Jonah 3:1-5, 10
3:1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time, saying,
3:2 “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.”
3:3 So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across.
3:4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
3:5 And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.
3:10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.
Change can happen!
Ninevah was the capital of the Assyrian Empire, located in what is now Iraq. The Assyrians were well known to be ruthless warriors, and they had invaded the northern kingdom of Israel, taking large numbers of people among the Ten Tribes captive, scattering them among the nations. Jonah knew this, and no doubt felt, on behalf of his countrymen, that nothing would be better than to see that wicked city overthrown. It was for this reason that Jonah did not want to go prophesy to Ninevah: “This is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning, for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing.”
The evidence that Jonah was a prophet is that the thing he predicted didn’t happen… because the people repented!
A prophet’s task is to see what’s coming and tell people about it so that they can change what they are doing, and achieve a better outcome.
See Ezekiel chapter 18.