Jonah, The Obedient Preacher
Book of Jonah Chapter 3; 4
Last week we saw Jonah as he disobeyed God and tried to run away and hide. Jonah found that was impossible to do!
We already know that Jonah preached to the Northern Tribes of Israel just as Hosea and he preached at the same time frame as Hosea.
You have to admit that if Jonah had been a missionary supported by this church and we heard of his running away from God, the first thing we would do is drop his support.
God looks into the heart and God had a purpose for Jonah that only he could fulfill. God is the God of the second chance.
Most all of us have made mistakes that we wish we had never made and would love an opportunity to redeem ourselves.
If we have rebelled against God’s call, God does not just let it go at that.
God is a rewarder of all those that obey Him and God simply wants to reward us for things that we should just do out of our love for Him.
I do not believe that there is a true preacher or missionary alive that would not want to have the opportunity that God had called Jonah to do.
God, by example, gave Jonah a fresh start on his mission and his job was to offer an entire city a fresh start in life.
God is not only the God of the “second chance”, God is the God of a “new beginning” the God of “new life”!
After being humbled by the mighty hand of God, Jonah repented. God accepted Jonah’s repentance and restored His prophet and again commissioned him to go to the great city of Nineveh.
*****Jon 3:1 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,
Jon 3:2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
God has a standing statement for every human being.
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
It is obvious by that word “all” that this does not leave anyone out, no matter their nationality. “Race” is an invention of the evolutionists, and does not exist in the Word of God.
God says that there is only one ending for the result of sin.
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death;
This is not the physical death we all will suffer but death by the fact we will be eternally separated from God!
There is only one means of escape. It’s called repentance!
Jonah had been commissioned to “cry” or “to preach” against Nineveh but notice now the Lord says to preach to Nineveh. We can be sure God had already sent the Holy Ghost ahead of Jonah and they were ready even before Jonah got there.
Jonah always only had one commission and that was to preach the Word of God. Jonah had never been called on to express his opinion of that work.
It is impossible for us to understand the ways of God, so we should just do as God inspires us to do and God will never lead us to go against His own words. If it is not against the Word of God then it cannot be wrong if we have rightly interpreted what God is saying.
What’s wrong with the modern day church?
The pulpits have begun to give us their opinions or their personal thoughts and have forgotten that it is only the “Gospel” that can save!
Mar 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
The Apostle Paul clearly understood what God was saying and he is a good example of what preaching is all about.
Act 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
To preach is to deliver the message of God with the authority of God, because the example for that is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself!
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.
And God said to Jonah: arise and go preach my message.
*****Jon 3:3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.
Nineveh was 550 miles from Jerusalem and a city of great importance to the ancient world of that day.
Nineveh would soon become the capitol city of the Assyrian Empire, who God would use to show His wrath to the Northern Tribes of Israel.
Nineveh was so large it would take 3 days to travel around the city limits.
Nineveh was also the same city that Nimrod had established.
Gen 10:9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.
Gen 10:10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.
Gen 10:11 Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah,
Gen 10:12 And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.
The truth is God loved the Ninevites as much as He loves anyone else and He still does but we are all called to repent and believe the “Gospel” of the Lord Jesus Christ.
God had given Noah 120 years to preach His message of wrath, but Jonah told the Ninevites that “Judgment” would come to them in 40 days if they did not repent of their evil ways.
*****Jon 3:4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
Jon 3:5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
Jonah entered the city of Nineveh but notice, he did not first go freshen himself up but he immediately began to preach the message God had given to him.
Jonah did not spend anytime gazing on this great city, he went straight to the work of God.
What we see is that by the ending of day one, the entire city was ready to repent.
Jonah had no need to go any further!
Jonah preached as he walked for his message was not as long message but it was the truth.
Jonah preached that at the end of 40 days Nineveh would be over thrown!
What is the truth of God’s Prophets?
Deu 18:22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.
What is the truth of God’s message?
Jer 18:7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;
Jer 18:8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.
Jer 18:9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;
Jer 18:10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.
We already know that God never changes.
God can bring America to her knees without affecting the rest of the world, if He so chooses!
We should also notice that Jonah preached a complete message.
Many times preachers preach Hell, hot and heavy, but they stop there and do not preach how to miss out on Hell.
Every sinner in their heart know they are sinners, the thing they do not know is how to avoid the wages of sin and an eternity in Hell.
Many other preachers today preach the love of God and leave out the preaching of the wrath of God.
God told Jonah you just give them my message, not yours and not what you interpret my words to mean!
There is a certain amount of “fear” that should be a part of our “faith”!
Psa 2:11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Psa 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
The problem in most pulpits today is that they either “add to” or “take from” God’s message.
We must all remember, we are simply to be messengers of the Word of God!
The simple study of God’s Word is still, (who, what, when, where, and how).
Who is God speaking to.
What is His message.
When did the things take place, including future.
Where did or where will these things happen.
And “How” will God go about doing what He says and how do these things apply to us today.
Remember God teaches by example!
If we keep the Word of God in the context of it’s written message and just accept that what God says is true without questioning His Words, we can begin to be a messenger of God!
These Ninevites responded by the droves.
God was not making an idle threat, He would have certainly destroyed this city in 40 days had they not repented of their evil ways but God knew it all along.
Deep in the heart of Jonah, he also knew this thing and that’s why he rebelled against God.
These fierce pagan people became very humble at the message of God.
We see that whole neighborhoods and communities began to fast and put on sackcloth, a sign of repentance.
**We see first they believed, this is faith.
**Next we see they repented, these are the two necessary things to bring salvation.
What did Jesus say?
Mar 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
This is the same message we should have today!
AND, This great event even reached into the government.
*****Jon 3:6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
Jon 3:7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:
Jon 3:8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
Jon 3:9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
Here we see a government that identified with it’s people. This is a rare thing today!
1) The government demanded that everyone was to fast.
2) The government demanded that every creature to wear sackcloth (all the earth is subject to God)
3) The government demanded that all the citizens were to call on God and repent.
This government was trying to do everything it could to turn back the judgment of God!
This would be a wise thing for our own government to do instead of kicking God out of America!
The truth is, if you believe the Lord and repent of your sins, you are then saved and welcomed into the family of God!
To be converted means:
1) A life of sin will now be a life of righteousness.
2) A carnal nature becomes a spiritual nature.
3) A mind once conformed to this world becomes a mind transformed by the power of God.
4) A soul that was condemned to eternal death to a life of eternal perfection and glory.
It’s called being “Born Again”.
Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
And the Almighty but Merciful God of all “Grace” was satisfied and the people would have piece with God!
*****Jon 3:10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
We should remember it is impossible to deceive God, so this was a true repentance!
This was because they had “faith” that God would do exactly as He said He would do, and God would have because God cannot and will not lie.
There was a deadline of 40 days so these people had decided in just a few days, there was no benefit to waiting to the last minute, in fact that would have shown a lack of repentance and to delay meant destruction.
This is why God will not give us an exact day or hour in which He will return.
We must remember God offers a choice and God will honor our choices right or wrong, but we must understand to choose to go against the will of God is to bring death and destruction to yourself.
There was only one sad person that day and it was Jonah!
*****Jon 4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.
Jon 4:2 And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
There are some people in our world that are so wicked that we simply do not want to have anything to do with them.
It would be very hard to witness to some gay people or some abortionist, or some rapist, or some murderer.
To Jonah, the Assyrians were the most wicked people upon this earth and he did not want them to be saved.
The truth is, the Lord will shower blessings of “Mercy” upon everyone who will repent and call upon His name!
Jonah had been showered with God’s “Mercy” time after time but his heart was hard toward the Ninevites.
Jonah had difficulty in believing that God would save everybody no matter what they had done.
Jonah became very angry and upset with God.
Jonah took the time in His prayer to tell God exactly why he was angry and this is something we all should do.
We have a tendency sometimes to question the “Mercy” of God on certain people as Jonah did this day.
To Jonah, after he had preached the terrible “Judgment” of God, he felt God had simply let them off the hook.
The truth is God can only be God!
God has to obey His own Word or He would be a liar and no one could trust Him.
Mic 7:18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.
Mic 7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
Jonah was so angry that he ask God just to take his life, he wanted to quit on God.
*****Jon 4:3 Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.
Jonah knew that if he went back to Jerusalem saying that Nineveh had been saved because of his preaching, he would not be looked upon very well by his brethren.
Most all Jews wanted Nineveh destroyed!
This is the same way we feel about ISIS and the terrorists today, we want them destroyed!
It is likely that the Jews would never have accepted Jonah as a prophet of God ever again, so Jonah felt he just as well die.
But God’s purpose for Jonah was not complete at this time.
God responded to Jonah in tenderness.
*****Jon 4:4 Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?
God was saying to Jonah, “is your anger a reasonable outcome or is it pointless”
God did not ask Jonah any other question because Jonah needed to meditate on his anger.
Jonah was not angry at the wickedness of Nineveh, Jonah was angry at their repentance!
God warns us that we must not allow anger to become embedded in our hearts.
Anger that remains a long period of time can take us over and consume all our thoughts and even our lives!
Anger will smolder and then erupt in a fit of rage and hostility many times
Eph 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Eph 4:27 Neither give place to the devil.
*****Jon 4:5 So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.
Jon 4:6 And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.
Jon 4:7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.
The truth is even a prophet of God still needs instruction.
Jonah sought a place where he could be alone and out of sight of everyone.
Jonah wanted to be a spectator to the destruction of Nineveh but he did not want to be seen by them.
Jonah found a place on the east side of the city where he could still observe the happenings of the city because he wanted to be sure that the repentance of that city was real.
Jonah still wanted to witness the destruction of Nineveh but all he saw was a city humbling themselves and
repenting to the Lord.
We know that a booth is just a shelter made from branches of trees and those leaves quickly withered in the hot sun and God prepared a gourd to cover the head of Jonah to keep him cool and Jonah was exceedingly glad for the gourd.
God providing this plant was a direct act of compassion.
But the next morning God prepared a worm to cause the gourd to whither and again Jonah was in the sun.
God sent an east wind and Jonah was over whelmed by the heat until he fainted.
Again God spoke to Jonah.
*****Jon 4:8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.
Jon 4:9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.
Jon 4:10 Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:
Jon 4:11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?
People wonder if God does actually use nature to teach us valuable lessons. We can be sure He does!
The temperatures can easily reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit in that area and Jonah succumbed to the heat.
God immediately reached down from Heaven and again saved Jonah.
God said to Jonah “was it right to be angry with the gourd that had left him in misery”? Jonah said yes.
So God knew Jonah was ready to learn a new lesson.
1) Jonah had a great concern for his own health while he intended to watch the destruction of many thousands of people.
Today we see a society that says they have a great concern for our children while they oversee the destruction of the unborn children up to and including that one that is at 9 months.
If Jonah had such great pity for that plant that he had not even planted nor cultivated but had only lived a short time and was really valueless, How much more would the Lord have pity on the many thousands of Nineveh.
And how much more will God have pity on the unborn and the elderly who are being push aside and forgotten.
Our God never changes!
What had God said to Abraham?
Gen 18:23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
Gen 18:24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?
After the preaching of Jonah there were many righteous people in Nineveh!
What is always the truth of God?
Nah 1:2 God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.
God simply will not show His wrath as long as there are righteous people in these places!
The truth is many guilty cities and even nations have been spared because they contained some of God’s people.
This is the very reason the wrath of God cannot come until after the “Rapture” of the Church.
This is the only time that there will be not one righteous person on this earth!
The Apostle Paul wrote these words about the Lord Jesus Christ:
1Co 2:8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
The same goes for the Church! If this world encouraged Christianity rather than trying to stop it, this world would never see the wrath of God!
2) When Jonah thought more of his own comforts than for the spiritual welfare of 600,000 people who were lost then he was not acting like a true man of God.
Our Lord will show His compassion to all people!
Lam 3:21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
Lam 3:22 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
Lam 3:23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
Psa 145:8 The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.
Psa 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
Psa 145:15 The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.
Psa 145:16 Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
Mat 18:33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
3) Then God asked Jonah, Since the Lord is the Creator of all life, why should He not show concern for all His creations.
Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
To be honest how could we serve a God that was not like our God?
Every soul is a jewel from the treasure chest of Heaven and God wants them all back!
2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
We are fools not to answer the call of God!
We are all made from the same lump of clay!
Gen 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Rom 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
Rom 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
Rom 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Rom 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
Rom 9:23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
Rom 9:24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
The Book of Jonah ends with this Scripture but we know that Jonah went on being a prophet of God.
The Book of Jonah shows us how not to behave in the service of the Lord!
It is a fact that there are no unimportant people in the eyes of God!
There are no sinners who have sinned so greatly that God will reject them if they repent!
As Christians we should never rebel against God!
We are never to disobey God!
We should never argue with God!
We should never question God’s judgment!
We are only called to witness to the lost and we must remember all vengeance belongs to the Lord!
We should never quit on God, for God will simply put us a shelf and get someone else to do what we refuse to do!
We may not know much out about Jonah, but we can sure that while he was hot and miserable, he was awakened to the truth of God and it changed his life forever.
Sometimes we expect to much from God’s prophets but after all they were all just ordinary men just as we are and they made mistakes just as we do!
We should never under estimate the “Mercy Of God”!
And we should never under estimate the “Love of God”!
After all God sent His own Son to pay the sin debt for the entire population from the days of Adam to a day that has not yet come!