Jonah 3: 4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. 5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. 6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. 9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? 10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
Do you know someone who constantly changes their mind? Some people never make plans at all. Some say they’ll do something the first of the year but then keep putting it off. They change their minds. There is such a thing as perilous procrastination. Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
It takes a lot to change the mind of God. When people get to the point of repenting—a change of heart, mind, and direction—they admit their failures to God and seek forgiveness. The only way for that to happen is to make a change. Brother Steve always says that about getting saved—“I made a change.” He was up in years when he got saved. Guess what happened when he did. God changed toward him. He forgave him of his sins.
We are not dependable. In our service to God we don’t always do it right. We set our minds to do something else. I’ve heard some get up in church and say that nothing could make them change their minds about following God and then before long they have turned from God. Every day is a conscious choice to follow God. The devil wants to change our ways away from God and toward him. If we get slack on our living we won’t have victory. Jesus is the one who gives us victory over the devil. We are to walk in the light not in the darkness. It’s our nature to be changeable. We need to ensure we follow the Lord each day.
Can God change his mind? Yes! We have to look at this scripture closely. Evidently Jonah was following the Lord already. He had obeyed but this time God spoke, told him to go to Nineveh, and he refused. Nineveh was a wicked city. It still is. Back then it was the capital of Persia, now Iran. Jonah was to go the capital, walk down the streets, and speak the words that God would destroy them in 40 days. God set his mind to do this because of their sin. Jonah wasn’t told to take a bunch of people with him and carry some signs. God just wanted Jonah to do it.
God is always with us. We feel it more when we’re alone. Day to day we don’t have our brothers and sisters with us. We face things with God. All the people of Nineveh were against God and they would be against Jonah. We face the devil each day even if we’re at home. The world tells us we can’t change, that we’re defeated, and that we might as well give up.
Jonah wouldn’t go. God got hold of him. We know the story. He changed his mind and went to Nineveh. He preached the message of God without fear. He told them God’s judgment would come in 40 days. Why was God waiting 40 days? He was willing to spare them if they repented. Jonah gave the message and then went up on the hill and sat down waiting for God to fry them all. Have you ever sat in Jonah’s lounge chair? Well, it is possible for people to change. God doesn’t change some things. The rule is those who don’t repent will pay for their sins in hell. God is willing to change his mind and save souls when they are willing to change and move toward him. You won’t have to suffer judgment if you change your mind and turn to God.
It’s good for us to repent every day. We may not even know what we’ve done. Each night when I pray I ask God to forgive me of anything that might be between him and me. It’s good to know God’s mind toward us has changed. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? This is what the king said in verse 9. He told everyone they needed to repent. Think about what would happen in our nation if everyone did that. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Washington repented like Nineveh did? It can happen to anyone who will change their mind and turn toward the Lord. Verse 10 says and God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. For 180 years after this Nineveh was a city that followed God. Then they began to drift from God.
Can God change his mind? He won’t change his mind on what sin is. If he said something is a sin, it’s still a sin. He does say that to be spared from his judgment we need to change our ways. When we turn to him, he will change and move toward us. James told us to draw nigh to God and he would draw night to us. Let’s follow Brother Steve’s example. We can change and that brings about a change in God.