The only real, practical measure of my appreciation for the
goodness and mercy of God to me is the extent to which I am, in
turn, prepared to show goodness and mercy to others.
We begin a most interesting book today. Everyone in the book
shines, but Jonah! We've loved this story since we were small,
because it is so easy to understand... a fish swallows a man... it
swims to shore and out comes the man! Alive and well.
But when we are older, we look at the story and learn that it
is so big in its meaning that we can see Christ going into death
and coming back to life. Even that Jonah was the first Hebrew
prophet sent to the Gentiles with a message. And further that
Jonah is a picture of the Jewish nation utterly, hopelessly lost,
and Nineveh is a picture of the whole world hearing a message from
God through a Jew!
Jon 1:1-3 He is told by the Lord to go to the great Gentile
city of Nineveh, and tell the people that God saw all their
wickedness, and that the city would be destroyed in 40 days.
Jon 1:4-17 But Jonah runs away from the Lord. Did you ever do
that? Did you ever feel that you should speak to someone about his
or her soul, and then you didn't? Did God let Jonah do what he
wanted? Yes. He let him go the whole way, even letting the men
throw him into the sea.
Jon 1:15 Only one way salvation can come to a person... through
death (Romans 3:25).
Jon 1:17 But! What kindness of the Lord!
Prayer is mentioned in each chapter - 1:14, 2:1, 3:8, 4:2.
The Lord works where there is simplicity and devotedness.
Jon 2:1 Notice how late Jonah was in starting to pray. God
often lets us go a long way down that road of doing what we want
to do. But when we get toward the end, we find that things are not
working out as we had hoped! Then we remember Him and start to
pray. Verse 1, Jonah prays to live. In 4:8 he prays to die!
Jon 2:2-9 See how many different Psalms you can find from which
Jon 2:10 What kindness of the Lord!
Fellowship = consciousness of common interest.
Jon 3:1-4 The second time, the Lord tells Jonah to go and give
His message to Nineveh. This time he goes.
Jon 3:5-9 The people hear the warning message from Jonah. It
surely must have been a strange sermon. Only eight words. Notice
that it does not say that the people believed Jonah. This is
important to remember when we tell unsaved people about the Lord
Jesus Christ. It is God's message. What kindness of the Lord!
Jon 3:8 The people of Nineveh were told to do two things... (1)
Pray to God and (2) turn away from their evil doings. Both are
needed in our life.
I must learn to learn.
Jon 4:1 Why do you think Jonah was angry?
Jon 4:2-4 Because he thought of himself before others and
before the Lord. He tells why he ran away, because he knew that
the Lord was gracious, and that He would not carry out the threat
of destruction! He would rather have had all dead in Nineveh than
that his words would not be carried out!
Jon 4:5-7 In verse 6 it says that the LORD God sent a blessing,
but in verse 7 it says that GOD sent the destroying worm. His
grace does the first, His righteousness does the second.
Jon 4:5-11 So the Lord causes a miracle to happen. Did Jonah do
anything to make the tree grow? He was glad when a good thing came
his way, but angry when a bad thing happened. Often believers are
like this. And this is what we can learn from this story. The Lord
always has a lesson for us to learn in all the things which happen
Jon 4:11 To come to know the Lord better is to learn how
gracious and kind He is to everyone of us who has put his trust in
the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jonah was a sign to the Gentiles (Nineveh); read Luke 11:30;
and a sign to the Jews - Matt. 12:39.