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Our Old Testament reading is from the Book of Jonah: ‘Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he cried, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. Then tidings reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he made proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; let them not feed, or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them cry mightily to God; yea, let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may yet repent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we perish not?” When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God repented of the evil which he had said he would do to them; and he did not do it’.

There is a double obedience here in this account: firstly, Jonah’s obedience to the Lord, and secondly, that of the king of Nineveh to Jonah’s word relayed, it should be noted, through others. Both kinds affect us in our daily lives- directly from God, and those admonitions which come to us through others – whether those in authority, or simply incidentally in conversations which we may hear. In either case, it is a matter of ‘inclining the ear of our heart’ to as to be receptive to the still, small voice of God.

May God bless you in this task, and be close to you this day.