This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” Jonah 3:7-9 (NIV).
Imagine what could happen in our world if Joe Biden stood up at a podium and announced a proclamation like this. Imagine the real, meaningful changes that might take place if he, or any leader, actually made a statement like the king of Ninevah did. Sadly, we’ll have to imagine it because it isn’t likely to happen. Let’s be real: we shouldn’t expect that kind of thing from our leaders.
But that’s the beauty of this proclamation, you see. Jonah didn’t expect it of the king either. The nobles who served the king didn’t expect it. Neither did his subjects. Neither did the high priests of whatever pagan religion prevailed in Ninevah. Neither did the king’s allies or enemies. Nobody would have expected the leader of the most wicked city in the world to announce citywide repentance for their wickedness, throwing themselves on the mercy of God.
Read up on your Bible and you’ll find God does unexpected things like this all through history. Sure, that’s a clichéd term, a hackneyed idea that God does miraculous things through sinful people. That God uses the unexpected things in our world to do miracles. But it is true and you know it to be true. Stuttering Moses led Israel out of slavery. Fleeing Elijah went back to confront Ahab. Ancient and barren Sarah gave birth to a son. Balaam’s donkey was the only one who spoke peace to him. Five loaves and two fishes fed thousands. Jesus was murdered on the cross but came back to life just like He said He would.
Nobody expected those things to happen; we don’t often expect miracles. Yet worldly miracles occur everyday courtesy of God’s grace despite what we think. And the most amazing ones of all are the tiny, usually unnoticed miracles that occur when we humble ourselves before Him and repent. When we change from the inside out because He’s changing us. Without Jesus’ salvation, life is a spiritual death trip. With Jesus, it is a parade of unending miracles. The king of Ninevah looked at the life he’d led, then he looked at what God had said, and he humbled himself so the miracle could follow.
If the sinful leader can change, so can we. Even Joe Biden.
For further reading: Jonah 3:10
Lord Jesus, I’m sorry for my sins. Forgive me. Only You can forgive and save me.
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