Teacher: Rusty Kennedy
Series: Bible Stories
- Jonah ministered during the reign of Jeroboam II of Israel (793–753 BC; 2 Kgs 14:23–25)
Jonah 1:1–4:11 (HCSB)
1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because their wickedness has confronted Me.”
- Nineveh was situated on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, opposite the modern city of Mosul, north of the city of Zab.
- It was an old city, dating back to approximately 4500 BC, and one of the principal cities of ancient Assyria.
- According to Gen 10:11, the city was built by the “great hunter” Nimrod.
- Probably Tartessus in southern Spain, perhaps the most distant city known to Israel.
- To begin with, he had a wrong attitude toward the will of God.
- Obeying the will of God is as important to God’s servant as it is to the people His servants minister to.
- It’s in obeying the will of God that we find our spiritual nourishment (John 4:34), enlightenment (7:17), and enablement (Heb. 13:21).
- To Jesus, the will of God was food that satisfied Him.
- To Jonah, the will of God was medicine that choked him.
6 The captain approached him and said, “What are you doing sound asleep? Get up! Call to your god. Maybe this god will consider us, and we won’t perish.”
7 “Come on!” the sailors said to each other. “Let’s cast lots. Then we’ll know who is to blame for this trouble we’re in.” So they cast lots, and the lot singled out Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, “Tell us who is to blame for this trouble we’re in. What is your business and where are you from? What is your country and what people are you from?”
9 He answered them, “I’m a Hebrew. I worship Yahweh, the God of the heavens, who made the sea and the dry land.”
10 Then the men were even more afraid and said to him, “What is this you’ve done?” The men knew he was fleeing from the Lord’s presence, because he had told them. 11 So they said to him, “What should we do to you to calm this sea that’s against us?” For the sea was getting worse and worse.
12 He answered them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea so it may quiet down for you, for I know that I’m to blame for this violent storm that is against you.” 13 Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they couldn’t because the sea was raging against them more and more.
- They did more for Jonah than Jonah had been willing to do for them.
- When they saw that the cause was hopeless, they asked Jonah’s God for His forgiveness for throwing Jonah into the stormy sea.
17 Now the Lord had appointed a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the fish three days and three nights.
- What actually occurred between Chapter 1 and 2?
- The prayer which follows (vers. 2–9) is not a petition for deliverance, but thanksgiving and praise for deliverance already received.
- It by no means follows from this however, that Jonah did not utter this prayer till after he had been vomited upon the land, and that ver. 10 ought to be inserted before ver. 2
2 Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish:
2 I called to the Lord in my distress,
and He answered me.
I cried out for help in the belly of Sheol;
You heard my voice.
3 You threw me into the depths,
into the heart of the seas,
and the current overcame me.
All Your breakers and Your billows swept over me.
4 But I said: I have been banished
from Your sight,
yet I will look once more
toward Your holy temple.
5 The waters engulfed me up to the neck;
the watery depths overcame me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
6 I sank to the foundations of the mountains;
the earth with its prison bars closed behind me forever!
But You raised my life from the Pit, Lord my God!
7 As my life was fading away,
I remembered Yahweh.
My prayer came to You,
to Your holy temple.
8 Those who cling to worthless idols
forsake faithful love,
9 but as for me, I will sacrifice to You
- (includes confession & repentance)
with a voice of thanksgiving.
I will fulfill what I have vowed.
Salvation is from the Lord!
- This is a prayer of thanksgiving and trust.
- The only way to reach Sheol is through death.
- Matthew 12:38-42 - 38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”
- 39 But He answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at Jonah’s proclamation; and look—something greater than Jonah is here! 42 The queen of the south will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and look—something greater than Solomon is here! 
3 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jonah got up and went to Nineveh according to the Lord’s command.
Now Nineveh was an extremely large city, a three-day walk.
- 15 miles/day X 3 Days = 45 miles
6 When word reached the king of Nineveh, he got up from his throne, took off his royal robe, put on sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 Then he issued a decree in Nineveh:
By order of the king and his nobles: No man or beast, herd or flock, is to taste anything at all. They must not eat or drink water. 8 Furthermore, both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth, and everyone must call out earnestly to God. Each must turn from his evil ways and from the violence he is doing. 9 Who knows? God may turn and relent; He may turn from His burning anger so that we will not perish.
10 Then God saw their actions—that they had turned from their evil ways —so God relented from the disaster He had threatened to do to them. And He did not do it.
- Did God change His mind?
- Or was He consistent as He has always been?
- If this book had ended at the last verse of chapter 3, history would have portrayed Jonah as the greatest of the prophets.
- After all, preaching one message that motivated thousands of people to repent and turn to God was no mean accomplishment.
- But the Lord doesn’t look on the outward things; He looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7) and weighs the motives (1 Cor. 4:5).
- That’s why Chapter 4 was included in the book, for it reveals “the thoughts and intents” of Jonah’s heart and exposes his sins.
4 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became furious.
- Jonah probably knew from Amos and Hosea that Assyria would be Israel’s destroyer.
- Prophets Club Newsletter
- He prayed his best prayer in the worst place, the fish’s belly, and he prayed his worst prayer in the best place, at Nineveh where God was working.
- His first prayer came from a broken heart, but his second prayer came from an angry heart.
- In his first prayer, he asked God to save him, but in his second prayer, he asked God to take his life!
- Once again, Jonah would rather die than not have his own way.
5 Jonah left the city and sat down east of it. He made himself a shelter there and sat in its shade to see what would happen to the city.
- He walked away from the opportunity to see God work in Nineveh.
8 As the sun was rising, God appointed a scorching east wind. The sun beat down so much on Jonah’s head that he almost fainted, and he wanted to die. He said, “It’s better for me to die than to live.”
9 Then God asked Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”
“Yes,” he replied. “It is right. I’m angry enough to die!”
- He called the city to repentance, but he wouldn’t repent himself!
- He was more concerned about creature comforts than he was about winning the lost.
- The Ninevites, the vine, the worm, and the wind have all obeyed God, but Jonah still refuses to obey, and he has the most to gain.
- God speaks of Nineveh’s immaturity.
- Jonah needed to learn the lesson of God’s pity and have a heart of compassion for lost souls.
- DON’T LOSE FOCUS
- BIGGER PICTURE!!!!
 Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible (Jon 1:1). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
 Smith, B. K., & Page, F. S. (1995). Amos, Obadiah, Jonah (Vol. 19B, p. 224). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
 Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible (Jon 1:3). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be amazed (p. 72). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be amazed (p. 75). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
 Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Kleinert, P., & Elliott, C. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Jonah (p. 25). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
 Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible (Jon 2:1). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
 The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Mt 12:38–42). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be amazed (p. 88). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
 Hannah, J. D. (1985). Jonah. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 1470). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be amazed (p. 89). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be amazed (pp. 90–91). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be amazed (p. 92). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.