Jonah, Part 1

Jonah; The Disobedient Prophet

Book of Jonah 1-2

When it comes to the true prophets of God there are some things we must always remember:

1) The words that they wrote came from the mouth of the Supreme God and should be treated as the Word of the Lord!

2) Their words are absolute, imperative and final and preempt all other laws!

3) They were commissioned by the Lord and their words are to be associated with their Commissioner!

We will read of a time in the life of God’s prophet Jonah, that he totally disagreed with God and we can be sure God told Jonah to include this in his writings.

I am sure that Jonah would have rather left some of these words out!

It would have been easy for God to just put good things in the Scriptures but they would not have seemed real.
God just teaches us the truths and gives us a view from both sides or I should say all sides.

The first lesson we will learn from the Book of Jonah is that you cannot run away from God.

King David put is this way:

Psa 139:7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
Psa 139:8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
Psa 139:9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Psa 139:10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
Psa 139:11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
Psa 139:12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

Book of Jonah Chapter 1 verse 1

*****Jon 1:1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
Jon 1:2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

If you have ever tried to run away from anything you can understand Jonah.

Records show that at least a million people, mostly young juveniles, successfully run away from home every year. Most of these runaways end in devastation for themselves and their families.

Jonah was a runaway prophet!

Jonah was called of God to preach to the Northern Tribes of Israel just as Hosea and some others. He also had preached to Judah the wonderful Word of God.

Jonah felt that to preach the Word of God to the Ninevites was God asking to much. These were the enemies of Israel.

What is the truth of God?

Isa 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
Isa 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

We all pretty much understand the plan of God but what we cannot understand is how God will go about completing His plan.

God says, it is not for us to understand, it is only that we have “Faith” and trust Him to do what is right.

Israel felt that God was the God of Israel but that He did not care for any other nation.

We already know that God sent His Son to save the entire world.

One day while Jonah was resting God gave Jonah a new commission.

We already know the God spoke to His prophets in dreams and visions and Jonah clearly understood what God had called him to do.

Even today God calls us to activities that we may really want to do.

The truth is, it is our duty to be obedient to God in everything He ask.

The physical side of us is just a tool for God’s use.

The most important part of serving the Lord is our willingness to do so!

When we are not willing to serve the Lord we will then become a tool in the service of others!

Nineveh was a great city not only because it was heavily populated but Nineveh was the capitol city of the great Assyrian Empire.

The city of Nineveh was probably 60 miles in circumference, more like New York rather than Jerusalem.

The Assyrian Empire was second only to the Empire of King Solomon in riches and royalty in it’s day.

Nineveh was established by Nimrod and the probable home of the Tower of Babel.

We know that the Assyrian Empire later fell to the Medes in the time of Daniel and later to the Babylonians.

But before these things could happen God was going to allow the Assyrians to destroy the Northern Tribes of Israel and scatter the remnant throughout that empire.

God’s plan for Jonah was to preach the salvation of the Lord so they would not be so harsh on the people of Israel.

God spoke through His prophets in that day but today God speaks directly to each individual!

Heaven is open to every people. There is only one race in the eyes of God. God sees “souls” and not the color of the skin!

Nineveh was a Gentile City and much hated by most Jews for this reason.

Jonah was assigned to go to Nineveh to warn them of the “Judgment” of God if they did not turn from their wicked ways.

In the days of Jonah the Assyrians were a dominant economic power but also a dominant military power and they were known to be a cruel, violent and wicked people.

**They were one of the most cruel people to have ever lived on this earth.

Nah 3:1 Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not;
Nah 3:2 The noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the pransing horses, and of the jumping chariots.
Nah 3:3 The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and the glittering spear: and there is a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcases; and there is none end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses:
Nah 3:4 Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.

History, and archeology has proven all these things to be true!

In reality this commission given to Jonah is much like the “Great Commission” given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jonah was one lone Jew sent into a city of over 600,000 cruel and evil people.

Until Jonah, no Jewish prophet had ever been given such a task.

Amos and Hosea also were prophets of that day but only Jonah was chosen for this particular task.

As believers our soul duty is to share the “Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ”!

Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

But Jonah rebelled against God.

*****Jon 1:3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

Jonah made a tragic decision, he rejected God’s commission.

The truth is, it is impossible to go to Tarshish if God sends you to Nineveh!

Jonah left his home.

Jonah left his nation.

Jonah fled from the Lord.

But those were God’s winds. (The winds would not push that ship through the water)

That ship was sailing on God’s Seas. (The Seas would not bear him!)

Those whales new better than to reject God’s calling. (The natural world is directly under God’s command)

Luk 8:24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.
Luk 8:25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.
Luk 8:26 And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.

When we are disobedient to God it will always affect others.

*****Jon 1:7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.

Now we are never to take part in a lottery but when all lawful means have been seen as worthless then we may have to seek other means.

Sort of like drawing straws or pulling a name out of a hat.

Even these things must be done in a Holy fashion and accompanied with prayer, and great reverence.

We must never treat such a thing as idolatry and we must never apply the Word of God to this action.

If we honor God as the moderator of such a thing, then we must respect the answer we obtain.

Jonah was in open rebellion against the Lord.

Jonah had made a deliberate decision to travel to Tarshish, which was probably to Spain as we know it today.

At that time this was as far away as any ship would sail and Jonah fled to Joppa a seaport to find his ship.

We will notice that any time we are disobedient to the Lord, we can endanger other people.

God also loved the Ninevites as much as Jonah and God would not allow Jonah to destroy his ministry and his life showing His great love for him also.

This ship had no longer left port until God brought a strong storm that endangered the ship.

Jonah became so seasick he went to the bottom of the ship to lie down.

Jonah found himself very weak and completely helpless!

The captain of the ship went to Jonah knowing he was a prophet of God and rebuked Jonah for not praying for the safety of the ship and all who were aboard.

What do we know about prayer?

Psa 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

Jonah was intended to be a prophet of salvation but instead he had become the minister of doom!

Jonah’s disobedience had destroyed his testimony.

The men of this ship worshipped the many pagan gods of the seas and they had come to the conclusion that the God of Jonah was showing His wrath.

We should remember as long as God is chastising us, He is trying to get us to change our ways. No child of God will ever see His wrath but chastisement can still be painful and it is still possible God will just take us on home rather than ruin His testimony or His message.

Jonah said it was certainly His God, Jehovah, who was the Creator of all things, including the wind and the storm that was causing the terror of that day.

These men were terrified to hear of such a God as Jonah worshiped but their question was why would anyone do such a thing as try to run away from such a God.

We should all ask ourselves this same question!

Why would anyone reject such a God as we have?

The only answer they had was that Jonah must be sacrificed so that they could live.

Jonah accepted that it was only fair that he would die for what he had done because not only would these sailors perish but all the Ninevites would also perish.

Certainly God would require his death!

These men tried their best to save Jonah’s life but no one can fight against God and win!

But God will take any situation and make some good come from it!

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

God always knows what men will do!

*****Jon 1:15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.
Jon 1:16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.

First God had to show these sailors that He was the true God as Jonah had said and He calmed the Seas.

We can just imagine how they felt when Jonah hit the waters the Seas became instantly calm.

God had shown His mercy and His grace to these men and it was time for them to make a choice and they made a sacrifice to the Lord and made (vows) not to worship any other god, only the God of the Jews.

God presents opportunities, it is up to us to recognize the work of the Lord and then choose the right way and repent just as these sailors had done.

Mat 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
Mat 7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
Mat 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
Mat 7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Mat 7:28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
Mat 7:29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

We are fools when we witness such things as these sailors did and not realize that only God could have done such a thing!

Christ Jesus showed this same power to the apostles.

Mar 4:36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.
Mar 4:37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
Mar 4:38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
Mar 4:39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
Mar 4:40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
Mar 4:41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

Most all of us in our lifetime have had a near death experience, whether it be a serious accident, a serious illness, a disease that could end in death, or maybe in combat, or a robbery, or an assault.

Over time we have realized that our only hope is in the Lord!

God usually will do one of only three things.

1) He will save us from that danger.
2) He will go with us through that danger and then deliver us.
3) He will carry us above that danger and take us on home to live eternally with Him in Heaven.

God had a special plan for Jonah!

It was God’s intent to cause Jonah to repent and do as he had been sent to do.

*****Jon 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

What we see about God is that He always uses things that are part of His creation and not some out of this world object in His disciplinary actions.

God had used His control over nature to teach those sailors.

Now God uses a great fish to swallow up Jonah.

This was not some random fish that just happen to be swimming by but an especially prepared fish!

This not the only time that God prepared a fish for His own use.

Mat 17:27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

Preparing a fish was a miracle in itself but the greatest miracle was that Jonah survived to write all these things down for us to study!

Now we should be clear, it is impossible for God to lie.
It is impossible that God can contradict Himself.
It is impossible for God not to stay consistent with His message.

As Jesus said, these are the signs of Jonah.

Mat 12:39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
Mat 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Mat 12:41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

Mat 16:2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.
Mat 16:3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
Mat 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

And Jonah finally realized the one thing he had not done which was the most important thing of all!

*****Jon 2:1 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly,
Jon 2:2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “you can pray anywhere” then it must be true. Jonah prayed from the belly of this “Great fish”.

This story is not a parable but the actual truth of the Scriptures. All we need do is believe and we can accept why God would do such a thing.

Jonah had no doubt that he was facing death!

It may be physically impossible for anyone to live inside the belly of a whale for three days but there is nothing to hard for God!

Mar 10:27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

There are many who disagree about the truth of Jonah but the simple truth is, those that believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God have no problem believing the Book of Jonah!

To not believe in the Book of Jonah is to not believe in miracles!

The miracles that God does are all outside the possibilities of this natural world.

We worship a Supernatural God!

Why would God do such a thing?

1) The first thing is obvious. Jonah needed to be saved from drowning but he also needed to feel the irony of being in Hell. Jonah had condemned all the people of Nineveh to Hell. God wanted to show Jonah a taste of Hell without sending Him there. Jonah was indeed a child of God who could never really be sent to Hell because of God’s promise.

Jonah had been seasick on the ship, we can only imagine how he was now.

Jonah describes his journey in the darkness of the whales belly:

Jon 2:5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.
Jon 2:6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.

2) After a taste of Hell, the same Hell he had condemned the Ninevites to, God showed Jonah a taste of “Grace”.

Jonah got to see a true picture of God’s love.

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Jonah would also be this picture of God’s love to the Ninevites.

3) The Lord used a “great fish”. Jesus said it was a “whale”, which in reality was a type of the death of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.

Mat 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

There was also a fourth reason.

4) The Ninevites worshiped a false god they had named Dagon.

Dagon was the fish-god, Dagon had the body of a fish with the head and the hands of a man.

There was also a female version of this false god and this is where the Mermaid gets her start in folklore.

Jonah continued to pray.

*****Jon 2:7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.

Jonah realized that God was listening to his prayer.

When we are in dire circumstances we may shut out hope but that is when “Faith” will take over.

When we realize that the Temple actually was a “type” of Christ, we can realize the only hope we have in this world is in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Tit 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Tit 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Looking for the Lord with a constant expectation and with joy is the only answer to lusts of this world.

Jonah began to realize that his “faith” was based on his hope for righteousness which comes to those who have been filled with the Holy Spirit.

Jonah realized the hope that is laid up for us in Heaven comes from the Word of truth from the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jonah realized that we are saved by our hope, but that hope is not in the things of this world, for how can we place our hope in things that we can see and not God who we cannot see but know that He exists!

As Jonah looked toward Heaven in believing and faithful prayer, he realized his prayer had been heard and God was going to answer him but in his own time which in this case was 3 days and 3 nights.

Every thing God does is for some one to get an opportunity to hear the “Gospel” and all we need do is to obey His calling.

What is the truth of Jonah and to each one that serves the Lord?

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Jonah then became the first submariner.

*****Jon 2:8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
Jon 2:9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.
Jon 2:10 And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

The truth is the Lord will always hear us and help us when we face critical situations!

We must first repent of our sins and then call upon His name to be acceptable to Him!

The Lord will accept no one who lives in sin!

2Ch 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

The Lord gave Jonah a new life, a new beginning and a second chance.

It was the Lord who had led this whale to save Jonah and it was the Lord who led this whale to spew Jonah out as close to Nineveh as it could.

Jonah had been humbled and he would go to Nineveh and preach as God had called him to do.

Many lessons can be learned but we must remember that Jonah’s 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of this whale points to the “death’, the “burial”, and the “resurrection” of the Lord Jesus Christ.

There are no Scriptures in the Bible that are not important!

This is another proof of our own resurrection!

Tit 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
Tit 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Tit 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
Tit 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Another lesson we must learn is that we can save ourselves a whole lot of trouble just by saying yes to the Lord and not trying to run away from His calling!


Let’s Pray!

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