1 Jonah Will Wilson Email: firstname.lastname@example.org I. Jonah Goes His Own Way (1:1-16) a. Jonah called to Nineveh, sails to the west (1:1-3) i. Verse 1&2 1. As we mentioned in our introduction, Nineveh was a great city. 2. It was the capital of Assyria and had a population of at least 120,000. 3. Verse two makes it very clear that the wickedness of a foreign nation does not escape Him. 4. Therefore, He sends Jonah to go and cry against the city. ii. Verse 3 1. Jonah decides to do the very opposite because of his personal feelings for Assyria and especially its capital. 2. The literal translation of “presence of the Lord” is “being before the Lord”. a. Jonah knew that he could not escape God as God is everywhere. b. He was trying to get away from where God wanted him to be. c. Psalm 139:7-9 3. Notice all of the trouble that Jonah went through to get away from God. a. He traveled to Joppa b. He found a ship that was going to Tarshish. c. He paid the fare and went into the boat all in an attempt to get away from God. 4. How much trouble do we usually go through to try to get away from God? 5. Next time you realize that you have sinned and trace your steps back to the moment that you were tempted and you will see how much we do in an order to be selfish and to get away from God. Sometimes we're on a collision course, and we just don't know it. Whether it's by accident or by design, there's not a thing we can do about it. A woman in Paris was on her way to go shopping, but she had forgotten her coat - went back to get it. When she had gotten her coat, the phone had rung, so she'd stopped to answer it; talked for a couple of minutes. While the woman was on the phone, Daisy was rehearsing for a performance at the Paris Opera House. And while she was rehearsing, the woman, off the phone now, had gone outside to get a taxi. Now a taxi driver had dropped off a fare earlier and had stopped to get a cup of coffee. And all the while, Daisy was rehearsing. And this cab driver, who dropped off the earlier fare; who'd stopped to get the cup of coffee, had picked up the lady who was going to 2 shopping, and had missed getting an earlier cab. The taxi had to stop for a man crossing the street, who had left for work five minutes later than he normally did, because he forgot to set off his alarm. While that man, late for work, was crossing the street, Daisy had finished rehearsing, and was taking a shower. And while Daisy was showering, the taxi was waiting outside a boutique for the woman to pick up a package, which hadn't been wrapped yet, because the girl who was supposed to wrap it had broken up with her boyfriend the night before, and forgot. When the package was wrapped, the woman, who was back in the cab, was blocked by a delivery truck, all the while Daisy was getting dressed. The delivery truck pulled away and the taxi was able to move, while Daisy, the last to be dressed, waited for one of her friends, who had broken a shoelace. While the taxi was stopped, waiting for a traffic light, Daisy and her friend came out the back of the theater. And if only one thing had happened differently: if that shoelace hadn't broken; or that delivery truck had moved moments earlier; or that package had been wrapped and ready, because the girl hadn't broken up with her boyfriend; or that man had set his alarm and got up five minutes earlier; or that taxi driver hadn't stopped for a cup of coffee; or that woman had remembered her coat, and got into an earlier cab, Daisy and her friend would've crossed the street, and the taxi would've driven by. But life being what it is - a series of intersecting lives and incidents, out of anyone's control - that taxi did not go by, and that driver was momentarily distracted, and that taxi hit Daisy, and her leg was crushed. b. Jonah sleeps while a storm rages (1:4-6) i. Verse 4 1. We see that God did not like that Jonah had deliberately disobeyed what he had been told to do. 2. Therefore, God hurled a great wind on the sea and caused a storm so big that it was going to break up the ship. ii. Verse 5 1. The sailors were scared so they each cried to their own god and threw all of the cargo overboard in an attempt to keep the boat floating. 2. All of this time Jonah had been below sleeping. 3. We see these men have to throw a lot of their own time and money away in order to pay for Jonah’s rebellion. 4. It is most likely that they were being paid to deliver the cargo to Tarshish. 5. That being the case, they would have to take a hit for the expense of the trip and might even be held accountable for all of the lost cargo. 6. All the while, Jonah is asleep below. iii. Our sins have a much larger effect on those around us than we are generally aware of. 1. An adulterous man usually never even thinks about the pain that he will cause. 3 2. An alcoholic never imagines the damage that he does on top of the people that have to put up with his selfishness. 3. When we sin, especially if our sin is some defect with our attitude, the people around us have to bend over backwards to try to make us comfortable just like these men had to give up everything just to try to keep Jonah alive. iv. Verse 6 1. In a last ditch effort to live, all of the men start praying. 2. When they find Jonah, they instruct him to do the same and even marvel at the fact that he could be sleeping during all of this mess. c. The sailors discover Jonah by casting lots (1:7-10) i. Verse 7 1. This must have been an unnaturally terrible storm. 2. We can assume that these sailors were trained sailors and well accustomed to many kinds of winds and storms. 3. This storm, however, was not natural. 4. It came upon them very suddenly and was not like storms that they were used to seeing. 5. On account of this, after trying everything to stay alive, they went after the cause of the storm. 6. They did this by casting lots and the lot fell on Jonah. ii. Verse 8 1. After they found out whose fault the storm was they began to investigate what he had done to cause it. 2. They asked him several questions that they hoped would lead to the answer. 3. Without knowing, they asked Jonah every question that he needed to hear. 4. On whose account has this calamity struck us? a. This question would have forced Jonah to realize that he had done something wrong. 5. What is your occupation? a. They would have asked them this because it might have been that Jonah did something for a living that was against the principles of God. (not all work is honorable) b. Again, without knowing, they forced Jonah to look at what he was supposed to be doing and compare it to what he was actually doing. 6. Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you? 4 a. This question would have compelled Jonah to think about the person that he had been trained to be. b. “Remember who you are” – Jeff May iii. Verse 9 1. Jonah answered with the truth and what a terrifying truth it turned out to be. 2. He told them that he was a Hebrew and that he feared the God who created that see that was currently ripping their boat to shreds. iv. Verse 10 1. These common sailors asked a question that Jonah should not have needed to hear from them and that all of us need to ask ourselves as often as we can: “How could you do this? 2. Genesis 39:9 d. The sailors cast Jonah overboard (1:11-16) i. Verse 11 1. This verse is great because it shows the believing that Jonah was who he said to be and believing in the God of the Hebrews does not do one little bit of good unless you do something about it. 2. They immediately ask Jonah what they should do to alleviate the problem because the sea was getting worse. ii. Verse 12 1. Jonah told them that the sea would calm for them if they would just throw him into the ocean. iii. Verse 13 1. We see the true character of these men in this verse. 2. They tried everything they could to get back to shore without having to kill Jonah, but the storm just kept getting worse. iv. Verse 14 1. When they realized that there was nothing that they could do, they decided to do what Jonah had advised. 2. Interestingly enough, they did not pray to the gods that they had prayed to earlier. 3. Instead, they direct their prayers at the God. 4. Essentially, they prayed that God would take vengeance for killing an innocent man. v. Verse 15 1. Despite their feelings, they threw Jonah over board. 2. The action cause the sea to calm. vi. Verse 16 1. The greatest part of this entire story is that these sailors learned from all of this. 5 2. They feared God greatly which led them to offer a sacrifice and make vows to serve Him. II. Jonah Prays and is Rescued (1:17-2:10) a. Jonah, saved from drowning, turns to prayer (1:17-2:2a) i. Verse 17 1. This is a most interesting verse that shows God’s great mercy. 2. God could have left Jonah in the waves to drown but He did not do that. 3. Instead, we are told that God prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah up. 4. It is not hard to imagine the torment that Jonah was in and the temporary relief that he might have experienced. 5. He was near drowning and all of a sudden a giant fish shows up. 6. He had to be thinking that, instead of being killed by the waves, he was now going to be killed by a huge fish. 7. Then the fish swallows him up and he finds himself alive and well. 8. Most of us have experienced something like this. 9. Everything starts going horribly and it feels like Murphy’s Law is in full swing. 10. Then, when it feels like things cannot get any worse, everything just goes away and things are good. 11. Why is it that things must get as bad as they possibly can before we start to ask for God’s help? ii. Chapter 2, verse 1-2a 1. After Jonah realizes that he is actually alive, he prays to God from the fish’s belly. a. Do not ever think that God cannot hear us. 2. Jonah admits that he is crying out to God because of the hard things that he is going through and that God answered his prayer. b. Jonah’s psalm of thanksgiving (2b-9) i. Verse 2b 1. Jonah begins his prayer by acknowledging that He made a mistake in trying to run away from God. 2. He says that he cried from Sheol, the place of the dead, and God heard his voice. 3. This shows God’s power and His omnipresence. ii. Verses 3-4 1. Jonah continues the prayer by admitting the significance of what had happened. 6 2. He admits that he was about to die because the he was in the heart of the sea where the floods surrounded him and the waves covered him up. 3. He then says that he knew that God had cast him out of His sight. 4. This, however, did not stop Jonah from turning to God. iii. Verses 5-6 1. We can only imagine how scared Jonah must have been. 2. He was so deep that he had gotten caught in the weeds on the floor. 3. He was so deep that he saw the mountains that make up the ocean floor. 4. It seems that he had crossed over into Sheol and that earth had forever closed its gates and locked him in Sheol. 5. This is the point that Jonah’s descent finally ended. This is the point that God brought him out of the place of death that he believed himself to be in. 6. At what point did Jonah’s descent begin? iv. Verses 7-9 1. In verse 7 we see the last thoughts of a dying man. 2. He says that, when he was about to die, he remembered the Lord and began to pray to Him. 3. His prayer, in verse 8, is an acknowledgment of why Jonah should have gone to Nineveh to begin with; because “those who regard worthless idols forsake their own mercy”. 4. In verse 9, Jonah vows to God that he will do three things since God spared him his life. a. Like the sailors, Jonah vows to sacrifice to God. b. Unlike the sailors, Jonah vows to sacrifice with thanksgiving, or praise, instead of fear. c. The third vow is a more of statement that has great meaning. He acknowledges that salvation is of the Lord. This means that it belongs to the Lord and is His to give to whom He wishes; including the people of Nineveh. c. Jonah is released on land (2:10) i. Verse 10 1. Because of Jonah’s repentance and vows of action, God commands the fish to spit Jonah out onto dry land. III. Jonah Fulfills His Calling (3:1-10) a. Jonah preaches in Nineveh (3:1-4) i. Verses 1-2 7 1. For the second time, Jonah is told to go to Nineveh and preach the message of God to it. 2. It is interesting that God made sure to say “the message that I tell you”. a. Numbers 22:18; 20; 23:19-20; Revelation 22:18-19 b. We only say what God has already said. ii. Verses 3-4 1. This time, it seems, Jonah has much more incentive to do as he is told. 2. Therefore, he arose and went to Nineveh like he had already been told to do. 3. Again, the awesomeness of Nineveh is pointed out. 4. It says that it took three days to walk through Nineveh. 5. If it takes 20 minutes to walk a mile and Jonah walked for 12 hours each day, then this would make Nineveh about 100 miles long. Double that if it is talking about walking for 72 hours. 6. New York City covers about 305 square miles and has 8 million people. Imagine how crowded Nineveh must have been. 7. According to Wiseman’s book about Nineveh, the three day trip would mean one day to travel in from the “suburbs”, one day for business, and one day for the return. 8. Jonah entered into the city and began to preach saying that the city was going to be overthrown in forty days. b. Nineveh repents and God has compassion (3:5-10) i. Verses 5-6 1. In our country, we have people doing this (preaching repentance) all of the time so we never even react. America has become the villagers in the story of the boy crying wolf. 2. Nineveh, however, must not have had people publicly teaching repentance very often. 3. To the best of our knowledge, Jonah did not perform any miracles of any sort. 4. He simply said what God told him to say. 5. God’s true power is in His Word (Romans 1:16; John 20:30-31; 2 Timothy 3:14-17). 6. They turn around 180 degrees at the first sound of trouble. 7. Verse five says that the greatest to the least fasted and put on sackcloth. 8. When the word of God came to the king, verse 6 tells us that even he put his robe aside and dressed in sackcloth and ashes. ii. Verses 7-10 1. The king also declared that there should be a city wide fast for everything living and that everyone should cry out to God. 8 2. Verse 9 is how we should all approach repentance. a. Too many times we sin and justify it by saying, “its okay. God will forgive me for it” or “I’ll do this now because of my ‘emergency’ and I’ll ask repent later”. b. We assume that if we say the magic words “please forgive me”, then all is forgotten. c. He may but that is testing God is it not? d. What happens if you die in the sin that you committed with the intent of asking for forgiveness? e. You will die wishing that you would have not sinned or that you could have begged forgiveness, hoping that God will forgive you anyhow, and knowing that He will not. f. This heathen king, with hardly any knowledge of God, grasped repentance and forgiveness better than most of us and we have the completely revealed mind of God. iii. Verse 10 1. It is interesting that it does not say that God saw their belief and relented. 2. It says that He saw their works which proved that they turned from their evil way and then He relented from the disaster (James 2:15-26) IV. Jonah Objects to Nineveh’s Survival (4:1-11) a. Jonah claims he had been right (4:1-4) i. Jonah did exactly as he had been told by God to do but, as we see, Jonah was not pleased with the results. ii. Verse one says that God’s mercy on the people of Nineveh made Jonah angry. iii. In verse two, we see just how much Jonah hated the people of Nineveh. iv. He prays to God and tells him that he had been right all along. v. He knew that God would be compassionate on the people and that is why he avoided telling the people to repent. vi. How often do we do this exact same thing? vii. We claim that we want people to go to heaven, but which people? viii. Most of us won’t even go near some the people that Jesus spent all of His time with. 1. Mark 2:15-17 NASB And it *happened that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. (16) When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, "Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?" (17) And hearing this, Jesus *said to them, "It is not those who are healthy who need a 9 physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners." ix. We tend to be more like the people that James described. 1. James 2:2-3 NASB For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, (3) and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, "You sit here in a good place," and you say to the poor man, "You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool," x. We’re all for someone becoming a Christian provided they meet the standard of what we think a Christian should be. xi. Notice the difference between Jonah’s thoughts on death and Paul’s thoughts on death. 1. Jonah 4:1 NASB But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry. 2. Jonah 4:3 NASB "Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life." 3. Philippians 1:21-25 NASB (21) For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (22) But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. (23) But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; (24) yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. (25) Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, xii. Jonah prays for death because people are being led to God. xiii. Paul chooses life for the exact same reason. xiv. Do you see what happens when we focus on our own petty thoughts, emotions, and personal feelings instead of the will of God? xv. Jonah would have let 120,000 people suffer eternally in hell just because he did not like them. xvi. How many people will never hear about the truth because of our favoritism? xvii. How many people will we allow to suffer eternally because of our inability to see every human as a soul? xviii. In verse four, God challenges Jonah, as He challenges all of us with an extremely wise question. “Do you have good reason to be angry?” xix. What good reason do we have to not tell people about God or to be angry if someone turns to Christ? b. God responds with an acted parable (4:5-9) i. It seems that Jonah did not have a good reason to be angry so he went and found him a place where he could see what God was going to do to Nineveh. ii. While Jonah was watching the city, God made a plant grow over Jonah to give him shade and to make him comfortable. iii. This, of course, Jonah was happy about. iv. The next day, God made a worm attack the plant and kill it. v. When it was really hot, God sent a scorching wind Jonah’s way until Jonah was weak and begged to die. vi. God, again trying to work with Jonah, asks Jonah if he has good reason to be angry about the plant. 10 vii. Jonah, still a little stubborn, claims that he does have good reason to be angry, even to death. viii. Like most humans, Jonah seems to be more interested with justifying or vindicating his own self than he is with listening to God. ix. What reasons or excuses do we give when we do not talk to people about God? c. God has the last word (4:10-11) i. God shows us true wisdom in His explanation of the plant and the worm. ii. He tells Jonah that he had compassion for a plant that he did nothing to make grow and that sprung up one day and died the next. iii. Jonah, for some reason, saw the plant as more important than he did 120,000 living, breathing souls. iv. God ends the discussion by asking Jonah if He should have compassion on all of those souls. v. The point that God is trying to get Jonah to understand is that Jonah did all that work and then is unhappy when they live. vi. Then, a plant comes up, which he does not work for, and Jonah is sad when it dies. vii. Why is Jonah more concerned about a soulless plant that he did nothing for than he is about hundreds of thousands of human beings which he actually worked to help live? V. Conclusion a. This book is extremely helpful to all of us i. It helps us to see all of the common mistakes that we make when it comes to talking to people about God. ii. First we run away from the idea because we do not think that they deserve God or because we are afraid. iii. Then, if we ever get the courage to talk to someone about God or when we feel incredibly guilty for not doing it, we do it because we have to. iv. Finally, if the person is able to look past our horrible attitude and turn to God, we are angry because they did not deserve Him. b. What should our attitude be like when we talk to people about God? i. John 3:16 1. Jesus was sent for all men ii. Mark 7:36-37; Luke 5:14-15 1. These people were healed of physical ailments and could keep quiet about Jesus even when He told them to. 2. We have been forgiven of our sins which is, literally, infinitely better. 3. Why then do we keep quiet? iii. Luke 15:4-10 1. When someone finally does come to Christ, our attitude should be exactly like this.
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