"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so." -Acts 17:11

This is a study outline that will direct you, but it will not do your thinking for you. The purpose of this style is to encourage you to do a good deal of leg work in your own bible. Read the passage and the opening statement. Understand the text and its context. Read each question, then look at the lettered (A, B, C, etc.) thought. Look at each of the numbered, supporting references to get the full meaning of the thought. Follow the logic yourself before reading the concluding statement. Finally, give this study legs of its own by putting it into practice in your life.

"God Loves Ninevites"    Jonah 1:1 & 2 (KJV)

"Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me."
The historical and prophetical books of the Old Testament are obviously focused on the nation of Israel. God had made a series of promises to their patriarchs that He would keep because of who He is, not who they were. Yet we see in several key events that Jehovah is not just the God of Israel. They were His chosen people, but He chose them as His vehicle for blessing all of the families of the earth. God is concerned about all of his creation, which is very obvious in Genesis and the New Testament, but he was not ignoring the rest of the world while he worked with the nation of Israel. In the book of Job we see a righteous man who was not in the bloodline of Jacob. And here, in the little book of Jonah, we see God sending His prophet to a wicked, gentile city. Jonah knew, feared and hated the Ninevites because they were blood thirsty and vicious pagans. Plus, he likely heard through the prophet Amos that these people would some day conquer and enslave his own countrymen. But God is not willing that any should perish. Let's have a look at what God has planned for the wicked city of Nineveh.
  1. Who did God call?
    1. A prophet of the northern kingdom of Israel
      1. v. 1 - Jonah means "dove", Amittai means "truth" - a dove of truth
      2. 2 Kings 14:25 - a recognized prophet from Gath-hepher
      3. Joshua 19:13 - Gath-hepher in Zebulun (Galilee) near Nazareth
    2. A prophet of God
      1. v. 1 - the word of the LORD came unto Jonah
      2. 2 Kings 14:25 - the LORD God of Israel spoke by this prophet
      3. 2 Kings 14:25 - God calls him His servant Jonah
  2. Where did God send?
    1. A great city
      1. v. 2 - that great city (large) [on the Tigris opposite Mosul, Iraq]
      2. ch. 3, v. 3 - exceeding great city (huge)
      3. ch. 4, v. 11 - over 120,000 small children, 600,000+ people
    2. A wicked city
      1. v. 1 - for their wickedness
      2. 2 Kings 19:36 - idol worshippers
      3. Amos 5:27 - beyond Damascus: enemies of God's people
  3. Why did God send?
    1. Because of their evil
      1. v. 2 - their wickedness has come up before me
      2. ch. 3, v. 5 - they believed that they deserved the wrath of God
      3. ch. 3, v. 9 - their guilt caused them to fear
    2. Because of His love
      1. v. 1 - go to Nineveh: God reached out
      2. v. 2 - cry against it: a warning, a chance
      3. ch. 3, v. 10 - and he did it not
That Nineveh was wicked, heathen and an enemy of God and Israel is stated and inferred any number of times. There was nothing about them that could possibly recommend them for favor in God's sight. Yet, God sent His prophet to call them to repentance. At the same time that God's own people were disobeying His commands and turning their back on Him, the Lord was using a prophet of Israel to offer salvation to a city of idol worshipers.

Who does God love? Does He love the people in the big fancy church in town who call Him Lord but ignore His Word? Does He love the billionaire who writes a check for three million dollars to help build a hospital wing? I don't know how He feels about them, but I know how He feels about Ninevites. God loves sinners and He is reaching out to them every day through the One He sent and through His Word.