Is there some Nineveh in Me?
The Lord has been stirring in my heart for a while certain lyrics to a song called “Nineveh” sung by Brook Ligertwood. The words are based upon the account in the book of Jonah. Every time I listen to the song, the lyrics unsettle my spirit and bring such a soberness to my thoughts…
Take a look: “Nineveh, oh Nineveh, the Lord is turning toward you. Compassion or calamity, will you heed the warning. Fall on your knees, tear down your idols. When you choose surrender, you choose survival. Call on His Name; turn from your violence. Out of the ashes, He will revive you. God have mercy; God have mercy.”
In the first chapter of Jonah it says: “The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.’” I did a little research on the city of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, and indeed their violence was prolific and their wickedness abounding. I won’t relate to you here what I read, but truly the things that were done there were heinous.
I think, though, the lyric that captures my soul the most in that song and troubles my spirit is this: “Holy Spirit, help me see where there is Nineveh in me.” Truly, these words linger in my soul…surely, I could not have such abhorrent terribleness inside of me! Compared to a nation that so violently sinned and brought excruciating death and destruction?? Surely not me, Lord. And yet…
Jesus is so specific in the Gospels about what constitutes real sin. He consistently brings it back the condition of our heart. Perhaps we have not committed the actions, but our heart and mind are accountable for the sin that they concoct. If this is the case, then yes, there is Nineveh in me (you cannot see my face right now, but I am cringing…). It is such a hard truth, but here is the miracle of it…
Jonah chapter 3 says: “The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When Jonah’s warning 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…When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.”
God is so compassionate and gracious (Jonah 4) that when we truly humble ourselves and repent, He will hear and see and forgive us…not just us, but as Pastor Mike mentioned in a recent sermon, even for that person we cannot fathom God forgiving because their sin is so unbelievably great and detestable.
I’m left with these questions: Do we see our own sin as detestable? Even the “little” ones? Are we broken-hearted over our sin like the Ninevites were? Believe me, it is deeply and profoundly convicting that such a violent and terrible pagan nation did repentance better than most Christians…including me. When’s the last time my heart was BROKEN over my sin?
I wish I had some terrific words to leave you with, my friends, but my heart is feeling the impact of this topic right now. I would encourage you to join me in this prayer found in the lyrics I shared earlier: “Holy Spirit, help me see where there is Nineveh in me.”
FBC Aztec Member