The Jonah Commission – Day Twenty-Eight
Day 28. WHEN REVIVAL COMES TO A CITY
Read Jonah 3:3-7. Here is the greatest ‘miracle’, ‘sign’, and ‘wonder’ of all – conversion! This is why, with Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, I have always believed that whatever greatness we attach to the Christ’s Ephesians 4 ministries as a whole, the Evangelist is surely the greatest! It says, ‘The Ninevites believed God’ – how astonishing! Note some outstanding marks of what God produced here:
- It issued in repentance (v.5,6) – a ‘putting off’ and a ‘putting on’ reflected in their change of clothing from smooth silks worn by the smug, to itchy sack-cloth worn by the desperate. Man says, ‘Image is everything’. God says, ‘Image is nothing!’ Turning from all that displeases God, and to a faith that embraces his saving Word and all that he wants for our lives, is all that really counts.
- It was universal (v.5), involving children and old people, though we might have exempted them. High and low, rich and poor, ‘wrinklies’ and pre-schoolers, ‘fat-cat’ businessmen and teenagers, all responded. The Gospel is a great leveller. It ends ‘celebrity status’ and levels us all. The effects of Jonah’s word were not just horizontal, touching large numbers emotionally and ephemerally, but vertical too, deeply penetrating minds, hearts, and wills. It touched every strata of society down to the most degraded, and up to the most jaded in their pleasure-seeking and affluence. This was God drilling down to the deepest seams of the human heart, and then mining them for gold!
- It was visible and radical (v.7b), modelled first by many citizens, then the Assyrian king himself. The King not only heard, he also preached Jonah’s message as well. A fact as astonishing as hearing that the Ayatolla of Iran had renounced Islam, along with his aggression, and believed in Christ. The king was now personally compensating victims of his rule from his accumulated billions held in Swiss bank accounts! They not only fasted food (difficult), but water too (dangerous)! An outer physical display of inner spiritual mourning.
- It led to life-changing action – Works of repentance, specifically the abandonment of idolatry, violence, injustice, cruelty and aggression. They saw that what counts for much in this world counts for nothing in the next one, and were glad to have it all ‘seized at customs’!
Dare to believe that God can do this again. Imagine the kind of things you would love to see happen to redeem London. Turn this to prayer.