Jonah by stariya



                                             Will Wilson

    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
                                   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
                           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

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
                           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

               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
                3. Without knowing, they asked Jonah every question that he needed to
                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

                         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.

                       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
                      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

                          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
                          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
                          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

                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
               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.

                        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
                        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
                        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

                       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
        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.

            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
            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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