I pray this series on the “prayers of repentance” has been beneficial to you. It is imperative that we seek the Lord during these uncertain times. Our nation is clearly in trouble.
Americans are distressed, fearful, and anxious. Many voices, many directives, many opinions, and many solutions are being offered during this trying time. Most of them merely add to the confusion. It seems we are drawing from a delusional well as many Americans are desperate to get their lives and livelihood back up and running again.
Thankfully, there is another well available that we can draw from. Isaiah 12:3 points the way, “Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” Some may have trouble believing that our Lord and His Word provides solutions and guidance as we negotiate through the good, the bad, and the ugly of life, but He truly does.
Proverbs 19:21 assures us, “There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.” Our Lord Jesus Christ is the anchor that holds as the world is tossed to and fro like a drunken sailor on a stormy sea. Yet, He remains the eye in the storm.
Today, we are going to be investigating another prayer of repentance. Surprisingly, it is not from God’s people, but from a wicked, pagan city called Nineveh located in Assyria. This great city was steeped in goddess worship. They worshipped the Queen of Heaven, Ishtar.
This demonic deity was a part of the fertility sex cult that flourished in antiquity and is still alive and well in America today. Abortion is the bloody sacrament offered by the goddess worshippers in our day. The abortion industry are filled with women who practice this gory witchcraft at their temples (death camps). Bumper stickers like “The goddess is alive, and magic is in the air” abound amongst the workers of iniquity.
Temple prostitution, orgies, and child sacrifice were the norm amongst the heathen nations like Assyria that were bound by this idolatry. Assyria also had a reputation of being a cruel, brutal people. Accounts from history are startling. This is just one of them:
“I destroyed, I demolished, I burned. I took their warriors prisoner and impaled them on stakes before their cities. I flayed the nobles, as many as had rebelled, and spread their skins out on the piles [of dead corpses]. Many of the captives I burned in a fire. Many I took alive; from some I cut off their hands, from others I cut off their noses, ears and fingers; I put out the eyes of many of the soldiers.” (Time Frame 1500-600 BC by Time-Life Books) Assyrian War Bulletin (1000 B.C.)
The first mention of this notorious city is discovered in the book of origins. Genesis 10:8-10 records, “Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore, it is said, like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went to Assyria and built Nineveh…”
One of the most famous references of this city in the Bible, besides our Lord’s mentioning, (Matthew 12:39-41) comes from the book of Jonah. It is this citing that is featured in today’s “prayers of repentance” series. The name Jonah means “dove.” If you recall, the Holy Spirit fell on the Lord like a dove during John’s baptism (Matthew 3:16). Interestingly, one of the main operations of the Third Person of the Godhead, is to “convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8). In Jonah’s day, much to his chagrin, Nineveh, experienced conviction. More on that later.
Jonah proves that God can use a crooked stick to draw a straight line. At every turn in the saga between God, Jonah, and Nineveh, the prophet was less than cooperative. He resisted God’s will for his life and the mission he was sent to fulfill.
God called Jonah to Nineveh to “cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me” (Jonah 1:2). If you want to know what is happening to America look no further than this Biblical explanation. Our sins and abominations have reached heaven. Like most ministers today, Jonah, wanted nothing to do with confronting this pagan city in their abominations. He fled on a ship to Tarshish instead. Well, you can run, but you cannot hide.
God created a storm that placed the entire ship in jeopardy. Jonah’s neglect of duty placed the ship and all its passengers in grave danger. How does this apply today? Whenever the church neglects the ministry of being salt and light to the nations, it inadvertently places them in grave danger.
There is nothing to arrest, impede nor overcome man’s predilection towards immorality and its severe consequences that will surely follow in its depraved wake. Yes, there is pleasure in sin for a season. It does come to an end, however, and it never ends well, lest we repent.
At this juncture, it would be judicious to remind the Body of Christ of some inconvenient truths. The laws we have, the state of our government, and the culture we live in are God’s report card on the effectiveness of the church fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). I will leave it to your judgment to determine our grade before God.
Specifically, during a time of a holocaust, as in our day, the silent consent of God’s people and their inaction, always strengthens the oppressors and always prolongs the suffering of victims. This is the hard lesson of history.
God would not allow Jonah to skirt his responsibility. He prepared a great fish to swallow him. This calmed the seas, rescued the sailors, and gave Jonah time to consider his ways. From the belly of this fish, Jonah offered his prayer of repentance. He cried out to the Lord because of his affliction. There are two parts of the prayer that I want to emphasize. Both are critical to our nation’s future.
Jonah declared, “Those who regard worthless idols forsake their own Mercy. But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD” (Jonah 2:8, 9). God received what He was looking for and the fish spit out Jonah on dry land. Once again, the word of the Lord came to Jonah and this time he obeyed. He pronounced, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (Jonah 3:4)!
Does America deserve being overthrown any time soon? Well, are will still going to cling to worthless idols and forsake mercy? Are we going to continue in our national abominations that are bringing national calamity upon us? Are we in religious and nationalistic pride going to continue to deny salvation is of the Lord?
Our wealth, government, military might, and intelligence agencies cannot ultimately save us. God’s Word is clear on this matter, “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalms 127:1). No, salvation is found in the Lord and Him alone. All else are worthless idols who fascinate and then assassinate unsuspecting souls.
Whether we turn or not, Nineveh, the great city that was filled with idolatry, perversion, cruelty, and barbarism had the good sense to take heed to the Jonah’s warning. God’s Word records, “Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them” (Jonah 3:5). Here is the essence of the king’s prayer of repentance:
Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish (Jonah 3:7-9)?
Many people desire for God to bless America, while we languish in bloody perversions. The one and only blessing from God that America desperately needs today is found in the book of Acts. God’s Word states, “To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities” (Acts 3:26).
The Lord took note of Nineveh’s humility and their godly response. He saw them turn from their evil way and He had mercy upon them. He did not destroy them. You can read about Jonah’s objections to God’s mercy upon this cruel, perverted and idolatrous people in Jonah 4, but for our purposes now, I want to end emphasizing the character of the true and living God.
Jonah threw a temper tantrum when God pardoned Nineveh. He stated, “Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore, I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!” (Jonah 4:2, 3).
There is no doubt God is angry with our nation. We have betrayed him. We have committed high treason against the majesty of heaven. We have gone a whoring after other gods. We have legalized pagan abominations, such as, child sacrifice and paraded our sin like Sodom. We have taken His many blessings and squandered them on our lusts. On and on it goes as our national sins tower over our heads seeking to crush us. Yet, many Americans still refuse to blush, humble ourselves and turn from our evil ways.
Nineveh serves as a hope of what can happen, if our nation meets God’s conditions. A godly response in these challenging times could spare us more of God’s just judgments coming upon us.
Psalms reveal, “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalms 30:5).
Yes, the Lord can get angry and bring wrath upon men and nations, but it is tempered by the reality that His mercy endures forever. The Scriptures are clear on this. God’s anger is momentary, but His mercy lasts forever. Please keep this in mind as you intercede for yourselves, your family, the church, and our beleaguered nation.