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We have here the Lord again calling Jonah to the service of preaching to the men of Nineveh. The Prophet executeth the commission. And this Chapter records the effect.
Reader! I pray you observe the grace and condescension of the Lord in again calling Jonah to this service. Was it because the Lord had no other servant to employ? that is impossible. But because the Lord will send by whom he will send. Methinks here is a sweet and gracious lesson for ministers. How condescending is it in the Lord to employ any; and more especially such as have before slighted, or run from his service, and done the work of the Lord negligently, Malachi 1:13-14 .
According to all historians, this city was greater than Babylon, and yet in gross darkness respecting divine things. Reader! think of the mercies of our land! And then stand amazed at the wonderful subject of our abuse of them, and the Lord's forbearance! I admire the faithfulness of Jonah. See how the Lord can, and the Lord doth, and will, strengthen his people!
What! But the sovereign grace of God could have induced such effects! What nation, what kingdom or people shall we look to, for similar humblings, at the preaching of a poor despised Prophet? Do we not see in it the Lord's Almighty hand disposing all orders of the people to this conduct!
Who but must admire and adore the goodness and mercy of the Lord in this pardon to Nineveh. The change here mentioned is not in the Lord's mind, but in the Lord's providence. What is said through all the scriptures concerning the Lord's repenting of what he had before said he would, and doing it not, is meant to show the change by his grace wrought in man, and not the least, change in himself. See this doctrine more fully explained in my Commentary on Genesis 6:6 and Jeremiah 18:7-10 .
READER! mark with me the wonderful properties of grace, both in the heart of the Prophet and of the people. See the change in Jonah! behold the change in the Ninevites. What cannot God accomplish, when by the sovereign act of his love he inclines the sinner's heart, and turns the whole tide of the affections back again.
But here, Reader, as in all other instances, do not forget to behold the blessed cause in the provision made for Prophet, Priest, and People, in the person, and by the one all-sufficient sacrifice, of the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. To this, and this alone, God hath respect in all his dispensations, both in providence and grace. It is for Jesus' sake sin is pardoned, and the sinner forgiven and received into favor. Christ is both the mercy seat, and propitiation; and we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Jonah 3". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany