Imagine God telling you to go to Las Vegas and walk the streets telling the people, “In forty days, Las Vegas will be overthrown.”
Imagine walking down the sidewalk in front of the MGM Grand Hotel where the golden lion sits guarding the entrance to the great casino, wearing nasty clothes, and smelling like fish guts and seawater, the results of being swallowed by the great fish. You walk through the crowd of well-dressed business people, flashy dressed gamblers, prostitutes, and comfortably-dressed tourists.
“In forty days, Las Vegas will be overthrown.” You don’t tell them to repent. In fact, you would
rather they didn’t.
God sent Jonah to Las Vegas. Well, okay then, Nineveh. The people of Nineveh believed Jonah and God. The king of Nineveh proclaimed a fast and ordered the people to cry out to God, so that God would change His mind and not destroy the city.
Sure enough, it worked. God made a liar out of Jonah. God forgave them. Jonah knew God would do that, because God is kind and compassionate, full of mercy and it made Jonah mad when God didn’t destroy them.
Jonah said, “This is exactly what I thought you’d do, Lord. . . For I knew you were a gracious God, merciful, slow to get angry, and full of kindness; I knew how easily you could cancel your plans for destroying these people.” Jonah 4:2 Living Bible.
In Jonah’s great desire to see the people of Nineveh wiped off the face of the earth, he had forgotten that God had specifically called Israel to be a light, to reveal God to the world. Jonah’s problem was that he was patriotic; he believed God’s mercy and love was exclusive to the country of Israel. Jonah had forgotten that the people of Nineveh were people just like him, in need of God’s mercy and grace.
God loved the people of Nineveh and He loves the people of Las Vegas, too, just like He loved Jonah and He loves us all.