Faith Comes By Hearing

“So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.”—Jonah 3:5 (NKJV)

We’ve probably all heard the account of the prophet Jonah. Man gets called to preach repentance. Man disobeys and runs away. Man gets swallowed up by a giant fish but lives to tell about it. This is a crazy story, and I am not just talking about the part about the fish, but the radical act of faith that resulted from the message God gave Jonah for the people of Nineveh.

The Ninevites are described as wicked, flaunting their evil deeds before the Lord. This kind of rebellion has only one consequence—death. God, although grieved over their sin, was full of compassion, and granted Nineveh a final opportunity for repentance by sending a warning through His prophet Jonah. Jonah, however, did not agree with God’s compassion for Nineveh and tried to avoid going there. After attempting to run away from what God had asked him to do, he ended up right where God told him to go—Nineveh. With rebellion still in his heart, he finally delivered God’s message.

What happened next was remarkable: “So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.”—Jonah 3:5 (NKJV)

I don’t know about you, but when I read this I want more details! How did this happen? Did they first put up a fight or did they think about it awhile? What is this radical move of faith that resulted from one sentence? It’s the power of the Word of God!

Even when delivered by a rebellious prophet to a hard-hearted people, the Word of God can turn the will of an entire city to repentance. We need to know and believe this. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we all have a mission: to go and preach the gospel to all nations.

In Romans 10:14 (NKJV) Paul pleas, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?”

Friends, this plea is also for us! How will they hear unless we speak? How will they believe unless they hear? Romans 10:17 (NKJV) says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”  It is the power of God’s Word that does all the work. As His messengers, we are commanded to speak it. And when we do, we’ll see radical acts of faith that follows.

DIG: Read the Book of Jonah—a true historical event—and be amazed.
DISCOVER: Do a biblical word search on the power of God’s Word. Let faith come in your own heart by hearing what the Word says about itself.
DISPLAY: There’s only one option here . . . Go! Tell! Obey! Speak the Word of God anywhere, everywhere. It is the power of God unto salvation.


Jessica is the Assistant Director at Ocean's Edge School of Worship, where we are raising up and discipling the next generation of worship leaders, songwriters, and musicians for the furtherance of the gospel. Learn more about Jessica.