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Archive for April 19th, 2014

 For Introduction to Book of Jonah click HERE

Abraham-Storck-xx-A-Venetian-Pilgrim-Ship-in-an-Italian-Port

 

Jonah 1:1-3

 

Establish the need: Do you think you can run away from God?

 

Purpose: To see three reasons why a child of God cannot outrun God, in order to see that it’s folly to do so and obey God today.

 

Passage:

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

 

Outline

  • Jonah’s commission (v.1)
  • Jonah’s mission (v.2)
  • Jonah’s rebellion (v.3)

 

  • If you are a child of God, you cannot outrun God because of your personal identity involves Him (v.1)
  • If you are a child of God, you cannot outrun God because of His presence (v.2)
  • If you are a child of God, you cannot outrun God because of His providence (v.3)

 

Overview: The story is going to go very fast—all the characters are all introduce already in the first three verses—Yahweh, Jonah, the people of Nineveh and the sailors (Limburgh, 37).

 

 I. If you are a child of God, you cannot outrun God because of your personal identity involves God (v.1)

o       Passage:The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying,

o       Proof

    • Verse one sets up the situation of the story.
    • The meaning of Jonah’s name.
      • Q: What does Jonah’s name mean?
      • Jonah actually means “dove” (Limburgh, 38).
      • There is a connotation of peace associated with that name, since dove is associated with peace.
    • The meaning of “the son of Amittai
      • Q: Does Amittai mean anything?
      • He is the son of Amittai.
      • Amittai means “truth,” and there is a word play here that he is the son of truth (Limburg, 38).
    • Jonah is a prophet.
      • The word of the Lord came to
        1. The formula “the Word of the Lord came…” is a frequent one to indicate God calling out a prophet such as in Jeremiah 1:2, Ezekiel 1:3, Hosea 1:1, Joel 1:1, Micah 1:1, Zephaniah 1:1, Haggai 1:1, Zechariah 1:1, Malachi 1:1.
        2. In all other instances, God’s prophet responds appropriately—except in the case of Jonah (Kohlenberger, 28).
      • By mentioning whom Jonah was the son of, the author wishes to communicate that this is the one and the same prophet mentioned in 2 Kings 14:25.
        1. Jonah was previously famous for making a positive prediction about the success of King Jeroboam II according to 2 Kings 14:25.
        2. It is significant to point out that a prophet’s message might be positive at times, but can also be perceived by others as negative as well, but it must still be preached.  He was probably quite popular in his country, being one who prophesied well in favor of kings and military manners (Limburg, 38).

o       Picture: (I tried to act in life at one point of not being a Christian; but being genuinely born again, it was impossible to do.)

o       Practice:

    • This passage shows us that just because you were faithful to God before does not mean you will do so in the future, so make sure you are constantly searching your heart that you do not slip.
    • Walk closely with God! If you really know God, your personal identity will become attached with Him; and to deny Him, is to deny who you are.

 

II. If you are a child of God, you cannot outrun God because of His presence (v.2)

o       Passage:“Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me”

o       Proof

    • Because God is all present, Jonah was given three commands
      • “Arise,
        1. Verb has the idea of getting up.
        2. It is used to communicate the idea of start acting immediately (Price, 6).
      • go to Nineveh the great city
        1. Not an easy command because of distance.
          • It is near the modern city of Mosul, and two hundred and fifty miles north of Baghad (Limburg, 40).
          • It is five hundred miles away from Jonah’s home by air (Limburg, 40).
        2. Not an easy command because of it’s reputation.
          • The city’s importance began around 740s B.C., and was the capial of the world’s most powerful empire during Jonah’s time (Limburg, 40).
          • It is a blood thirsty city according to Nahum 3:1.
    • and cry against it
      1. Jonah was called to preach there.
      2. The message was not going to be positive.
    • The reason for Jonah’s commission: Sin is inescapably before God’s presence
      • for
        1. The Hebrew word here is כִּי.
        2. It is a conjunction that function to introduce a causal clause for why Jonah will be going to cry out against it.
      • their wickedness has come up before Me”
        1. wickedness
          • Significant term in the book of Jonah, appearing a total of ten times (Kohlenberger, 29).
          • Refers to that which is absolutely wrong in God’s sight (Kohlenberger, 29).
        2. has come up before Me
          • Can also be translated as “in the presence of me
          • Shows that evil is before God, even though it’s not in heaven or in God’s temple in Israel back then.

o       Picture: (Story of boy walking to school alone for the first time but really behind him several steps was mother hovering over and nearby.  In the same matter we can’t out run God)

o       Practice:

    • God being all present can either be taken as a good thing or bad thing.
    • God’s presence means that sins will not be left unpunished.  Have you gone to God and given these sins to God in repentance and let it be nailed to the cross?
    • God’s presence means that He is always there with you and sees everything done wrong against the innocent.  Have you reflected on these truths with your problems, your struggles?

 

III. If you are a child of God, you cannot outrun God because of His providence (v.3)

o       Picture: (I like Silent film;  what it lacks in media of sound it makes up with emphasis on visual of facial expression; Point: Bible is an amazing literature in the same way,where there are rhetorical devices to emphasize certain points despite not being a “movie”).

o       Passage: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.

o       Proof

    • This verse will show Jonah’s rebellion.
      • But” is a contrastive, to show that what Yahweh commanded is going to be different from what Jonah will do.
    • The multiple verbs show the desperateness of Jonah to try to escape Yahweh!
      • But Jonah rose up

Q: Is there any significance that this is the first verb of what Jonah did with the fact that this same verb is also the first command Yahweh gave to Jonah?

A: It leads the readers to think at first Jonah was going to do what Yahweh does, but there’s going to be a twist: Jonah is going to do the opposite!  Implication of it is that how many of us do the same thing by doing what seems to be at first doing the right thing, but then in our hearts we treasure and plan to do otherwise?

    • It captures how Jonah tries to escape from Yahweh horizontally and veritically towards , as in towards the eventual direction of the bottom of the sea (Limburg, 43).
      • Jonah is flee horizontally towards Tarshish
        1. to flee to Tarshish

Hebrew infinitive to show the purpose of Jonah was to flee to Tarshish!

    1. Author wishes readers to note “Tarshish” is important by mentioning it three times.
    2. Where is it at?
      • Tarshish is identified as southwest Spain (Kohlenberger, 30).
      • It is the southwestern coastline (Limburg, 43).
      • Jeremiah 10:9, Ezekiel 27:12, 25 describes it as a rich place during biblical times.
      • Isaiah 66:19 describes it as a place so remove from Israel that they have not heard of God’s fame.  It’s as if Jonah wants to head towards the edge of civilization.
    3. Why?  “from the presence of the Lord.
      • An important point since this phrase is repeated twice in this verse alone.
      • However, verse 2 earlier also mention “from the presence of me,” which is referring to the LORD and thus the phraseology is repeated a total of three times in this passage!
      • The direction of movement is away from Yahweh’s presence, and thus Jonah was actually running away from God Himself (Limburg, 42).
      • This is ironic because Yahweh’s presence is everywhere (cf. Psalm 139:7), and earlier in verse one apparently Yahweh has revealed to Jonah that His omnipresence is so great that even Nineveh’s wickedness is before Him.
    • Jonah is descending vertically from Yahweh
      1. Q: Is there any significant juxtaposition of “down” with “up” here?

A: The direction of down begins here with going to Joppa, but will appear again to emphasize the wrong direction of Jonah, as oppose to Yahweh being up (Kohlenberger, 31).

    1. So he went down to Joppa,
      • The first of many use of “down” in Jonah, in describing Jonah’s escape from Yahweh.
      • Joppa was the only natural harbor on Israel’s Mediterranean coast (Kohlenberger, 30).
      • So going to a port would naturally be heading towards a gradual downward path.
      • It is now modern day Jaffa (Price, 8).  Assuming that Jonah went there from his home town of Gath-hepher, which is fifteen miles west of the Sea of Galilee and today an Arab town called Meshed (Limburg, 38-39), it would have been a distance of 28 miles according to Google maps.
      • Whereas if Jonah obeyed the Lord and went to Nineveh he would have traveled a northeast direction, by heading to Joppa, Jonah was heading south west direction—exactly 180 degrees opposite direction (Limburg, 42)!
      • Later in history, it would be part of Gentile territory and where Peter would be sent on a missions to the Gentiles in Acts 10:9-23.
    2. found a ship which was going to Tarshish,
      • The verb here does not have the idea of finding something purposely, but more of the idea of stumble upon (Price, 8).
      • Thus, it conveys the idea that perhaps Jonah thought it was by chance, and he was going to outrun God.
      • Ships heading towards Tarshish must have been large according to the standards of their days, for they were “Ocean going” vessels (Price, 9).
      • According to Isaiah 2:16, ships of Trashish were beautiful and Isaiah 23:14 indicates that these ships were strong.
    3. which was going to Tarshish,”—conveyed a future action that was going to soon take place (Price, 9).
    4. and went down into it
      • The second of many use of “down” in Jonah, in describing Jonah’s escape from Yahweh.
      • The NASB and KJV does a better job translating it literally as “going down” rather than Jonah just getting onboard (Price, 9).
    5. Why?  “and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
      • An important point since this phrase is repeated again.
      • It shows why he was going “down.”
    • Q: None of the verbs show God has any, so have can you show God’s providence from this verse?
      • A: SEE CHIASM POWERPOINT, which focuses on Tarshish.
      • A: It is setting us to wonder, whether or not Jonah was going to make to Tarshish.

o       Practice:

    • Sometimes in life, it seems like you are getting away from God.  But if you are His, He is allowing things to happen, to set things up for Him to get you back.

 

 

CONCLUSION

  • TO THE GOSPEL: I said a lot about if you are God’s child, you would not fall away.  If you know you are not God’s child, what you need to do is know Jesus.
  • What will God do with a runaway child of His?  What will happen to Nineveh?  Stay tune for next week!

 

NEXT: Exposition of Jonah Part 2

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