The whole book is only a 7 minute read. (By the way I wrote a book overview so most of the info is in that post)
Chapter 1- I really don’t think I need to break this down. It is written as a narrative so it’s pretty clear. What is interesting to look at is the differences between Jonah (who knew the Lord) and the Sailors who did not know the Lord but worshipped many gods. (It’s kind of like many Christians today and the world around us sadly):
|He is a Hebrew with a rich history of God’s faithfulness||They were Gentiles with no history of God|
|He is monotheistic, believing in one true God||They are polytheistic, worshiping many false Gods|
|He is rightly related to the true God||They had no relationship with the true God|
|He was spiritually insensitive, going in the wrong direction||They are spiritually sensitive, going in the right direction. They prayed.|
|He is indifferent toward God’s will in spite of knowing him||They were concerned before God in spite of little or no knowledge of him|
|He was uncompassionate toward Nineveh||They were compassionate toward Jonah|
|Jonah was rebellious and therefore disciplined, but not destroyed||They were brought to worship and commitment|
Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. A foreshadow of the resurrection. A sign of what was to come! Three days in the tomb would bring salvation!
Jesus said: Matthew 12:
38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”
39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge 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 stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here.
Chapter 3-The second half of this book records Jonah’s obedience to the Lord following. However, he was not completely obedient in his attitudes even though he was in his actions.
The Prayer- Look at it closely…he was praying thanks for his own deliverance. You know when you have that moment of huge desperation that you start praying everything you can think of. This prayer is a mixture of Job, Lamentations, and 9 Psalms.
Someone once said “Exposure to Scripture doesn’t guarantee a godly life” (that’s for free, you can steal that)
But God is merciful. He provided a whale to save him.
Chapter 4- So we read this story and we concentrate on the sailors, the storm, the 3 days, the Ninevites, or the whale. We might assume that the Lord’s deliverance of the Ninevites from doom is the climax of the story. This is not the case. An important lesson of the book deals with God’s instruments, us. Jona appears selfish, petty, temperamental, and
even downright foolish in chap. 4.
But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
In other words, he hoped that the Ninevites would not respond to his call for repentance and that God’s judgment would
follow. We can do the will of God without doing it with the right attitude, and that is the focus of the remainder of the book. The irony that Jonah was saved through the whale God provided…was this any different?
God provided a plant to ease his discomfort. Jonah was undeserving of such mercy, just as the Ninevites were underserving of theirs. That’s why it’s called Mercy.
We use the phrase “The lost act lost”. Those are the ones we are to bring the Gospel to. Not judge them. God saved 120,000 that day. Was an amazing God, and he can use us for this purpose.