(seldom emphasized but important lessons we still need today) You know the basic story….
God required Jonah to report to Nineveh, 1:1-2 But Jonah retreated toward Tarshish! 1:3
“So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging.” God then reins Jonah with a raging tempest, 1:4-9; Jonah realizes and reports the resolution, 1:9-12; The sailors are reluctant, but relent, 1:13-15; and repent, 1:16.
“And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.” 1:17 “Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish…” 2:1ff
“Then the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up on dry land.” 2:10 “Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you.’” 3:1-2 “So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord…” 3:3a
Nineveh’s reception (of the word), repentance, 3:4-9; God relents, and Nineveh is redeemed, 3:10!
Jonah’s resentment, 4:1-3; God’s reminders, 4:4- 11. But what’s the point of it all? That God loves all people and wants all to be saved? Sure, Rom.1:16; 1Tim.2:4; Titus 2:11- 15… But is that it?
Consider this question: Why was it so important that Jonah go to Nineveh? Why not let the whale be the end of it for Jonah, and send someone else to Nineveh, cf. Esther 4:14? Because the story is about Jonah’s salvation as much as Nineveh’s… and there was something yet lacking (cf. Luke 18:22ff)…
Jonah was doing the right things, finally… But his “heart was not right” (cf. Acts 8:21): 1. He sought pleasure from the wrong sources, v.1,; 2. He thought only of himself, vv.2-5 3. He didn’t get the value of others’ souls, vv.6-11, but perhaps most importantly… 4. He didn’t love his enemies, v.2
Jonah begged to die, but was not ready… He needed God’s compassion as much as Nineveh! Now, we could ask: “Where is your Nineveh?” “Even if your actions are (finally) right, is your heart right?” What does your story indicate? But first, there are a couple more points…
Seldom Emphasized Lesson #1 from Chapter 1: You could be “the one” putting the whole ship in peril: Like Achan to Israel, Josh.7:1ff; Like Korah did to his family, Num.16:1-3, 31-35; Like the immoral man did to his brethren, 1Cor.5.
Seldom Emphasized Lesson #2 from Chapter 2: When your disobedience leads to “rock bottom” (or the belly of a “great fish”), have sense enough to “stop digging” or “sinking deeper” and repent! Like Jonah, our initial mistakes are usually made much worse by stubborn rebellion and refusal to simply confess, repent, and return.
Seldom Emphasized Lesson #3 from Chapter 3: Doing what God says, when God says, where God says, how God says ALWAYS WORKS BETTER! This is dependent on: Having our mind right; Having our heart right; And, having our body/ actions right. Gen.4:7
Seldom Emphasized Lesson #4 from Chapter 4: To really see “the big picture,” we must strive to see things from God’s perspective. Matt.6:22-23 proper vision enables: vv.19-21, perspective vv.24, allegiance vv.25-34, activity vv.14-15, results
Teaches so many needed lessons… If we will just “see” and learn!