“When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes.” (Jonah 3:6)
What an extraordinary picture this verse renders of the response of the king of Nineveh to the word of the Lord through Jonah. As :4 indicates, Jonah had proclaimed “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” How did the king respond to this word? Not with anger, skepticism, unbelief, or sarcasm — but humility and repentance. He took off his royal robes and wore sackcloth instead, and sat on ashes in mourning.
It should come as no wonder to us that when the leader of the nation of Assyria responded with such faith in the word of God, and in such humility and repentance, that the people of the land followed his example, and “turned from their wicked way” (:10) And it is also no wonder that God, being merciful, spared the nation when the leader, and then the people, showed sincere repentance. It is the very character of God to grant mercy when such are demonstrated.
But this is not merely a history lesson. Judgment is surely coming upon our land for its rebellion against God and His word — just as it was coming upon Nineveh in Jonah’s day. But there is hope for us as there was for them: God is merciful, and He will give grace to those who humble themselves before Him.
Thus it should be the fervent prayer of each Christian citizen of our nation that our leadership would respond similarly to the word of God: not with skepticism, sarcasm or unbelief — but with genuine humility and repentance. May OUR president, and other elected and appointed leaders, lay aside their pride and mourn their sin, seeking the mercy of God — and may each citizen of our land do the same.