All through Scripture, the prophets received a message from God to pass along to His people. By the Spirit, God still gives messages to His people by the Spirit and anchored in the canon of Scripture. Sadly, many (even those who identify as God’s people). Jonah received a message from God telling him to go to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, and tell them that they have violated God’s standard. Nineveh is located in modern day Mosul in Iraq.
God had a heart for Nineveh. Four times in Jonah, he calls Nineveh “that great city” (1:2; 3:2, 3:3; 4:11). Nineveh had demonstrated their abject wickedness, especially against Israel, over the centuries. In fact, they had overcome the Northern Kingdom in 722 BC and absorbed the ten tribes of Israel into their kingdom—bringing about a new people, the Samaritans, who were an object of derision by Jesus’ day. During Jonah’s day, they struggled with famine and other challenges that some believe made them believe they were outside of favor with some deity. The population of Nineveh was approximately 120,000.
Jonah did not want to go, as the text tells us. Jonah did not want to see God’s favor extend to another. God’s prophecies were for God’s people, as he himself experienced. In 2 Kings 14:23-27, God gave Jonah a prophecy of mercy to his own people who did not deserve this.
Will You Pray High When Life Goes Low? Part II–The Gospel According to Jonah (Jonah 1:17-2:10) (Video)