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The Heart of God in the Heart of the Sea

Devotion Sixteen

April 22, 2024

That Great City

Daniel Barta

As in the beginning of the story, God's Word came to Jonah (Jon 3:1). The LORD spoke to Jonah a second time, and once again He emphasized two matters of importance.

God considered Nineveh a great city.

Roughly 120,000 men and women called Nineveh home (Jon 4:11), each knitted together in their mother's womb by the hand of the LORD. Each cared for and sustained by their Creator. In the eyes of the LORD, Nineveh was a great, important, significant city.

God sent Jonah to "call out against" the people.

The message served as an announcement of pending judgment and doom. Their evil and sinful deeds rose up before God. Until this time, He patiently endured much wickedness from them according to His patience. But the day in which He would demonstrate His justice laid in the future just a little over a month away.

And [Jonah] called out, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. - Jonah 3:4

Unlike in the first instance, Jonah responded to the word of the LORD by obeying.

Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. - Jonah 3:3

God Values Men and Women Enough to Call Out Against Them

In spite of all their evil, wickedness, and human right violations, God placed value on their heads. He did not treat them as beasts, even though they often acted like them. As a matter of fact, God later pointed out that Jonah placed too little value on the people of Nineveh (Jon 4:10-11).

How did God treat these whom He valued? He sent them a prophet - a messenger - to make them aware of their sin and guilt. He sent them a warning. He dealt kindly with them by addressing their conduct, their sin, and their standing before the LORD their Judge.

Though they were mere men in hostile rebellion, enmity, and hostility toward Him, He loved them. He did not grow indifferent to them. He did not abandon them. He did not let them walk in error down the path of destruction without attempting to intervene. He did not stay inactive. Instead, He took action to pursue them with the truth.

The ultimate show of God's action to confront and love sinners whom He values issues forth from the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus, God's Son, came into the world to expose sin, confront sinners, and warn of judgment.

When the word about Christ is preached, man's sinful desires, thoughts, and actions become known. Even those hidden deep in the heart get uncovered. This exposure of sin and confrontation of the sinner serves to warn humanity of the judgment to come. God could leave sinners in their sin without taking action. But thankfully He chooses to speak honestly and truthfully to us about our sin because He values us.

Value Men and Women by Speaking Up.

Loving others requires our speaking up to expose sin and warn of judgment. Unfortunately, multiple factors often keep us silent. Here are just two to consider.


Our unwillingness to state the truth about sin and judgment often flows from a heart indifferent to the wellbeing of our fellow men and women. We are content to let each one lead his own life and reap his reward. We are often unmoved by our confessed belief that each man will stand before God and give account for their sins. We believe each man will give account but for many - especially those we see as the worst of sinners - we remain indifferent. As long as they stay over there and do not disrupt our lives, we stay apathetic and silent in an unwillingness to lovingly approach them about their condition.


We know that men and women do not always receive the exposure of their sin kindly. Though our hearts might truly pity the sinner, the fear that he might respond harshly, defensively, and aggressively often deters us from verbalizing his guilt. To speak up about sinful business practices may cost us a job. To expose perversity in the culture might leave us excluded from the social networks of which we long to enter. To state your belief that certain acts are against God may cause your family walking away from you. It is understandable why we often fail to deliver the truth we have been given.

Whether its indifference or fear that threatens to keep us silent, failure to confront sin and warn of judgment is a failure to love and show mercy. If indeed we value men and women as God does, let us speak up with boldness so that men and women might come to a knowledge of the truth, repent, and be saved.

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