God called the prophet Jonah to travel to the city of Nineveh and to speak out against it. Nineveh was an Assyrian city, part of an empire known for its cruelty, that had long threatened Israel. The last thing Jonah wanted was for these particular people to experience the mercy and compassion of the God of Israel. Therefore he rejected the Lord’s call and tried to travel as far as he possibly could in the opposite direction from Nineveh! After three days and three nights in the belly of a large fish, however, Jonah repented and went to Nineveh. He delivered a prophetic message against the city, just as the Lord had commanded. Much to Jonah’s surprise, the people of Nineveh repented, and the Lord relented from his plans to destroy them. Jonah learned that God is ready to show mercy to all who will turn their hearts to him. (Jonah 3:6–10)