Read Jonah 3:3-5. Jonah told them, ‘Time runs out in 40 days’. That’s very direct and specifically targeted. Jonah was still tacky with dried whale vomit, and wrapped in an eerie shroud of sea-weed and acid burns, smelling like ‘death warmed up’. Then he looked Nineveh in the eyes, and sounded as if the message was true because he had personally experienced it. Only the truths a man or woman has got from the Bible and verified in their own experience are the real measure of their power.

This message wasn’t complex or in flowery language. It’s just seven words in the NIV, and you don’t need a dictionary to define their meaning! Time really was ‘up’ for decadent and violent Nineveh, in less than six weeks. A school half-term. Less than a 1000 hours!  That’s ‘too soon’ isn’t it? Judgment is always ‘too soon’! But Jonah looked like he really meant it. He was in earnest. He had no fear of men, or what they might do to him now. – God was much scarier! 

Would you believe that message if it was announced tomorrow morning? Probably not, if some crank with a sandwich board or a megaphone on Oxford St. said it, or even a modern prophet. But this speaker was Jonah. He was a ‘sign’! A man back from the dead. Like Jesus, who also said similar things, when he told us it would be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah at the Day of Judgement than for whole cities who’ve jettisoned God’s word when it’s spoken to them. This was urgent. It still is. It requires us to be become urgent also

A pity then, that the Church doesn’t seem in a hurry anymore. But for those of us who still are, God may well press on us the importance of a whole city, and the message they most need to hear. Like Jonah we must cease caring whether or not we are liked, loved, accepted, or even wanted. Our primary responsibility is to God, his intentions for endangered ‘Nineveh’ (our London), and The Message they must hear. Cities are important. Important to God, and important to you, I hope. I’m glad God cares for cities. I live in one. Right smack in the middle of London, and feel a call to it. God loves cities. They concentrate evil to a great degree. Many Christians try to flee. Do you?

Ask God to awaken your care for London. Sin may be great there, but the potential for recovery and revival is just as great, if God goes to work there. Go to work with Him!