God’s Grace on a Reluctant Prophet – Jonah 1 & 2

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Pastor Scott L. Harris

Grace Bible Church, NY

July 12, 2009

God’s Grace on a Reluctant Prophet

Jonah 1-2

 

Introduction

 

For the next couple of weeks I want to examine the book of Jonah, one of the
most maligned books in the Scriptures. Atheists, agnostics and skeptics will
often point to it with ridicule in their effort to persuade people that the
Bible is just a collection of ancient myths that were morality tales for
primitive people subject to belief in wild tales of supernatural events. For
them, Jonah is just a whale of a story, but as we will see in our study this
morning, there is no mention of a whale in the book. Such people think of
themselves as sophisticated, but the reality is that they are proud fools who
make their determinations based on their own limited experiences and the claims
of their own priestly class of philosophers and pseudo-scientists. While they
are quick to reject the miracles recorded in the Bible as ridiculous, they
themselves take giant leaps of faith in believing that all that exists is the
result of random processes of evolution. Their faith is in the speculations of
man that are without foundation and contrary to even their own stated
methodology of knowing. They claim to be reasonable, logical and scientific, yet
their evolutionary tales are not observable, repeatable, or testable nor do they
correlate with what is observed in the real world. Therefore they are not
scientific, logical or reasonable. At least my faith is in a supernatural being
that is capable of doing what He claims to have done and is backed up by first
hand witnesses. If that makes me primitive, then it is to be preferred to
sophisticated foolishness.

I was amazed at how many commentators take up the same line of reasoning as
the skeptics and reject it as the record of historical events and instead claim
the book of Jonah is an allegory or a legend, or a myth, or a moral fable or
parable or prophetic didactic fiction. However, the historical truth of this Old
Testament narrative is seen in its many historical and geographical statements
that correspond with the ancient accounts of the size and moral corruption of
that city. The mission of Jonah and his reaction to it also agrees with the
historical circumstances of that time. Even the mourning of the men and cattle
match the Asiatic custom of that time. Then there is also the historical
accuracy of the description of the ship and its crew along with their reactions.
It is also important to note that the uniform tradition of the Jews is that
Jonah wrote this book and so it was accepted as prophecy into the cannon of the
Old Testament. Finally, there is the fact that Jesus believed the story of Jonah
to be an historical fact and cited it as such in Matthew 12, Mark 16 and Luke
11.

Jonah, whose name means “Dove,” is first mentioned in 2 Kings 14:25. We know
it is the same man because he is identified there and in the book of Jonah as
the son of Amittai. He was from Gath-hepher which according to Jerome was
located 3 miles north of Nazareth in the land of Zebulon on the road from
Sephoris to Tiberias. We also discover in 2 Kings 14 that Jonah was a prophet
during the reign of King Jeroboam II of Israel (793-753 B.C.)
and had prophesied that God would restore the border of Israel from the
entrance of Hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah during Jeroboam’s reign.
Those areas had been captured in earlier years and Jeroboam’s father had started
the struggle to regain them from Israel’s enemies.

This morning we are going to examine the first two chapters and God’s mercy
on a reluctant prophet, and then next week we will look at chapters 3 & 4
and God’s mercy on a repentant people.


Jonah’s Assignment Jonah 1:1-2

The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, 2 “Arise, go
to Nineveh the great city, and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up
before Me.”

As already noted from 2 Kings 14, Jonah is a prophet of God and prophets
receive assignments from the Lord they are to then carry out. The Lord gave
Jonah the specific assignment of going to a foreign land and cry out against the
city of Ninevah which was the capital of Assyria and a great city both in size
and importance.

It was located on the banks of the Tigris river near what is now Mosul, Iraq.
Diodor records it as the greatest city of antiquity with a circumference of 480
furlongs (60 miles) and a diameter of 150 furlongs (18 ¾ miles) (Heroduotus). Its walls were reported to be 100 feet
high and wide enough for 3 or 4 chariots to drive abreast. The wall was flanked
with 1500 towers that were 200 ft high. The greater Nineveh area was shaped like
a trapezoid and included the space between the Tigris, Khosr, Great Zab and Gasr
Su rives and the mountains east of the Tigris. It is an area about 25 miles long
and 15 miles wide encompassing about 378 square miles and could easily have held
the 120, 000 + people mentioned in Jonah 4:11. As the capital of the Assyrian
empire, Ninevah was also great in importance as the center of government, trade
and commerce.

However, it was because “their wickedness has come up before Me” that
the Lord was giving it His attention. This is similar to the Lord’s attention
being given to Sodom and Gomorrah because of the outcry of their exceeding sin
(Genesis 18:20). Assyrian cruelty had already become
legendary by this time. The boasting of King Ashur-Nasirpal II graphically
illustrates this. “I stormed the mountain peaks and took them. In the midst
of the mighty mountains I slaughtered them; with their blood I dyed the mountain
red . . . The heads of their warriors I cut off, and I formed them into a pillar
over against the city . . . I flayed all the chief men who had revolted, and I
covered the pillar with their skins; some I walled up within the pillar, some I
impaled on stakes, and others I bound to stakes round about the pillar”
(Lukenbill, Ancient Records of Assyria & Babylonia, paragraphs
447, 443). These were not nice people.

Jonah was to go there and “cry against” this city. This is the only case of a
prophet actually being sent to a heathen nation to preach. The normal practice
was for the prophet to give a declaration against foreign nations from their own
land. Jonah would have been glad to have done that if preaching against it was
all there was to it, for he would have been happy to announce and see the
destruction of these wicked people that were the enemies of Israel. It would
only be 20-30 years later that Assyria would conquer Israel and deport its
people. However, from Jonah’s comments in chapter 4, he also knew that in
preaching against the city there was the possibility that they might repent and
God would show them mercy. Jonah did not want that.


Jonah’s Response Jonah 1:3

But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. So he
went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and
went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

Instead of going Northeast toward Ninevah, Jonah heads in the opposite
direction down to the coast and the port of Joppa on the southern border of
Israel. From there he pays the fare and gets on a ship heading to Tarshish,
which was the most remote of the Phoenician trading cities at that time. It was
located on the southern coast of Spain near the mouth of the Baetis
(Guadalquivir) river.

Some have supposed that because Jonah was seeking to flee from the “presence
of the Lord” that he was an ignorant man that did not understand God’s
omnipresence. That is extremely unlikely considering how well Jonah knew the
Psalms, as we shall see in chapter 2. He would have known Psalm 139 and that
even if he took the wings of the dawn or dwelt in the remotest part of the sea
that God would be there. The particular words used here indicate that he was not
fleeing from God as much as fleeing from the place where God manifested Himself
and where he was God’s servant. The idea being that Jonah would not have to
serve God as a prophet if he fled from Israel. Jonah would learn the hard way
that his idea was false and his efforts would be futile.

People still try similar things today. God calls them to some particular
ministry that for whatever reason they do not want to do, so they go the
opposite direction. It could be fear. It could be selfishness. It could be like
Jonah a desire for revenge instead of mercy. They may not flee physically by
traveling to some other geographical location, but they will find things to do
other than what God wants them to do. It could even be good things they are
doing, but if it is not what God wants from them then they are in reality no
different from Jonah. We have to lay aside every encumbrance to service as well
as sin in order run the race God has set before us (Hebrews
12:1-2)
. Sometimes we can just get to be too busy to do what God wants.
Someone sent me an acronym that described busy as Being Under
Satan’s Yoke. While that was not Jonah’s specific problem,
anything we do that keeps us from obeying the Lord is a problem, and we do not
want to learn the hard way, as Jonah did, that God is serious about wanting us
to obey and serve Him.


God’s Correction of Jonah Jonah 1:4-17

4 And the Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm
on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. 5 Then the sailors became
afraid, and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in
the ship into the sea to lighten [it] for them. But Jonah had gone below into
the hold of the ship, lain down, and fallen sound asleep. 6 So the captain
approached him and said, “How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your
god. Perhaps [your] god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.”

It did not take long for God to intervene into Jonah’s plans. Verse 4 is
specific that it was God that “hurled a great wind” against the ship, and it did
not take long for these pagan sailors to recognize that this was not a normal
storm. Their first reaction of each sailor was to cry out to his god for
deliverance, but none came. Their second step was to do all they could humanly
do to save their own lives by casting out the cargo in order to lighten the ship
and keep it from getting swamped and sinking. While all of this is going on,
Jonah had fallen asleep in the hold of the ship and was oblivious to the danger
they were in. The text does not say anything about why he was asleep, only that
he was in a deep sleep. It is pure speculation whether he was sleeping out of
despair, out of security or was just plain tired. When the captain found Jonah
asleep, he did not really care why Jonah was asleep but quickly got him up and
called on Jonah to pray to his god that perhaps they might not perish. Remember
that the pagan idea of a god is that each one controlled or influenced only
certain things. Their prayers to their gods had not been successful, so his hope
was that perhaps Jonah’s God would be able to do something about it. Jonah’s God
could and would, but not immediately and not in the way they expected.

 

7 And each man said to his mate, “Come, let us cast lots so we may learn on
whose account this calamity [has struck] us.” So they cast lots and the lot fell
on Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, “Tell us, now! On whose account [has] this
calamity [struck] us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What
is your country? From what people are you?”

 

Since the storm still continued unabated, they next cast lots to determine
who might be the reason for their situation. They assumed that a god caused the
storm because one of them had offended Him. They were correct. They cast lots to
find the guilty party, and as Proverbs 16:33 states, “The lot is cast into
the lap, But its every decision is from the Lord.”
Jonah was revealed as the
source of trouble. This resulted in a series of questions to find out who he was
and why a god would be so angry with him. Essentially, it is an effort to get
him to confess. The answer caused them even greater fear.

9 And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord God of heaven
who made the sea and the dry land.” 10 Then the men became extremely frightened
and they said to him, “How could you do this?” For the men knew that he was
fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.

Jonah revealed himself as a Hebrew because that was the name by which those
of Israel were known to foreigners. His revelation of the identify of his God
and the Lord’s power frightened them because this God was much more powerful
than their gods. No wonder their prayers and efforts had been futile. They are
also afraid because Jonah had also revealed that he was fleeing from God, so
what could possibly be done to appease Him? Since they did not know the Lord
God, it only made sense to them to ask Jonah what would they should do so that
the sea would calm down.

 

11 So they said to him, “What should we do to you that the sea may become
calm for us?”– for the sea was becoming increasingly stormy. 12 And he said to
them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for
you, for I know that on account of me this great storm [has come] upon you.” 13
However, the men rowed [desperately] to return to land but they could not, for
the sea was becoming [even] stormier against them.

 

The situation was getting more desperate as the storm grew worse, but they
did not like Jonah’s answer at all. From their perspective, they have a man that
is trying to flee from God and for all they know his solution of having them
through him overboard would just be the next step in his effort to flee God for
which they would be in trouble with that God for murdering him. They make an
even stronger effort to row to shore, but as they did so the storm and sea
became worse. They were now to the point of desperation.

14 Then they called on the Lord and said, “We earnestly pray, O Lord, do
not let us perish on account of this man’s life and do not put innocent blood on
us; for Thou, O Lord, hast done as Thou hast pleased.” 15 So they picked up
Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging. 16 Then the men
feared the Lord greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.

The sailors realized their only hope was in the God of Jonah, so they pray to
Him seeking mercy in both not perishing because of God’s punishment of Jonah and
in not being responsible for Jonah’s death when they cast him overboard. They
have tried everything else they could think of and now recognize this was what
the Lord wanted, so they pick up Jonah and throw him overboard. The sailors now
have an even greater fear of the Lord because the sea suddenly stopped. They
suspected the storm to be from a divine source from the beginning because of its
unusual nature, then with the casting of the lot, Jonah’s claim and now the
sudden ceasing of the storm when they carried out Jonah’s instruction, they have
confirmation that the storm was from a very powerful God they had not known
until then. They offered a sacrifice right then in worship of God and made vows
to Him.

Jonah was a disobedient prophet, but God was going to use him anyway wherever
he went. The circumstances were frightening, but they were just what were needed
for Jonah to become a reluctant witness of God to these pagan sailors. He had
not told them of the God he served previously, but God forced the confession
through the lot and then demonstrated His power in both the storm and its sudden
calmness. I don’t think that is how any of us want to witness for the Lord, but
if we will not be witnesses for Him willingly, then beware because the Lord may
bring circumstances into your life, as He did Jonah, so that you are a reluctant
witness.

The sailors learned about the Lord through the circumstances brought upon
them by Jonah’s disobedience. That is a good thing. Jonah would now learn about
the Lord’s persistence and mercy in a most unusual way.


Jonah in the Fish Jonah 1:17


17 And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the
stomach of the fish three days and three nights
.

It is this verse and the subsequent prayer and deliverance that causes the
skeptics to ridicule the story of Jonah. But in reality, this aspect of the
story is no more miraculous than the storm and its sudden ceasing. God created
nature and He controls it any way that pleases Him to bring Himself glory.

Our text tells us that “the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow
Jonah.”
Note first of all that the Lord “appointed” this great fish to carry
out this task and did not create the fish specifically for this task. It was an
animal that was already in existence and God simply directed it to do what He
wanted it to do. Second, note that this is a fish and not a whale. The Hebrew
word for whale is tanik and that is not used here. It is dag in Hebrew and khtei / katei in the Greek
LXX which are both words for fish.

While this seems to be beyond belief to skeptics, the reality is that there
have been cases of large sea creatures swallowing people and animals whole.
There are large fish that frequent the waters of the Mediterranean Sea where
Jonah was cast. The cachalot or sperm whale also occurs there and is also
recorded to have swallowed animals whole. Of particular interest is the story of
the sailor James Bartley who was swallowed by a sperm whale in February 1891 and
survived the experience when his ship mates caught the whale and found him
inside the next day when they were cutting it up for processing. However, since
I have already pointed out the word used here is for a fish and not a whale,
that animal probably should not be considered in the case of Jonah, though it is
also recorded to expell its contents on occasion as would have occurred with
Jonah.

There are also records of whale sharks (Rhinodon typicus
or Rhincodon typus)
swallowing people and them surviving. J.
Vernon McGee reports a case cited by Dr. Harry Rimmer of meeting an early 1920’s
English sailor who was swallowed by a whale shark, then the shark was harpooned
a couple of days later and the sailor was found inside the stomach alive. Whale
sharks do not inhabit the Mediterranean Sea in the present time. I do not know
if they lived there during Jonah’s day or if God may have sent one in to swallow
him.

Several writers also cite the Canis carcharias and the Squalus
carcharias
L. as fish large enough to swallow a man. In modern taxonomy both
of these fish turn out to be Carcharodon carcharias or the Great White
Shark which does frequent the Mediterranean Sea. Dr. Pusey cites this shark as
being up to 10,000 pounds, commonly found up to 30ft in length and that
“horses have been found whole in its stomach.”

It is of course unknown exactly what kind of fish swallowed Jonah nor is it
necessary to know the species God used for this. God specifically appointed a
great fish to accomplish this task. The examples are given simply to point out
to skeptics that similar events have occurred even in modern times.

Jonah 3:17 tells us that he spends three days and three nights in the stomach
of the fish. This does not mean he had to spend a full 72 hours in the fish, but
only that according to the Hebrew usage of this kind of phrasing, that at some
point on the third day after being swallowed, the fish vomited Jonah up (Jonah
2:10). Jesus cited this as historical fact and said it was the sign that would
be given to the adulterous generation he was dealing with that “just as Jonah
was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall the
Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”
(Matthew 12:39-40).


Jonah’s Prayer Jonah 2:1-9

Some have speculated that Jonah may have died while in the fish and then was
revived later. However, Jonah 2:1 plainly states “Then Jonah prayed to the
Lord his God from the stomach of the fish,”
and the psalmist make it clear
that the “dead do not praise the Lord” (Psalm 115:17 – see also
Psalm 6:5 & 30:9)
. I think any of us can understand why Jonah prayed
in this situation. What else could he do? There is no record that Jonah prayed
about going to Ninevah before he fled to sail to Tarshish. The sad thing is that
it is easy for Christians to fall into a similar situation in that they only
become serious in praying when there are no other options left for them. Jonah
would have done much better if he had prayed before finding himself in the belly
of a fish. We would do much better if we would be diligent in prayer before we
find ourselves in very difficult circumstances, yet we must also recognize God’s
hand in the circumstances to bring us to where we should have been in the first
place and praise Him for it just as Jonah did.

Jonah’s prayer is given in a poetic form with a preamble in verse 2 and then
three strophes. Verses 3-4 and then 5-7 describe his distress with the final
stanza in verses 8-9 closing as a vow of thanksgiving. This prayer shows that
Jonah was very familiar with the Psalms with every verse quoting or alluding to
one or more sections of 17 various passages in the Psalms. Using the Psalms and
other Scriptures as the basis for prayer is a great way to pray correctly and
effectively.

Jonah’s prayer begins with of his action and the Lord’s response in a common
Hebrew poetical form of two parallel thoughts. 2 “and he said, “I called out
of my distress to the Lord, And He answered me. I cried for help from the depth
of Sheol; Thou didst hear my voice.”
Jonah was in great distress which he
describes in the second line as being in the depth of Sheol which describes the
danger of death from which there appeared to be no escape. What possible hope
could there be for someone entrapped in the belly of a great fish except the
Lord hear his prayers and intervene. Jonah gives praise that the Lord did hear
and answer.

The next two verses form the first stanza which describes his distress in
greater detail. 3 “For Thou hadst cast me into the deep, Into the heart of
the seas, And the current engulfed me. All Thy breakers and billows passed over
me. 4 “So I said, ‘I have been expelled from Thy sight. Nevertheless I will look
again toward Thy holy temple.’
Jonah recognized that though it was the
sailors that physically had cast him overboard, it was in reality the Lord God
that cast him into the sea. The language then describes the plight of someone
struggling to stay afloat in the middle of the sea but is caught in the current
to be taken wherever it goes and being washed over by the waves and billows.
Anyone that has been in the ocean or even a large lake in the midst of a storm
would understand Jonah’s situation of it being nearly impossible to keep his
head above water as the waves toss him about and the breakers crash over him.
Again, Jonah recognizes that this is from God. All appearance is that God has
rejected him, yet Jonah responds with faith that God in His grace would allow
him in the future to once more come into His presence in the Temple and worship.

Our circumstances can be difficult and at times overwhelming. We can at times
even feel like God has abandoned us. The missionary David Brainered described
this as his “dark night of soul.” But the truth is that we can always have hope
in the mercy and grace of God.

The next stanza gives further description of Jonah’s distress. 5 “Water
encompassed me to the point of death. The great deep engulfed me, Weeds were
wrapped around my head. 6 “I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth
with its bars [was] around me forever, But Thou hast brought up my life from the
pit, O Lord my God. 7 “While I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord; And my
prayer came to Thee, Into Thy holy temple.”

The description here is of sinking beneath the waves and descending to the
bottom. Jonah recognized that he was near death with the sea weed wrapped around
his head indicating that he had not yet been swallowed by the great fish. It is
not clear if he went all the way to the bottom of the sea before or after being
swallowed, but either way the fish swallowing him turned out to be God’s means
of saving him from drowning. Just as he was fainting away, God answered his
prayer and brought up his life from the pit.

Jonah was thankful for this and concludes his prayer with thanksgiving and
vows. 8 “Those who regard vain idols Forsake their faithfulness, 9 But I will
sacrifice to Thee With the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will
pay. Salvation is from the Lord.”

Jonah contrasts the hope he had in the Lord with the false hope of those who
worshiped idols. It is foolishness to trust in an idol for they cannot see,
hear, or move being created things themselves instead of the creator. Jonah had
a confident assurance that God who had already delivered him from death by
drowning would also deliver him from the belly of the fish so that he would be
able to fulfill his vows to give praise to God with his voice and offer up
sacrifices in worship. Indeed, salvation is from the Lord and Him alone.

There is no doubt that being in the stomach of the fish was not a pleasant
experience, yet it was still much better than the alternative which Jonah fully
deserved. We need to respond as Jonah did when our circumstances become
difficult and seemingly unbearable. If we are humble and look we will see and
recognize the Lord’s deliverance even through difficult experiences. We do not
have to enjoy or even like them in order to recognize they are much better than
the alternatives and therefore give thanks to God. Proud people complain while
the humble pray and praise.


Jonah’s Deliverance Jonah 2:10

God used the fish to deliver Jonah from drowning, but the Lord also delivered
Jonah from the danger of being in the belly of the fish. “Then the Lord
commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land
.”

As already noted, Jonah had been in the stomach of the fish for three days
and nights before he escaped from it. There are three things I want you to note
from verse 10. First, the fish was commanded by the Lord to do what it did. That
was true when it swallowed Jonah and it was still true when it released Jonah.

Second, the fish vomited Jonah up. This was the action of the fish, not Jonah
escaping by his own means or someone cutting him out as was the case with the
sailors I mentioned earlier that were swallowed by a whale or whale shark. Jonah
was helpless from the time he was cast overboard until he was disgorged by the
fish.

Third, Jonah was put onto dry land. Jonah had traveled east toward Tarshish,
but God had the fish not only preserve Jonah’s life, but also transport him back
west so that he could fulfill his assignment of preaching in Ninevah.

 

Conclusions

 

When God calls you to serve Him, and He does call every Christian to serve
Him in some way, you have two choices. You can do it His way willingly, or you
can do it His way reluctantly. If you do it willingly, you may still have
difficult circumstances to endure because we are told that all who strive to
live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy
3:2)
, but you will also know His blessings in the midst of it. You will
be able to rejoice even as the apostles and prophets have done before you.

If you do it reluctantly, you will be subject to God’s chastening which will
include difficult circumstances as God changes your mind to do it. In addition,
you will not receive the joy of seeing God at work until your attitude also
changes. Don’t be a Jonah.

 

KIDS CORNER

 

Parents, you are responsible to
apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young
Children
– draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon.
Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – 1)
Count how many times Jonah is mentioned. 2) Talk with your parents about Jonah’s
incredible experience and his prayer for deliverance.

 

THINK ABOUT IT!

 

Questions to consider in
discussing the sermon with others. Why do skeptics ridicule the book of Jonah?
In what unbelievable things do atheists place their faith? What are some of the
reasons that we can believe that the book of Jonah is an accurate historical
narrative? Who was Jonah? When did he live? What did he do? What was the ancient
city of Ninevah like in terms of size and importance? What was the moral
character of the Assyrians? Describe them. The Lord told Jonah to “cry against”
Ninevah – Why didn’t he want to do that? Why did Jonah go to Joppa? What was he
hoping to escape? Where is Tarshish and why would Jonah want to go there? How do
you try to flee the Lord’s commands to you? What was the source of the storm?
How did the sailors determine that it had a supernatural origin? What did they
do in response? By casting lots they determined that Jonah was the cause of the
problems. Why did Jonah’s confession make them even more frightened? Why did
they try even harder to row to shore instead of casting Jonah into the sea as he
had told them to do? What made them change their minds and what did they do
before they threw Jonah overboard? What happened immediately after that and what
was its effect on the sailors? How had God used Jonah in the lives of these
sailors? What kind of animal swallowed Jonah? Are there any other stories of men
being swallowed by a sea creature and surviving? How long was Jonah in the
creatures belly? What did Jesus believe about Jonah and how did He use Jonah as
a sign of Himself? How does Jonah’s prayer show his familiarity with the Psalms?
What was Jonah’s distress? How severe was it? What did He do about it? What was
the Lord’s response? Why was being swallowed by the fish a blessing from God?
What was Jonah’s response/attitude while in the fish? How will you respond to
God’s commands in the future?

 


Sermon Notes – 7/12/2009

God’s Grace on a Reluctant Prophet – Jonah 1 & 2

 

Introduction

 

Skeptics _________the story of Jonah while having _____in the even harder
to believe myth of evolution

The skeptics are _____ scientific, logical or reasonable.

Jonah is presented as narrative and is _____________ in geographic and
historical descriptions

Jewish tradition uniformly _________ Jonah as prophecy, and Jesus cites
it as historical _____(Matt. 12).

Jonah, the son of Amittai is from Gath-hepher, is a ______during the
reign of Jeroboam II (793-753 B.C.)


Jonah’s Assignment Jonah 1:1-2

The city of Ninevah, located on the _______river (near modern Mosul,
Iraq) is great in size & importance

___ mile circumference, 18 ¾ mile diameter. 378 sq. mi. Walls: 100 ft
high with _____ towers 200ft high

The Assyrians were known for their ___________

Jonah was to “cry _________” Ninevah, but he knew that could result in
their repentance & God’s mercy


Jonah’s Response Jonah 1:3

Jonah took a ship going to ______________, which is located on the
southern coast of Spain.

Jonah was well versed in the _________and was not fleeing God’s
omnipresence, but from serving Him

People still try to ________ from serving God for various reasons


God’s Correction of Jonah Jonah 1:4-17

God sent a ________ against Jonah’s ship which made the sailor cry out to
their gods for deliverance

They cast _________ to determine who was the reason the storm. The lot
fell to Jonah (Prov. 16:33)

Jonah confessed he was a __________ that feared the God made the sea and
dry land that as fleeing God

The sailors were more ______, but did not want to be responsible for
killing a prophet. They rowed harder

The sailors finally prayed to the _____for mercy, then obeyed Jonah’s
instructions & threw him overboard

Jonah was disobedient, but God used him anyway to bring the knowledge of
the Lord to the _________


Jonah in the Fish Jonah 1:17

The Lord _________ the great fish to swallow Jonah. It was an animal
already in existence that God used

This is a fish, not a ________ – which would have been a different word.

Sperm whales are recorded as having swallowing _________ and them
surviving. So have Whale Sharks

Great White Sharks have been found in the Mediterranean
__________________to have swallowed Jonah

Jonah is released from the fish on the __day, Jesus cites this as fact
and a sign of His death & resurrection


Jonah’s Prayer Jonah 2:1-9

Jonah prays from the ___________ of the fish – he did not die in the
fish.

Jonah’s prayer quotes or alludes to 17 different passages in the
____________

Jonah was in ________and it appeared he would die, but the Lord _____and
answered his prayer – verse 2

Verses 3 & 4 describe his struggle to stay ________ in the storm. He
felt forsaken, but had faith anyway

Verses 5-7 describe his plummet to the ________of the sea. He continued
to pray even as he was fainting

Jonah was thankful and concludes with ____________ and vows of future
worship – verses 8 & 9

Jonah contrasts his hope in the __________ with the false hope of those
who trust in idols

A fish swallowing him was not pleasant, but it was better than _______-
& God’s means of correcting him


Jonah’s Deliverance Jonah 2:10

The fish was ____________ by God and it obeyed

The ________ vomited Jonah up. He was neither rescued nor made his own
way out

Jonah was put onto ______________ from where he could continue on to
Ninevah.

 

Conclusions

 

You can serve God either ______________ or reluctantly, but God will
accomplish His will.HTML clipboard



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