Minor Prophets - Jonah
An Overview of Jonah
(1) Jonah’s name means “dove.”
(a) He is sometimes called the “run-away” or “reluctant” prophet.
(b) His father was Amittai (Jon. 1.1).
(c) He was from Gath-hepher, which was NE of Nazareth (2 Kings 14.25).
(d) He prophesied during the reign of Jeroboam II (793-750 B.C.); therefore, the date is somewhere around 780 B.C.
(2) The situation of the day:
(a) It was a time of peace for Israel.
(b) Assyria was the rising power of the time.
(1) Ninevah was the capital of Assyria (Gen. 10.8-11).
(a) The city was highly fortified.
(b) The population of the day was around 600,000 – 650,000.
(2) Israel viewed Assyria with hatred.
Consider: The Assyrians found “satisfaction in torturing captives, in blinding before the eyes of their parents, in flaying men alive, in wasting them in kilns, in chaining them in cages for the amusement of the population …
I. Running FROM God (Jonah 1)
A. The Command: Go to Ninevah (v. 2)
1. We can sympathize with Jonah: Imagine being told today to go preach to the Taliban
2. Fact is: We are told to go preach to the Taliban (“all creatures” – Matt. 28.19)
B. The Choice: Go to Tarshish (Modern Day Spain) (v. 3)
1. We are good at doing everything else except what we have been told to do
2. God doesn’t force us to do anything
C. The Consequence: Swallowed by a great fish (v. 17)
II. Running TO God (Jonah 2)
A. His Despair (vv. 1-6)
B. His Dedication (vv. 7-9) [Remembers and renews his previous vow to serve and obey God]
1. When we hit rock bottom, we can only look up
2. Jonah repented and we must repent (cf. Luke 13.3)
C. His Deliverance (v. 10)
1. In spite of our mistakes, God will deliver us when we turn to Him
2. God is a God of forgiveness (1 John 1.9)
III. Running WITH God (Jonah 3)
A. Jonah’s Commission (vv. 1-4)
1. God will still use you and me in spite of our past
2. Think of Paul
B. Nineveh’s Confession (vv. 5-9)
1. The power of the gospel is seen here (Rom. 1.16)
2. God’s Word can prick the heart (cf. Acts 2.37)
C. God’s Compassion (v. 10)
1. He did not desire to punish them, but His justice required that sin unrepented of must be punished
2. B/c of repentance, God was able to do what He wanted to do all along
IV. Running AHEAD of God (Jonah 4)
A. Jonah’s Reaction: Greatly Displeased (vv. 1-9)
1. See, I told you this would happen
2. I would rather die than see this happen
3. Similar to the Elder Brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15):
b. Would not go to the party
c. Reasoning: Not willing to forgive
B. God’s Rationale (vv. 10-11)
1. Jonah, your idea of compassion is having more for a plant than for a human
2. My idea of compassion is showing it to all who need it
(a) God is impartial (Rom. 2.11)
(b) God is longsuffering (2 Pet. 3.9)
(c) All men are created in God’s image (Gen. 1.26)
(1) Jesus died for all men (John 3.16)
(2) The gospel is for all (Matt. 28.19-20)
(1) Let us learn from Jonah: Obey God even when we don’t agree with God
(2) Let us learn from Jonah: God’s ways are far above our ways (cf. Isa. 55.8-9)
(3) Let us learn from Jonah: God will forgive those who will repent