In the first day of the fasting of Jonah the Prophet, it is said that he is the son of the widow who was raised by Elijah the Prophet from death. God has called him to carry the message of repentance and salvation of the Kingdom of Assyria, whose capital was Nineveh (Mosul) in the State of Iraq.
It was the Kingdom of Assyria that destroyed the Kingdom of Israel in the year 722 BC. In the story of Jonah the Prophet, it is an explicit and clear declaration that God s love for man exceeds the awareness and mind of human beings. He is the all-loving Creator, the long-suffering, merciful, and compassionate who wants everyone to know the way and the truth and be saved.
Many times does the Holy Spirit visit us and call us to repentance and salvation by people and many means of media. It is His love that sought to save the people of Neneveh and calls us to repent every single day of our life.
On the other hand, we find Jonah thinking they don t deserve repentance and they will never know God. Thus, he flee to another city His thinking was limited and he was worried more about this own dignity as a prophet. Yet, God didn t lose hope in them and decided to save them by all means.
In that account we realize that one s selfishness may lead to disobedience for God s commandments. The Prophet Jonah lost time and money in his attempt to escape. He also needed to repent just like the people of Neneveh and he didn t realize that God exists everywhere.
The story of the people of Neneveh was recorded in history and their repentance was taken as a role model by many people including the Coptic people who are currently fasting for three days to learn from their repentance. God is waiting for us just like He waited for the people of Neneveh.