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Archive for the ‘Book of Jonah Exposition’ Category

Note: I’m in a church retreat this weekend and will be delayed in responding.

We have spent several months going through an exposition of the book of Jonah.  Last week we finally finished our ten part series of outlines!  My prayers are that they edify God’s people and evangelize the Lost.

Here’s the table of content to the series:

Introduction to Book of Jonah

Part 1: Do you think you can run away from God?

Part 2: Are You running from God and Evangelism?

Part 3: Don’t Just Say You Believe

Part 4: A prayer responding to God’s Grace Part 1

Part 5: A prayer responding to God’s Grace Part 2

Part 6: Did Jonah Repented?

Part 7: Parallel of Jonah and Peter

Part 8: How do you respond to God’s mercy?

Part 9: Compassion in Evangelism

Part 10: Jonah and the Rest of the Bible

 

Jonah and the Whale Carlo Antonio Tavella

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For Exposition of Jonah Part 9 click HERE

The-Storm-on-the-Sea-of-Galilee-Rembrandts-painting

Selected Scriptures

Establish the need: When you read a book in the Bible do you think of how it fits with the rest of Bible?  Does other books in the Bible fill in more details about Jonah itself, and something important in our lives as a result of it?

We will look at how Jonah relates to the rest of the Bible, and bring out four lessons for our lives today as a result of it.

 (1) A lesson for us in seeing Jonah as it relates to the rest of the Bible is be careful of using God’s truth in the wrong way (Exodus 34:6-7; Jonah 4:2)

 (2) A lesson for us in seeing Jonah as it relates to the rest of the Bible is realize Nineveh really repented and so should we (Matthew 12:38-41)

 (3) A lesson for us in seeing Jonah as it relates to the rest of the Bible is to realize that we need to respond to one’s greater than Jonah that’s here (Matthew 12:41b; Matthew 8:23-27)

 I. A lesson for us in seeing Jonah as it relates to the rest of the Bible is be careful of using God’s truth in the wrong way (Exodus 34:6-7; Jonah 4:2)

Point: Jonah knew His Bible well..but did not use these truths to do the right thing but do the wrong thing instead.

Passage:

i.      “He prayed to the Lord and said, “Please Lord, was not this [a]what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore [b]in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.”(Jonah 4:2)

ii.      “Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and [a]truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” (Exodus 34:6-7)

Proof

i.      How did Jonah know these five attributes about God?

      1. Experienced it in being spared himself in Jonah 2.
      2. But note that Jonah in 4:2 is a complaint that Jonah had about God before Jonah 2, when he was back home.
      3. Q: How did Jonah know that God was all these things?

A: Exodus 34:6-7.

ii.      Four attributes of God are mentioned in Exodus 34:6-7.

iii.      Last one, “one who relents concerning calamity” is derived from the context of Exodus 34:6-7 earlier in Exodus 33 of Israel’s sin bringing calamity (v. 1-3), Moses petition (v.12-23) and favor shown (Exodus 34:1-5).

Practice

i.      Watch out for these things

      1. Do you get angry with someone but then use something else (theological excuse) to cover it up?
      2. (Divorce passage in 1 Corinthians 7:12-15 and how people can make their spouse life so miserable that they want to divorce them)
      3. You just use theology to say you are better than someone.
      4. You don’t want to share the gospel to someone so that they can go to hell.
      5. Say “obey me” because I have power for power sake.

ii.      Guard yourself from doing this by:

      1. Being accountable to others.
      2. Also, study more of the Bible’s context and larger context.

 

II. A lesson for us in seeing Jonah as it relates to the rest of the Bible is realize Nineveh really repented and so should we (Matthew 12:38-41)

Point: Don’t just think about Nineveh: Think about yourself and your soul if you have not trusted in Jesus Christ yet.

Passage: “38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a [ak]sign from You.” 39 But He answered and said to them, “ An evil and adulterous generation craves for a [al]sign; and yet no [am]sign will be given to it but the [an]sign of Jonah the prophet; 40 for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41  The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.”(Matthew 12:38-41)

Proof

i.      Have you been hearing this series on Jonah just for intellectual knowledge?  Well Jesus makes it very personal and applied it to his hearers.

ii.      The scribes and Phariees asked for a sign (v.38), but recall earlier they are suppressing the evidence even to the point of saying He’s satanic (Matthew 12:22-24)

iii.      Thus Jesus’ response with condemnation in v.39.

iv.      Jesus’ sign was prophecy (v.40).

v.      Jesus revealed that Nineveh repented and brought up the fact that that generation will condemn the current generation.

vi.      Jesus is even greater and we need to respond appropriately!

Practice

i.      What have you done with Jesus in your life?

ii.      Will you those that Nineveh condemn also as well for not repenting and turning to Jesus?

 

III. A lesson for us in seeing Jonah as it relates to the rest of the Bible is to realize that we need to respond to one’s greater than Jonah that’s here (Matthew 12:41b; Matthew 8:23-27)

Point: We often read our Bible and make heroes into the character we read about.  I think Jonah it’s hard to do that.  Moreover I think Jonah points to Jesus—in a negative contrast kind of way.

Passage:

i.      41  The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.”(Matthew 12:41)

ii.      “When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And behold, there arose [a]a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. 25 And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “ Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” 26 He *said to them, “Why are you [b]afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and [c]it became perfectly calm. 27 The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”(Matthew 8:23-27)

Proof

i.      Note end of Matthew 12:41, “; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

      1. Of course, this is a reference to Jesus.
      2. Of course to the Scribes and Pharisees they do not believe it.
      3. But for Jesus’ disciples these words must have meant something and probably echo an earlier event before we see what is going on here: Matthew 8:23-27.

ii.      The parallel with Jonah and Jesus:

      1. Both episodes involve a man of God.
      2. Both episodes involve being in a vessel: “When He got into the boat” (Matthew 8:23a)
      3. Both episodes involve a vessel sailing the opposite direction (Youngblood, Location 1724).
      4. Both episodes involve a man of God that has others being in the vessel with him as well: “His disciples followed Him.” (Matthew 8:23b)
      5. Both episodes involves being at sea. “on the sea” (Matthew 8:24a)
      6. Both episodes involve a “big storm”: “And behold, there arose [a]a great storm on the sea,” (Matthew 8:24a)
      7. Both episodes involve the vessel being threatened: “so that the boat was being covered with the waves,” (Matthew 8:24b)
      8. Both episodes involve the man of God sleeping during the storm: “but Jesus Himself was asleep.” (Matthew 8:24c)
      9. Both episodes involve the man of God being waken up: “but Jesus Himself was asleep.” (Matthew 8:25)
      10. Both episodes involve terrified men: “And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “ Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” (Matthew 8:25)
      11. Both episodes involve the storm miraculously stopped: “He *said to them, “Why are you [b]afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and [c]it became perfectly calm.” (Matthew 8:26)
      12. Both episodes involve the response of fear and awe: “The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” (Matthew 8:27)

iii.      But what is the differences between Jesus and Jonah?  A Great difference!

Practice

i.      Do you respond in awe of God?

ii.      Does your life of holiness reflect it?

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For Exposition of Jonah Part 8 click HERE

Exposition of Jonah How do you respond to God’s mercy

Jonah 4

(Note: This is a long exposition but I think it’s worth reading)

Establish the need: Are you not sharing your faith with others? Are you not excited to hear someone coming to salvation with God?  Or do you do share your faith—but grudgingly?  In summary: Do you have compassion for evangelism?

Main Point: Explore the three S in Jonah chapter 4, so that you would have the compassion for evangelism.

  • Watch for the Symptoms of the lack of compassion for evangelism (v.1-5)
  • See the Sovereign lesson for compassion in evangelism (v.6-8)
  • Understand the So-Much-More Argument for compassion in evangelism (v.9-11)

Context:Nineveh has just repented from their sins in chapter three where they sought God for mercy.  God was merciful and did not bring about judgment of sin.  This narrative focuses on God’s dealing with Jonah, a transition from God dealing with Nineveh.

 

I. Watch for the Symptoms of the lack of compassion for evangelism (v.1-5)

Passage:But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord and said, “Please Lord, was not this [a]what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore [b]in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my [c]life from me, for death is better to me than life.” The Lord said, “Do you have good reason to be angry?”Then Jonah went out from the city and sat east of [d]it. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city.”

Proof:

i.      You have anger (v.1)

      1. Nineveh repents from their sins, and Jonah gets angry!
      2. Anger is apparently a big theme because it is mentioned in verse 1, 4, and 9 twice (Kohlenberger, 65).
      3. Verses one parallel earlier 3:9-10; God turning from his calamity (which in the Hebrew is the same word as “evil”), resulted in it being an evil or calamity to Jonah (Kohlenberger, 65).
      4. As soon as God departed from His anger, Jonah picked it up (Kohlenberger, 65).

ii.      Your prayers are short-sighted of God’s mercy (v.2a)

      1. There is the irony that Jonah’s complaint is called a “prayer,” and that this is the same Hebrew word used earlier in 2:1 when God showed mercy to him while now he’s praying to complain about God’s mercy to others (Kohlenberger, 65).
      2. This prayer reveal the problem:  Jonah’s shortsightedness of God’s mercy, as indicated by Jonah’s use of the personal pronoun “I” nine times in this chapter (Kohlenberger, 67).

iii.      You complain of God’s goodness (v.2b)

      1. Only finally in 4:2 do we know of the reason why Jonah fled from God in chapter one in the first place: ““Please Lord, was not this [a]what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore [b]in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish,
      2. For” reveals the reason.
      3. I knew”—This proclamation by Jonah that he knows of Yahweh sparing Nineveh is in contrast to the king of Nineveh in chapter three not knowing that Nineveh will be spared by God.
      4. These attributes of God were known by Jonah from Exodus 32:14!  Yet despite the solid theology, Jonah did not appreciate it for his life and obedience.
      5. The attributes:
        1. gracious

i.      This term is used thirteen times in the Old Testament, always referring to God, with Exodus 22:27 illustrating the meaning of this word which teaches that God will hear the prayer of the one needing his coat back for warmth because He is compassionate (Limburg, 91).

ii.      Favor towards those who are disadvantaged (Youngblood, Location 3086).

iii.      Thus, this term reveals God will act on the basis of compassion and it does not refer to just pity without action.

2. “compassionate

i.      This term is used thirteen times in the Old Testament.

ii.      Always referring to God, and is related to sthe term for “womb” and thus has the idea of motherly love (Limburg, 91).

3. “slow to anger

i.      It is literally a Hebrew idiom meaning “long nostril” and shows that it takes a lot to be angered (Youngblood, Location 3086).

4. “abundant in lovingkindness

i.      This word was previously used in chapter two during Jonah’s prayer, but now is the basis of a complaint.

ii.      It has the idea of strong loyal love as in its use in 1 Samuel 18:1-3 and 1 Samuel 20:14-15 of David and Jonathan’s friendship.

iii.      The use of this term to apply to the situation of God’s response to Nineveh shows that God’s covenantal love is not limited only to Israel, but to those such as the Assyrians as well (Limburg, 92).

5. “and one who relents concerning calamity

iv.      You rather not be around to see God saving someone (v.3)

      1. Apparently Jonah’s reaction to it is so bad he becomes suicidal: “Therefore now, O Lord, please take my [c]life from me, for death is better to me than life.
      2. Irony in that Jonah before in chapter two prayed to God to save his soul now in chapter four asks God to take away his soul!
      3. In light of the parallel of this passage to vocabulary in Exodus 32, there is the ironic contrast between Moses begging God to lay down his life in order for God to pardon Israel (Exodus 32:32) here we see Jonah willingness to lay down his life in begging God to destroy Nineveh (Youngblood, Location 3126).

v.       You ignore God’s convicting question (v.4-5)

      1. God’s response in the form of a question: “The Lord said, “Do you have good reason to be angry?” (v.4)
        1. First of three questions in God’s response to Jonah, in which God challenged Jonah by using his own words (Kohlenberger, 67)!
        2. This opens the response from God with a question that summarizes the problem.
      2. Jonah does not even answer God in verse 5, but goes on doing his own thing.
      3. This is the second time Jonah silently walk away from God speaking to Him (Youngblood, 3246).

vi.      You want to see people’s doom (v.5)

      1. Jonah apparently did not answer God’s question but went on to wait for Nineveh’s destruction.  In fact, Jonah was consumed in his concentration of the city as “the city” is mentioned three times in this verse in the Hebrew (Kohlenberger, 68).
      2. and sat east of [d]it”—Jonah came over to Nineveh from the west and kept going east to see the city’s destruction.
      3. Eastward also have a bad connotation of departing for God’s Will in the Bible (Youngblood, 3295):
        1. After the fall Adam and Eve was driven out to the east of the Garden (Genesis 3:24)
        2. After being punished by God, Cain settled in land of Nod described as East of Eden (Genesis 4:16)
      4. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city.”
        1. Shelter” some version “booth
        2. This is the same word used to describe temporary shelter in which the Jews lived in the wilderness as instructed by God in Leviticus 23:42-43.
        3. Over in Leviticus 23:42-43, they built it as a rememberance of God’s mercy, here Jonah built it to wait on God’s wrath.

Picture: (Symptoms are signs of our sickness; don’t just address the symptoms without addressing the deeper heart issue); Running nose, and drinking vitamin C can seem almost irrational.

Practice:

i.      We can have good biblical head knowledge; but do we really own up to it and think about it for our every day world?

ii.      Go before God and ask us to reveal these things to us of our problems, and help us change it.

 

II. See the Sovereign lesson for compassion in evangelism (v.6-8)

Point: Sometimes we can have blindspot in our lives we need God to show us with a Sovereign lesson for compassion in evangelism as he is doing here with Jonah.

Passage:So the Lord God appointed a [e]plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Jonah was [f]extremely happy about the [g]plant. But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day and it attacked the plant and it withered. When the sun came up God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul to die, saying, “ Death is better to me than life.”

Proof:

i.      God once again in the book of Jonah shows He is Sovereign, that is, in control with the use of the word“appointed

      1. Shows this was not coincidences (Kohlenberger, 43).
      2. Four times this verb is used in Jonah, three times in this chapter (1:17; 4:6, 7, 8).
      3. Each time with a different name for God, and when used in the case with “Yahweh,” it emphasizes the gracious and beneficial action of God such as here and in 4:7 (Limburg, 60).

ii.      First appointment: A plant for a good shade (4:6)

      1. Use of the name of God: “Lord God

Q: Any significance of these two combination?

A: “God” is used in Jonah when God relates to the Gentiles, while “Yahweh” is used in terms of God relating to Jonah, but it is used as a combination here because God is about to show how He dealt with the gentiles of Nineveh will be the way He deals with Jonah (Kohlenberger, 69).

      1. Plant that provided Jonah shade from the discomfort of the sun!
        1. Like the storm in the sea, God is using the sun from nature to teach Jonah a lesson.
        2. Like the big fish, God is using a big plant to show Jonah grace.
      2. There is a word play going on here where the word “discomfort” in the Hebrew is literally “evil” and God saves him from this “evil” of being overheated though not from Jonah’s own fierce anger yet (Kohlenberger, 69).  Thus, Jonah is also spared from the calamity just as Nineveh faced.
      3. extremely happy about the [g]plant”—In the Hebrew literally is “rejoicing rejoice.”  It is in contrast to verse 1 of Jonah being “displeased with great displeasure” (Youngblood, 3396).

iii.      Second appointment: An attacking worm (4: 7)

      1. Small worm to make a big point.
      2. Use of the name of God: “God

Q: Is there any significance of this noun being “God” as opposed to Yahweh?

A: The aspect of God’s relationship to the Gentiles is in view, thus used here to show the analogy God is illustrating to Jonah of how Jonah would have wanted God to deal with the Gentiles is the same way God will illustrate to Jonah.  The disciplinary side of God is emphasized here with this choice of term (Limburg, 96).

      1. it attacked
        1. A term used for judgment upon those who are disobedient in the Scriptures, such as in Deuteronomy 28:22(Kohlenberger, 71).
        2. God is using the worm’s attack as an analogy of the removal of God’s grace.

iv.      Third appointment: A big hot wind (4: 8a)

      1. When the sun came up God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head
      2. Note what God brings against Jonah:
        1. the sun

i.      It would make things hot!

ii.      “beat down

Second instance of this verb appearing in chapter four, previously with the worm as the subject attacking the plant but now as the sun, which shows the undesirable state Jonah was in with this repetition, showing the flow of God’s judgment against Jonah.

2. “a scorching east wind

i.      These are the worst dry wind that the Middle East faced.

ii.      The wind is dry and any moisture is extracted from the air with fine dust blowing (Kohlenberger, 70).

iii.      Earlier God taught Jonah a lesson in chapter one by wet rainy winds now He is going to instruct Jonah by the opposite means of a dry hot winds (Kohlenberger, 70)!

iv.      The external heat is going to be used by God to teach Jonah a lesson about his own internal “heat” (which anger is a Hebrew derivative of)

v.      Reverse order than that of chapter 2.

          1. Chapter 2: Troubling WindsàAnimalàRescue.
          2. Chapter 4: RescueàAnimalàTroubling Winds.
          3. Contrast:
            1. Chapter 2: At sea, with problems coming from above. Wet wind.
            2. Chapter 4: On land, with problems coming from above.  Dry wind.

vi.      The response:

        1. The phrase “better I die than I live” echoes the same phrase in verse 3 previously after Jonah complained about Nineveh’s repentance, but here is the response to the plant being gone and the dire whether.
        2. Unlike verse 3 where Jonah ask God to die, here Jonah talks to himself since the text is literally “He asked Himself to die…” (Youngblood, Location 3430).
          1. Jonah’s disposition is looking inward while God’s disposition in the book of Jonah has been looking outward (Youngblood, Location 3480).
          2. Jonah really is not pitying the plant but engages in self-pity!
        3. The author wishes the reader to see the parallel between Jonah’s complaint about Nineveh’s repentance with the scenario going on here.

Picture: (Parable of a firefighter who complains that people are saved when he puts our fire with the hose, but saved by another firefighter).  YOU ARE THE PERSON!

Practice:

i.      Repetition of Jonah’s lesson:  Sometimes what we need to learn the most is not something new, but something we already know or should know or think we know.

ii.      Has God changed you with our Jonah series?  Are you meditating on God’s Word even as it’s preached, read, etc?

 

III. Understand the So-Much-More Argument for compassion in evangelism (v.9-11)

Point: If plants are precious to Jonah, how much more the souls in Nineveh!

Passage:Then God said to Jonah, “Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “I have good reason to be angry, even to death.” 10 Then the Lord said, “You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which [h]came up overnight and perished [i]overnight. 11 Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?”

Proof:

i.      God brings the illustration home in verse 9.

      1. The phrase “Why do good if it burns against you?” (הַהֵיטֵב חָרָה־לְךָ) echoes the same phrase in verse 4 previously after Yahweh addressed Jonah’s complaint about Nineveh’s repentance.
      2. Here it is Yahweh’s response to Jonah’s complaint that the plant being gone and the dire whether.  The author wishes the reader to see the parallel between Jonah’s complaint about Nineveh’s repentance with the scenario going on here.

ii.      Observation of Jonah’s response to the plant (v.10)

iii.      Argument from the lesser to the greater (v.11)

Concerning those “who do not know the difference between their right and left hand,” these probably refer to children (Kohlenberger, 72).

iv.      God’s level of Grace even as He corrected Jonah

      1. The thirty nine word response of God in 4:10-11 balances Jonah’s thirty nine word response in 4:2 (Limburg, 94).  It shows a level of grace of God not lecturing more than He has to even though He could.
      2. The text use of the name Yahweh in verse 9 is to accent on God’s love and concern (Limburg, 97).

Practice:

i.      How are we to respond?

The book ends with a question which obviously should be answered with a “yes,”

Why a question?  Why not show repentance of Jonah? I think it is to provoke us and make us think a little longer with the lesson rather than just see a happy ever after story.  Do you evangelize with compassion if God is compassionate?

 

Conclusion

We might ask how Jonah responded but God does not tell us but instead ends the message with a question of whether or not God will have mercy on Nineveh.

What about you?  Do you see God’s mercy?  How do you respond to God’s mercy through Jesus Christ?

 

NEXT: Exposition of Jonah Part 10

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For Exposition of Jonah Part 7 click HERE

Exposition of Jonah How do you respond to God’s mercy

Jonah 3

Establish the need: If you stop and think about it, God has shown much of His mercy to us in very rich ways.  How do we respond to God’s mighty mercy in our lives?

Main Point: If you stop and think about it, God has shown much of His mercy to us in very rich ways.

  •  Responding to God’s mercy means you should obey (v.1-3)
  • Responding to God’s mercy means you should trust in God’s Word (v.4-5)
  • Responding to God’s mercy means you should warn others (v.6a)
  • Responding to God’s mercy means you acknowledge you humble yourself (v.6b-10)

I. Responding to God’s mercy means you should obey (v.1-3)

Passage:Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was [a]an exceedingly great city, a three days’ walk.

Proof:

i.      Mercy Shown:

      1. Jonah did not die after being thrown off the ship!
      2. Right before chapter 3: “Then the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.” (2:10)

ii.      Response to mercy:

      1. Issued the call to preach again (v.1-2)
        1. Jonah 3:1 is exactly the same in wording with Jonah 1:1 except for “second time” and the omission of “son of Amittai”, and hence it’s important to let the hearers know that this is the re-commissioning of Jonah to go preach to Nineveh.
        2. Jonah 3:2 has the phrase “Arise!  Go to Nineveh the big city and cry out against it” which are the same phrase earlier in Jonah 1:2.  The difference between here and chapter one’s original commission was that the “wickedness” of Nineveh is not mentioned here (Kohlenberger, 57).
        3. The difference between this setting and the first is God’s amazing saving grace, which Jonah responded to and which we should also as well in light of our salvation.
        4. Only Jonah among the prophets hae been given an assignment twice (Limburg, 75).
          1. Unique since no prophet receive second chance (Youngblood, Location 2453).
          2. Demonstrate one can’t coerced God by manipulating His mercy nor His wrath as a way of getting out of His will (Youngblood, Location 2456).
      2. Jonah obeys this time (v.3a)
        1. Again, we see words repeating: The words and phrase “Jonah arose,” “went to Nineveh,” “Word of the Lord” appeared earlier in Jonah 1:3and here it echoes the previous episode and often in Hebrew the same verbs are used to show fulfillment (Kohlenberger, 57).
        2. Obedience is doubly stressed by the phrase, “according to the Word of the Lord” (Kohlenberger, 57).

iii.      Challenge:

      1. The challenge will be focused on the city of Nineveh itself.
        1. The spotlight is on Nineveh since seven times in this short section Nineveh is mentioned at verse 2, 3 (x2), 4, 5, 6, 7(Limburg, 77).
        2. Remember, It is a blood thirsty city according to Nahum 3:1.
      2. Now Nineveh was [a]an exceedingly great city, a three days’ walk.” (3b)
        1. Second half of verse 3 onward focuses on how big Nineveh was.
        2. The three days of journey of Nineveh was probably not saying it was across or around as it is suggesting more of how long it would have taken Jonah to work through the city (Kohlenberger, 57).
        3. According to archaeological dig, Nineveh was probably eight miles in circumference (Price, 53).
        4. Focus was more on the difficulty of Jonah reaching the city with the message.

Practice:

i.      We can have the joy of living out the commands of the Bible if we have the proper perspective of mercy.  Write down a list of what God has done in your life that you are thankful for.

ii.      Study the Bible in your own personal time to see the mercy of God, then it makes you want to walk and live for Him as you see God’s mercy and goodness.

 

II. Responding to God’s mercy means you should trust in God’s Word (v.4-5)

Point: We should believe God’s Word.

Passage:Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.

Proof:

i.      Mercy Shown (v.4)

      1. Every time we hear the Word of God preached that warns us of our sins, it is the act of God’s mercy.
      2. Message:
        1. overthrown”—Intriguing verb which was used earlier to describe Somon and Gomorrah’s destruction in Genesis 19:21, 25, 29 (Youngblood, Location 2650).
        2.  “forty days

i.      In the Bible, 40 days have been a time of testing or judgment such as Noah’s flood being for forty days, Elijah in the wilderness in 1 Kings 19 and Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness as seen in Matthew 4:2 (Kohlenberger, 59-60).

ii.      For Jewish reader this number will recall Noah’s flood narrative and be reminded of a time before Israel existed and how God is a God who dealt with all nations (Youngblood, Location 2631).

iii.      Moses also spent 40 days interceding for his people before God for His mercy after the Golden Calf incident in Exodus 34:28 (Youngblood, Location 2624).

iv.      This period of time suggest two possible fate: destruction (like the flood) or God’s mercy (like Moses’ plea).

ii.      People’s response to mercy (v.5)

      1. It’s amazing to realize the response from the people of Nineveh, that Jonah’s mission was suppose to be for three days yet on the first day there was already a response (Kohlenberger, 60).
      2. Trust in God: “Then the people of Nineveh believed in God
      3. After believing they followed with action showing it
        1. they called a fast
        2. put on sackcloth
      4. Extent: “from the greatest to the least of them.

iii.      Challenge:

      1. Incredible that these people perhaps have never heard of the God of the Bible before this, and they respond!  They went by faith!
      2. While it is not conclusion what was omitted in Jonah’s message seem to indicate that Jonah wasn’t trying to present it in such a way that it make sense for them to respond favorably towards God.
        1. Prophets normally say “Thus says Yahweh” but this is omitted (Youngblood, Location 2621).
        2. Jonah also omitted the reason why God was judging them (Youngblood, Location 2624).
        3. Nor did Jonah say how the wrath of God can be averted (Youngblood, Location 2621).

Practice: We cannot think of application without asking the question: Is God something we trust—even with its bad news?

 

III. Responding to God’s mercy means you should warn others (v.6a)

Point: You should share the message of God’s wrath and mercy if you know about God’s wrath—and mercy.

Passage:When the word reached the king of Nineveh,”

Proof:

i.      Mercy Shown:

    1. Main subject of this clause is “the word” and not the king. Thus the main focus is not on the king but the message.
    2. Somehow the word was shared to the king as a warning.

ii.      Response to mercy:

      1. This passage does not indicate who shared it to the king but nevertheless it is those who needed God’s mercy.
      2. This passage suggests that it was the people who took the initiative to seek God’s mercy and to tell him about God’s wrath which is contrary to the Ancient Near East expectation that it is the King who lead religious activitites (Youngblood, Location 2695).

iii.      Challenge:

      1. It is not easy to share a message of warning of God’s pending wrath.
      2. What made it more difficult for people to share in this instance is that this is “the king of Nineveh,”

Picture: (Sharing the Gospel in Watts, South Central and war zone is not easy)

Practice:

i.      Don’t let people make you scared of sharing the Gospel and warning them of the consequences of their sins—be courageous for God and love them!

ii.      To rid one’s fear of man that challenges us to share God’s warning to others, cultivate a fear of God in light of His mercy shown to you!

 

IV. Responding to God’s mercy means you acknowledge you humble yourself (v.6b-10)

Point: A mark of someone seeking God’s mercy is humility.

Passage:he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the [b]ashes. He issued a proclamation and it said, “In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let [c]men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in [d]his hands. Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.”10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would [e]bring upon them. And He did not do it.

Proof:

i.      Mercy Shown: Remember God was merciful to allow the king to be warned.

ii.      Response to mercy:

    1. King’s personal response is of humility (4 ways)
      1. he arose from his throne,” (v.6b) —Thereby “relinquishing the trappings of royal authority” (Youngblood, Location 2727); he didn’t just pontificate from his chair.
      2. laid aside his robe from him” (v.6b) —wealth and prestige is lay aside (Youngblood, Location 2727).
      3. covered himself with sackcloth,” (v.6b)
      4. and sat on the [b]ashes.” (v.6b)
    2. Note king’s response is of a downward motion: “he arose”à “and sat on the [b]ashes.”
    3. The King also issued a proclamation that submitted his city under God (v.7-9)
      1. Note there is no strong arming God as indicated when the king reveal the purpose of his proclamation in verse 9.
      2. King says “Who knows, God may turn and relent” rather than a presumptuous “God will;” quite humbling for a king.

iii.      Challenge: Again in the Ancient Near East the king is suppose to determine religious activity but here we see a grass root response of the people to the warning of Jonah and the King is not pridefully set against them for not being the first.

Practice:

i.      Don’t see our points here today as a magic formula to manipulate God to forgive you; know that God is God and can do what He wants, and it is His free desire to show mercy to you!

ii.      To the degree you understand God is judge and Sovereign is the degree of your response to God’s mercy with humility.  Are you being humble before God?

 NEXT: Exposition of Jonah Part 9

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 For Exposition of Jonah Part 6 click HERE

The-Storm-on-the-Sea-of-Galilee-Rembrandts-painting

Selected Scriptures

I’m amazed at all the little golden nuggets in the book of Jonah this second time studying it.

Before moving onto Jonah 3, I thought I share with you some of the parallels I see between Jonah and the Apostle Peter.  There is a beautiful connection between one part of the Bible with another.  This should give us a source of awe of the Author of the Bible and Redemptive History.

Parallel of Jonah with Peter

  1. Both were not perfect in how they served God.
  2. Both wanted God to leave them alone in a body of water: Peter in Luke 5:8.
  3. Both face a crisis during a storm.
  4. Both receive second chance to submit to their calling after coming out of a body of water: Peter in John 21.
  5. Both were first to cross Jew/Gentile boundaries: Peter in Acts 10 (Youngblood, Location 2496).
  6. Jonah fled from Joppa to flee from going to the Gentiles; Peter was at Joppa in Acts 10:5-6 where the opportunity first began for God to draw Gentiles (Youngblood, Location 2496).

It’s interesting to see the last point.  The contrast with Jonah and Peter in the location of Joppa is that in the case of the New Testament church the time of the Gentiles was beginning and which we are presently in right now.

More than character studies, I think we should be at awe in the Sovereignty of God who orchestrate history and also wrote these parallels in Scripture.

 NEXT: Exposition of Jonah Part 8

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 For Exposition of Jonah Part 5 click HERE

Jonah whale

Jonah 2

The good thing about studying further a series after you preach on something is that you are able to go back for deeper study.  Sometimes that means you come to a better conclusion that you had originally.  Case in point?  The last few weeks going through Jonah chapter two I was struggling with whether or not Jonah repented in the belly of the Big Fish.  The following is my conclusion, my reasons and what I see is the implication for our lives.

Further Consideration: Did Jonah Repented?

(A) Jonah saying “While [i]I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord,” (v.7a)

(1) Inversion of Noahic flood where Genesis 8:1 where “God remembered Noah,” since it’s God’s initiative that saves Jonah rather than the other way around (Youngblood, Location 2172).

(2) The faithful in the Bible typically confess that it’s Yahweh remembering them rather than they taking the initiative to remember God such as in Judges 16:28, 1 Samuel 1:11, 19; 2 Kings 20:3, Psalms 25:7, 106:4, Jeremiah 15:15, etc (Youngblood, Location 2175).

(B) Jonah’s prayer makes no reference to wrong doing and lacks confession or sorrow over his own sin (Youngblood, Location 2183).

(C) Jonah’s prayer has tension that indicate he might not understand the difference between penance and repentance

(1) Jonah 2:8 talks about other sinners who were idolators but there is not acknowledgement of his immediate sin and situation at hand.

(2) In contrast to the Idolators he compares himself as one who gives sacrifice to the Lord in the next verse in Jonah 2:9.  He is comparing himself to others rather than comparing his sins to God’s standards.

(3) In Jonah 2:9 Jonah said “which I have vowed I will pay.”  He might be having a works righteousness mentality going on here.

(D) Jonah’s attitude later on when Nineveh repented reveals that Jonah might not have had any heart change despite his initial behavior.

We can legitimately go to the conclusion to help illuminate what came before since the book of Jonah likes to use the literary device of intentionally leave out details in the beginning only to reveal it in a later scene what Jonah’s mind was thinking:

(1) The secret of Jonah’s reason for not going to Nineveh

(2) The secret of Jonah’s God with the mariner

What can we learn from Jonah not repenting?

(A) Action is not enough!  Jonah did outwardly carry out God’s plan but it’s important to confess our sins especially in light of 1 John 1:9 that He is faithful to cleanse us when we do!

(B) Make sure you do repent!

 NEXT: Exposition of Jonah Part 7

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 For Exposition of Jonah Part 4 click HERE

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Jonah 1:17-2:10

Introduction: We pick up from last week with part two of our look at Jonah 1:17-2:10 to see what it teaches us about praying in response to God’s grace.

Establish the need: Do you know what a prayer of responding to God’s grace look like?

 Purpose: To see the four characteristics of what a prayer responding to God’s grace looks like so we can truly commune with God.

In addition we will add a fifth point to emphasize the foundation of our response rest on God’s grace and not the other way around.

OUTLINE

Grace driven prayer begins with remembering God in your trials (v.5-7a, 1:17)

Grace driven prayer desires God’s presence again (v.4, 7b)

Grace driven prayer confesses sin (v.3, 8)

Grace driven prayer involves involve our will (v.2, 9)

God’s mercy and salvation before our prayer of confession (v.17, 10)

 (NOTE: Last week we went over points 1-3, in this post we focus on points 4-5)

 

IV. Grace driven prayer involves our will (v.2, 9)

Passage:and he said,“I called out of my distress to the Lord, And He answered me.  I cried for help from the [c]depth of Sheol;You heard my voice.”

AND

But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving.  That which I have vowed I will pay.  Salvation is from the Lord.”

Proof:

i.      In verse 2, “I called out” literally is “I cry out.”

      1. Later in the same verse same Hebrew verb is being stated but translated in the NASB as “I cried” and specifically “for help
      2. One can imagine one’s will and passion behind this cry for help when one is facing the possibility of drowning.

ii.      Jonah’s desire for a future action:

      1. But I will sacrifice to You” (v.9a)
      2. That which I have vowed I will pay.”(v.9a)

iii.      Jonah wishes one day to present sacrifice “With the voice of thanksgiving” (v.9) which obviously require one’s volition to freely do this task.

Practice:

i.      It is not enough to give lip service to God’s grace; rather God’s grace should drive our will into action!

ii.      Do you see fruits in your life in light of your understanding of the Gospel, God’s grace and Jesus Christ as Savior?

iii.      If you don’t see fruit, then study God’s grace more intensely so that you will love Him and truths about Him will change your will by the working of the Holy Spirit.

 

V. God’s mercy and salvation before our prayer (1:17, 10)

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

AND

10 Then the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.

Proof:

i.      Right away God allowed a great fish to ensure Jonah didn’t drown (1:17)

ii.      Then after “Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights” (1:17) we read 2:10 of Jonah being brought back to “dry land.”

iii.      Both instances it was the Lord behind it as both verses emphasize with “appoint” and “command.

iv.      One COMMENT: “and it vomited Jonah up” (v.10) was probably God’s merciful way of humbling Jonah with his dangerous pride since the OT consistently portray vomiting negatively in places like Leviticus 18:25-28, 20:22, Isaiah 19:14, 28:8, Jeremiah 25:27, etc(Youngblood, Location 2269).

Practice: Ultimately, it’s not our prayers that bring God’s grace since God’s grace happens even before our prayers; do you therefore pray prayers of thanksgiving for His grace?

 NEXT: Exposition of Jonah Part 6

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