God goes to great lengths to bring salvation. When Jonah finally concedes to God’s direction, he goes to the city of Nineveh with a message to its people: In 40 days, Nineveh will be overthrown!” This message was a warning that Nineveh was doomed for destruction because of its people’s wickedness. Jonah prepares to make a three-day walk through the city to share this message. But at just day one of Jonah’s travel and preaching through the city, the Ninevites who hear Jonah believe in God and receive God’s Message with sincerity. They realize their evil ways, they repent and they mourn for the sins they have committed. They are instantly changed and restored to God by His Word to them. Jonah’s preaching of the Message is quick and easy, but the journey leading toward this time proves the lengths that God will go to bring His message to people.
God reaches far lengths for the people of Nineveh. It is important for us to know that Ancient Nineveh was a city in Assyria, and enemy city of Israel. This helps us to better understand why Jonah did not want to bring God’s Message to Nineveh. He did not want God to reach them. But God remains persistent with His plan for the Ninevites. He follows Jonah – who takes a sea voyage in the direction opposite Nineveh, then throws himself to the sea and cowers in the belly of a fish for three days before finally agreeing to do God’s Will. This doesn’t even include the time and effort it takes Jonah to retrace his steps and travel to Nineveh before preaching God’s Message. God manages through many obstacles with his rebellious prophet to ensure that His Word is conveyed to Nineveh.
God’s reach is also wide. God reaches a people who had inflicted great harm on His own people Israel. He doesn’t choose to reach Nineveh because of their merits, but instead shows His mercy despite their sins. Also, God extends His reach to another person who has been against Him: Jonah. Why would an Almighty God wait on a prophet with a bad attitude in order to carry out His Will? Why doesn’t He just choose to use someone else, or speak directly to the Ninevites Himself? This is because God extends His reach to those who don’t deserve to be in relationship with Him. God sees and knows very well that both the Ninevites and Jonah need Him. And so, He is patient to reach both.
And what about us? God’s work to save the city of Nineveh foreshadows even greater lengths He goes to save humanity from sin through Jesus. His length spans the globe and across the centuries, and the reminder of His reach towards us invites us be pulled into His Presence.