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September 17 – A new beginning

“Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time.” – Jonah 3:1 

Scripture reading: Jonah 2:10-3:1-3

After the three days and the three nights in the belly of the fish, the Lord spoke to the fish, and Jonah was burped up on the beach. Jonah is alive! The Lord has been gracious to him: the Lord protected his defiant servant from the storm at sea; He preserved his runaway prophet from drowning; He kept his disobedient messenger safe within the dangerous stomach of the fish. The Lord has preserved Jonah’s life over and over.

The Lord saves Jonah for the sake of Jonah’s calling and gives him a new beginning. Notice how Jonah 3:1 is almost an exact repetition of the first words of the book, Jonah 1:1. The story is starting over. How patiently the Lord deals with Jonah, giving him a second chance, an opportunity to begin again.

This second re-commissioning is an act of divine mercy and grace by our sovereign God. Jonah 3:1 and these three words – “the second time” – are a picture of the gospel and the story of redemption. With God, it is never a “you-mess-up- so-badly-you-will-never-get-a-second-chance.”

The Lord still has work for Jonah to do: He has a mission for Jonah and a plan for Nineveh. Our God is the God of new beginnings and fresh starts, when we come to Him in repentance.

Suggestions for prayer

Thank the Lord that He doesn’t give up on us even though we deserve it.

Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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