Niveneh was an ancient Mesopotamian city on the Eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. (Wikepedia) For fifty years, it was the largest city in the world. In the Bible, Niveneh is described as an evil city. God sent Jonah to intervene, "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come before me." (Jonah1:2) Jonah disobeyed God, tried to escape by running away to sea, and ended up being swallowed by a whale.

I had forgotten about the story of Jonah and the whale. It is difficult to imagine what it would have been like to be trapped in the belly of a whale for three days, but it must have been terrifying and claustrophobic. Jonah would have been praying and asking for fogiveness, for a second chance. He would have finally realized that there was nowhere that he could go to hide from God. When Jonah was rescued, he capitulated to God's demands, and went to preach to the people of Niveneh.

Jonah expected God to destroy the evil city of Niveneh; he was angry with God for giving Niveneh a second chance. Yet, the Bible is full of stories of people whp were given second, third, and even fourth chances. God gave Jonah another chance, and he gives does the same for us. We are so fortunate. I learned from the sermon this week, that when we listen to God and put his word into practice, that we can weather the storm.