God corrects our errors of heart
1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, 2 Get up. Go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me. 3 But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD and went down to Joppa. There he found a ship going to Tarshish so he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
- Jonah means ‘dove.’
- Tarshish was Spain. Jonah booked passage to go as far as he could in the opposite direction of God’s command.
- God, as the ultimate Father, targets our areas of error.
- Jonah had a prejudice. He hated the Ninevites and didn’t want them to be saved.
- Jeremiah 23:24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I not see him? says the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? says the LORD.
- Psalm 139:7 where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend up to heaven, you are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there your hand will lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty storm in the sea, so that the ship was about to break apart. 5 Then the sailors were afraid. Every man cried to his god and threw out the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten it. But Jonah had gone down into the sides of the ship. He lay down and was fast asleep. 6 So the shipmaster came to him and said to him, What are you doing, O sleeper? Get up! Call on your God, perhaps your God will think upon us so that we perish not.
- Psalm 107:23-32 shows us that God uses incidents like this to bring people to Himself.
- Psalm 107:25 For he commands, and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up its waves. 26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. 27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end. 28 Then they cry to the LORD in their trouble, and he brings them out of their distresses.
7 And they said one to another, Come, and let’s cast lots, so that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us. So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 Then said they to him, Please tell us, why this evil has come upon us; What is your occupation? Where have you come from? What is your country? And what people are you from? 9 And he said to them, I am a Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who has made the sea and the dry land.
- Psalm 33:6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. 9 he spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.
10 Then were the men terrified and said to him, Why have you done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD because he had told them. 11 Then said they to him, What should we do to you so that the sea will be calm for us? For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. 12 And he said to them, Take me up and throw me into the sea and the sea will be calm for you: for I know that for my sake this great storm is upon you. 13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea worked, and was tempestuous against them. 14 So they cried to the LORD, and said, We beg you, O LORD, we beg you, Do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not lay innocent blood on us: for you, O LORD, have done as it pleased you.
- Psalm 135:6 Whatever the LORD pleased, that is what he did in heaven, in earth, in the seas and in all deep places.
15 So they took Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped her raging. 16 Then the men greatly feared the LORD. They offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to serve him. 17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the bowels of the fish three days and three nights.
- Philippians 4:19 But my God will supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
God hears our cries and answers our prayers
1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, 2 And said, I cried because of my affliction to the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell/the grave I cried, and you heard my voice. 3 For you had cast me into the deep, in the heart of the seas; and the floods surrounded me: all your billows and your waves passed over me. 4 Then I said, I am cast out of your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple. 5 The waters engulfed me, even to the soul: the depth closed around me, the weeds were wrapped about my head. 6 I went down to the bottoms/cutting off of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me forever: yet you have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God.
- The bottoms of the mountains is ‘the cutting off’ of the mountains.
- Did Jonah sink to the bottom of the landmasses that float on the waters of the ocean?
- These words say that Jonah actually died, saw hell, and God brought him back.’
- Beyond Death’s Door is a short book by Dr. Maurice Rawlings, cardiologist. In he documents patients brought back from cardiac arrest screaming in terror, I am in hell!
7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto you, into your holy temple. 8 They that look to lying vanities forsake their own mercy. 9 But I will sacrifice to you with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD. 10 And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Jonah on the dry land.
- Lying vanities are idols. There is no truth in them. The are empty.
- They are wood, stone, or metal made by the hands of man that do nothing except lead man to eternal death.
- The fish obeyed God; Jonah hadn’t obeyed.
- It seems Jonah had made vows to God, like Isaiah, here I am Lord, send me. Then changed his mind when God sent him to Israel’s enemy. So from the belly of the great fish, he prayed to God and said, I will pay the vow I vowed.
- Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
- Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
- Psalm 11:4 The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids test, the children of men.
The LORD turns from judgment when man turns from evil
1 And the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time saying, 2 Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the preaching what I tell you. 3 So Jonah got up and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was a great city to God, of three days’ journey. 4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey. And he cried out and said, In forty days Nineveh will be overthrown. 5 So the people of Nineveh believed God and proclaimed a fast. They put on sackcloth from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
- A day’s journey was about 20 miles so Nineveh was about 60 miles across.
- John 3:36 He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that does not believe on the Son will not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him.
- Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
6 The word came to the king of Nineveh and he got up from his throne. He laid his robe away from him, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles saying, Let no man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything: let them not eat food or drink water: 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God: yes, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. 9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, so that we not perish? 10 And God saw their works that they turned from their evil way; and God turned from the evil that he had said that he would do to them; and he did not do it.
- Remember the two trees in the center of the Garden of Eden? One was the tree of life, which symbolizes knowing, and following God, our Maker.
- The other tree was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, powered by God’s enemy. Eating from it leads to eternal death.
- Man chooses!
- Notice that evil has a good side. The good side of evil is any good that leaves out God. God is life.
- God’s way is shown in His word, the Bible. All contrary to that is from evil and leads to eternal death.
- Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the of it is the way of death.
- Ezekiel 18:32 I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies, says the Lord GOD: therefore turn yourselves, and live.
- Revelation 20:15 And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
God is merciful and great in kindness
1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. 2 And he prayed to the LORD and said, Please, LORD, was this not what I said, when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled before to Tarshish: for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and turn back from the evil.
- Jonah talked with God about this when God told him to go to Nineveh.
- Jonah’s missionary trip to Nineveh was totally successfully. The whole city turn back to God.
- 2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any perish, but that all come to repentance.
3 Now therefore, O LORD, I beg you, take my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. 4 Then the LORD said, Are you right to be angry? 5 So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. He made himself a booth there and sat under it in the shade to wait and see what would become of the city. 6 And the LORD God prepared a gourd/kikajou/palmcrist, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was exceedingly glad about the gourd. 7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it struck the gourd so that it withered. 8 And it happened when the sun rose, that God prepared a scorching east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head so that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live. 9 And God said to Jonah, Are you right to be angry about the gourd? And he said, I am right to be angry, even unto death. 10 Then the LORD said, You have had pity on the gourd, for the which you did not labor, neither made it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: 11 Should I not spare Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than 120,000 persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much livestock?
- Small children do not know their right hand from their left. 120,000 small children were in Nineveh.
- God gently showed Jonah that he was wrong.
- God had made all the people of Nineveh and the animals. He had labored over them.
- Excavations of Nineveh have revealed a monument to Jonah. Jonah becme an illustration for a great truth about the Lord; after the crucifixion, Jesus was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
- Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish; so the Son of man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise in judgment with this generation, and condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
- 1Peter 3:18 Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 21 an illustration of baptism that now saves us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 22 Who has gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
SUMMARY: Jonah 1-4
- God corrects our errors of heart
- God hears our cries and answers our prayers
- The LORD turns from judgment when man turns from evil
- God is merciful and great in kindness