it.”

The core city covered 1,900 acres enclosed by seven and a half miles of wall and was home to approximately 150,000 people, but the metropolitan area would have been much larger.

At it’s peak, Nineveh was the largest city in the world for about fifty years, until 612 BC when civil war in Assyria left it vulnerable. Then it was sacked by the surrounding countries leaving only the ruins (which are now part of the modern-day city of Mosul in Iraq), and the power of the Assyrian empire passed on to the growing Babylonian empire.

The book of Jonah describes Nineveh as great and large and evil without mercy, deserving destruction in spite of the name which means “gift of God.”

It was not a place Jonah, nor anyone else, might want to go.

Yet, when Jonah warned them about the consequences of their cruelty; they repented, fasted, cried out for mercy, and gave up their evil ways, so God forgave them… as he will forgive us if we repent, give up our evil ways and ask for mercy.