God called upon the prophet Jonah to preach repentance to the people of the great city of Nineveh. Instead, Jonah disobeyed God and tried to run away to another land. God showed a great sign when He sent a big fish to swallow Jonah and return him to land. Once again Jonah was called by God to go preach in Nineveh. This time Jonah obeyed God's call and went to the great city. He began preaching God's message and the Ninevites listened and heeded the warning Jonah was giving them. The people were ready for repentance and revival.
When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh:
"By the decree of the king and his nobles:
Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish."
When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.
Jonah 3:6-10 (New International Version)
Jonah had a big job on his hands in preaching to Nineveh. We are told that a visit to this city required three days. One can surmise that the three day estimate is either due to the physical size of the city or the number of people who had to be reached. There was no mass communication and Jonah would have had to rely on direct contact with groups of people and his message being relayed by word of mouth. To reach every one of 120,000 people would have taken a considerable amount of effort on Jonah's part.
His message was effective enough to convince the people to change their ways. More importantly the message and the reaction of the people reached the seat of leadership. When the king and the government in power took this message to heart and not only changed their ways, but also made the acts of repentance and prayer official by decree then God listened and did not bring the destruction that he said would happen if they had not done this. The change in the people helped to bring about change in the heart of the government.
....if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
God hears our prayers when we are repentant and humbled before him. Our nation cannot continue on its path of shunning, rejecting, and blatantly defying God. Any nation that pursues such a course is destined toward destruction. World history has proven this to be true so far and indications are that this is an unwavering fact. Today's society has been rejecting the Godly, Bible-driven beginnings of the United States of America.
Secularists have distorted the truths the were the foundation upon which our country was built. The false concept of separation of church and state has inspired godless movements and foolish rulings by the nation's courts. The founding fathers wanted to avoid a nation that was ruled by any one church like had been seen in Europe, but they never intended to remove God and the moral principles of the Bible from the rule of government. Certain satanically inspired thinking has persuaded many to accept sin as acceptably normal behavior and not something to be rejected and despised.
Many new age thinking churches have been partly responsible for this trend. We as a people have become so afraid of offending others that we keep inching ever closer to an anything goes mentality. In order to become all things to all people, many churches are becoming closer to nothing for God. The church must strive to be pleasing to God and if in doing so it becomes offensive to many people, then so be it. The church is not going to get you into eternal fellowship with God--this is something that can only be gained directly through the personal relationship you have with Jesus Christ.
You and I must change. Our families, churches, communities, and cities all must change before the government can be expected to change. We live in a blessed nation, but can those blessings continue and even increase? Our nation will not remain blessed if we are not on God's side. National change to a synchronicity with the heart of God cannot occur unless Godly change in the heart of those in power comes about. Local and state governments, the courts, the national legislative bodies, and all the way to the presidency will have to humble themselves before God if we want Him to bring healing to the land.
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
Proverbs 14:34 (NIV)
A great nation sets an example for and exerts influence over other nations. The United States has been referred to as a shining beacon showing the way to the rest of the world. We may be losing that reputation in the eyes of many. On the other hand, our national sin may be what much of the rest of the world is looking for in order to pounce upon us and devour us. What will our nation opt for-- righteousness or downfall?
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
James 4:10 (NIV)