Jonah: Preaching and Repentance

Collin Selman
4 min readDec 15, 2022


Jonah 3:1–10


Chapter 1 was Jonah’s selfishness and God’s sovereignty. Chapter 2 was Jonah’s prayer and God’s response. Now, in this book all about God, we see how He uses even reluctant saints for his purposes.

Jonah’s Recommission (vs.1–2)

These verses directly parallel the first commission. How are the commissions different, though?

3:1–2 vs. 1:1–2 — We don’t know exactly when God would give his message to Jonah, Jonah (on the second go at least) had to take one step at a time.

God still did not reveal his whole plan to Jonah. Jonah had to rely on God for the message after he obeyed the first step. God often leads us step by step instead of revealing his whole counsel.

Why did God give Jonah a second chance? We serve a God of second chances, who disciplines and teaches us. God is persistent in using us reluctant saints.

“God’s recommission of Jonah was evidence of His forgiveness.” — Matthew Henry

And faithfulness to His servant I would add.

Have you ever forgiven someone and then changed your posture towards them? We serve a God who forgives us and then constantly pursues us to transform us into the image of His Son.

Jonah’s Message (vs.3–4)

Discipline has a way of correcting our mindset. And so Jonah, an enemy of Nineveh, was sent there to deliver God’s message.

Have you ever felt like you have received discipline from the Lord, recognized it, and changed course?

What would our strategy be for converting a whole city?

This whole scenario should remind us that God’s strategies are not ours.

Often we get caught up in the mechanics of how to obey God, but often we make it more complicated than it really is.

How do you think we make obeying God more complicated than it needs to be?

This word “overthrown” is the same word used in the reckoning of Sodom and Gomorrah. See Genesis 19:25, Lamentations 4:6, and Amos 4:11.

You also see “40” given as a number throughout the Bible as often associated with “testing, trial, or probation.”

“Jonah is sent to the streets instead of the king’s chamber.” — Matthew Henry

Do we ever box God in on how we want him to use us?

Nineveh’s Response (vs.5–9)

The people repented. The king even set an example. This is truly radical repentance that only God’s providence could have orchestrated.

What is repentance? What does repentance look like?

“Repentance appeals to God’s mercy, not His justice.” — Repentance is not a mechanistic payment of our sins, it is a process. Does repentance save us?

Repentance leads to salvation through Christ’s work. However, repentance is also a lifelong feature of sanctification until we reach glorification.

The Ninevite’s repentance consisted of: Sackcloth and ashes, Fasting, Crying to God, Turning from their evil ways

Psalms 51:17 and Isaiah 58:6

How do we react to condemnation? In repentance or justification?

How does this repentance compare to Jonah’s prayer in the last chapter? Who do we more often resemble?

The people were not sure of salvation, but they appealed to God’s mercy.

Eclipse of the sun happened possibly around this time (763 B.C.) and it’s also postulated that some of Nineveh’s military defeats occurred around this time which could have made them more receptive to Jonah’s message. Even if these are separate events some other time, it was clear God had prepared the Ninevites’ hearts for this message in a way that only he could.

What has happened in your life that only the hand of God could explain?

God’s Response (vs.10)

What does this say about who God is?

Jeremiah 18:7–8 and 2 Chronicles 7:14

God sees each repentance and turns away his judgment.

This is the God we serve. A God slow to anger, abounding in love.

Exodus 34:6 and Nehemiah 9:17

God used Jonah to bring the sailors to himself in Chapter 1 and now he used Jonah to bring the Ninevites to himself as well even while Jonah seemed to keep Him at arm’s length.

Do you feel like you ever have had a “wasted” season of your life? A time when you were far from God? Be encouraged that though you may have been far, God was still working in you and through you.

The Ninevites repented, but it was a short-lived repentance as some 200 years later God did destroy the city.

Numbers 14:18 and Nahum 1:3

How do we ensure our repentance “sticks”?




Collin Selman

A Christian, a husband, a father, a blue-collar intellectual, an engineer, a carpenter, a gardener, and who knows what else in the future.