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Archive for the ‘Book of Jonah Exposition’ Category

 For Exposition of Jonah Part 3 click HERE

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Jonah 1:17-2:10

Introduction: Last week we looked at one verse in Jonah 1:16, and we asked the question: If you say you believe in God, does your attitude, action and words show this to be true?  We saw that if we truly believe in God, it would lead you to fear Him, offer your service to Him and keep your words to Him.  This week we will look at Jonah 1:17-2:10.

Establish the need: Have you ever sin so badly that you wonder if God will ever take you back again?  And what does a prayer of responding to God’s grace look like?

Oscar Wilde once put it, “It’s so easy to convert others, but oh so difficult to convert oneself.”

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

Background:

Jonah has been running away from God.

The last time we saw Jonah in chapter 1, he was thrown down to the sea.

What follows in chapter two is a Psalm/poetry.

Q: Why the shift to poetry?

A: All this time the narrative has been one action after another, but here we slow down in time to hear a prayer of Jonah.

According to verse 1, this is Jonah’s prayer to God while in the belly of a whale.

IRONY:

                Few words are recorded of Jonah the prophet speaks to people.

Most of Jonah’s words are spoken to God rather than people.

 

Jonah will teach us what a prayer to God will look like.  Let’s look at the Chiastic structure of this Psalm:

 

Great fish swallow (v.17)                                  -SUBSCRIPT (v.1)-

Jonah’s voice: Cry for help (v.2)

Forsaken: Jonah (v.3-4a)

Temple hope: Will look at it again (v.4b)

Dire circumstances and remembering the LORD (v.5-7a)

Temple hope: Now prayers are getting there (v.7b)

Forsaken: Idolators (v.8)

Jonah’s voice: Sing thanksgiving (v.9)

Great fish vomit (v.10)

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: We will be going over points 1-3 in this post with next week focusing on points 4-5)

I. Grace driven prayer begins with remembering God in your trials (v.5-7a,1:17, 2:10)

Passage: “ Water encompassed me to the [f]point of death. The great deep [g]engulfed me, Weeds were wrapped around my head.“I descended to the roots of the mountains.  The earth with its bars was around me forever,But You have brought up my life from [h]the pit, O Lord my God.“While [i]I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord,”

Proof:

i.      Jonah’s difficulties

      1. Verse 5 indicates Jonah was surrounded by trouble.

Subject                        Action                                     Object             EXTENT       

“ Water                       encompassed                           me                          to the [f]point of death.

The great deep            engulfed                                  me,

Weeds                          were wrapped around             my head.

 a. These three lines are synonymous.

b. They convey the terrible and frightening scene of drowning.

c. Some of your version says “neck” instead of “head,” and the Hebrew word there is literally soul, but can refer to neck or head of a person that is the center of life.

2. Verse 6 indicates how down Jonah has gotten.

a. RECAP: Beginning in chapter 1, there’s been this theme of Jonah escaping God by going down.

b. “Descended” echoes the same verb used earlier of Jonah’s escape to Joppa and going on the bottom of the boat in 1:3, and in verse five.

c. Note the language conveying Jonah at the bottom:

i.      “the roots of the mountains.”

Jonah is going down to the bottom of the sea floor!

ii.      “the pit,”

            1. Translated elsewhere as pit, and one of several Old Testament terms for the underworld (Price, 45).
            2. It is where one goes after death according to Psalm 30:9 (Limburg, 68).

d. Yet there was hope (6b-7): “But You have brought up my life from [h]the pit, O Lord my God.“While [i]I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord,”

i.      “But You have brought up”—This points to a dramatic change in direction (Kohlenberger, 52).

ii.      This was done about by “O Lord my God

iii.      Just when Jonah was almost dead: ““While [i]I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord,” (v.7)

iv.      It is significant to note that Yahweh took the initiative in saving Jonah here first (Kohlenberger, 52).

v.      “Remembered” is more than just not forgetting, but act on the basis of a commitment (Kohlenberger, 52)!  Remember that God knows all things, and it shows more that we act upon our commitment as He did with the Hebrews in Egypt seeing their suffering and going to the Abrahamic Covenant in Exodus 2:23-25.

Practice:

i.      Note Jonah’s extreme trials that led Him to know the Lord.  What are the trials that God might be bringing into your life to turn Him back to Him?

ii.      Are you going through trials right now in your life?  Note the transition from verse 6 to verse 7 of Jonah shifting his focus at the circumstances to the Lord.

iii.      Be careful of misapplication: Don’t think you can just wait until you are about to faint into your death and then repent.  We are never promise tomorrow.

 

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

Passage:“So I said, ‘I have been expelled from [e]Your sight.”  Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.’”

AND

And my prayer came to You, into Your holy temple.”

Proof:

i.      Twice in this psalm, Jonah mentions God’s “holy temple.”  God’s Holy Temple is where God’s presence is.

ii.      Verse 4 begins with Jonah’s confession that he is currently away from God’s presence: ““So I said, ‘I have been expelled from [e]Your sight.

1. Literally, ““So I said, ‘I have been expelled from [e]Your eyes,”” with the phrase “eyes of the Lord/God” is frequently used in the Scriptures such as in Psalm 34:16-17 in reference to divine benevolence (Sasson, 178).

2. The verb “expelled” here is used only in two instances in the Old Testament, both in Psalm 78:55 and 80:8 to show that the nations were the ones cast off from God, but now used somewhat ironically, since this is what is happening to Jonah (Kohlenberger, 49).

iii.      Jonah here gets what he finally wanted: escape from God’s presence, but does he like it?

iv.      The second half of verse 4 signals a transition of Jonah’s desire with the word “Nevertheless.”

v.      NASB translates “will look again toward Your holy temple,” but I would translate from the Hebrew “I want to look again toward Your holy temple,” to bring the idea of Jonah’s wish because of the Hebrew imperfect.

vi.      Does God hears Jonah’s wish to be back before God’s presence?

Answer: After Jonah remembers the LORD in his troubles, he said these words in verse 7b, “And my prayer came to You, into Your holy temple.”

Picture: A friend of mine got into an argument with his father and it was really bad.  Finally, after several weeks of awkwardness, he calls his father and says he’s sorry.  As he shared with me his remorse, I think we can say that if you were to listen in to him speak, you would say, there’s sign of true repentance because he saw what he did was wrong, and also because he wanted to restore that relationship and presence of his father.  The same also with us and God, if we are going to really pray to him to repent of our sins.

Practice:

i.      When you pray to God and confess your sins, do you do it mechanically?  Do you do it automatically with no feelings of remorse?

ii.      One of the quickest way of knowing your prayers of repentance is genuine is to see if you spend more time after confessing of sins, to talk to Him in prayer about other things, and also if you find time to absolutely adore and worship God!

 

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

Point: Confession means admitting that the other person’s perspective is correct.  In this case, confessing our sins to God means you will see your sins the way God sees it.

Passage:“For You had cast me into the deep,Into the heart of the seas, And the current [d]engulfed me. All Your breakers and billows passed over me.”

AND

“Those who regard [j]vain idols Forsake their faithfulness,”

Proof:

i.      Both section, verses 3 and 8, discusses about being forsaken.

ii.      Verse 8 gives this pronouncement: ““Those who regard [j]vain idols Forsake their faithfulness,”

      1. vain idols

Not just idols, but anything that takes the place of God is a sin!

2. “Forsake their faithfulness,

Some of your version will say loving kindness instead, and it refers to God’s enduring love in passages such as Psalm 110:5 and 106:1 (Limburg, 70).

iii.      In verse 3, Jonah gives a vivid description of how he is forsaken by God.  Thus, he’s saying that he’s among those who had forsaken God and himself also a sinner.

      1. “For You had cast me
        1. Again, another throwing verb appears in Jonah, showing the theme of Jonah going down away from God.
        2. This particular verb is used in the Old Testament in places like Psalm 51:11, 102:10 as a punitive separation from God’s presence (Kohlenberger, 49).
      2. Note the language of abandonment of where Jonah was at.

Practice:

Learn to identify false apologies and real apologies to God:

False apologies:
  • Is not concern with God’s perspective or what God’s Word has to say about the matter.
  • make excuses for yourself
  • shift the focus and responsibility off you and place them onto the listener (or God)
  • imply that the victim or God is being unreasonable or oversensitive
  • blame the one who was hurt or God Himself for the matter
  • often include the word “but”
Real apologies:
  • acknowledge other’s perspective
  • take responsibility without excuses
  • agree with God’s perspective
  • do not include the word “but”

Picture:  Here are some of the ridiculous words people say to apologize when they really are not sorry:

 FORMER PRESIDENT: “If the remarks on the tape left anyone with the impression that I was disrespectful to either Governor Cuomo or Italian-Americans, then I deeply regret it.”

A typical scenario: “I am sorry that what I said offended you.  Next time, I’ll keep my thought to myself.  By now, you should know that I have the tendency to say the truth as it is.  I’m like the kind of guy that gets in trouble when the wife ask, “Honey, does this dress makes me look fat.”

We will continue Chapter two next week.

 NEXT: Exposition of Jonah Part 5

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 For Exposition of Jonah Part 2 click HERE

Jonah and the Whale Carlo Antonio Tavella

Jonah 1:16

Establish the need: If you say you believe in God, does your attitude, action and words show this to be true?

Purpose: Don’t just fool yourself in saying everything is okay since you believe in God, but see that you have the attitude of fearing God, action of sacrifice and commitment to your words to Him.

Today’s three points:

Don’t just say you believe in God, do you fear Him? (v.16a)

Don’t just say you believe in God, do you offer sacrifice to Him? (v.16b)

Don’t just say you believe in God, do you keep your words to Him? (v.16c)

Passage:

16 Then the men feared the Lord greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.

Background

Jews as light to the nations (Isaiah 42:6)

Jews did not do a good job of being a good testimony to the nations

Same with Jonah

Ironically, Gentiles were coming to faith here!

 

I. Don’t just say you believe in God, do you fear Him? (v.16a)

Note: This will have the biggest focus in today’s sermon because it’s the least taught concept in the churches today in general, because it’s often misunderstood and because a proper understanding of it leads to the other point.

Point: If you your belief in God mean anything, you should have the proper attitude of fear for Him.

Passage:Then the men feared the Lord greatly,”

Proof:

    1. My translation: “The men feared with a great fear
    2. Twice the word “fear” shows up
      1. Once as a verb.
      2. Once as a noun.
    3. Q: Why twice mention of fear?
      1. A: To intensify the action.
    4. This verse is the conclusion of the narrative that began in verse 4 and fuller appreciation of it must flow from the context of chapter 1.

a. Fear is a running theme in Chapters 1.

i.      The men feared the storm in verse 5.

ii.      The phrase, “The men greatly feared” is repeated twice in chapter 1, once in verse 10 and again here in verse 16 to show their fear of Yahweh.

b. The center of the narrative focuses on the fear of God

i.      Chiastic Structure of Jonah 1:4-16 [SEE POWER POINT].

  • Lord hurl wind, storm begins (1:4)
  •             Sailors pray and act (1:5ab)
  •                         Jonah outrageous act (lies down, sleeps; 15:c)
  •                                     Captain/sailors question Jonah (1:6-8)
  •                                                 Jonah speaks (1:9)
  •                                     Sailors question Jonah (1:10-11)
  •                         Jonah outrageous suggestion (1:12)
  •             Sailors act, pray (1:13-14)
  • Sailors hurl Jonah, storm ends (1:16)

 ii.      Beginning in 1:4, there are 94 words before the beginning of the speech in 1:9 (“I am a Hebrew”) and 94 words in 1:10-15 (Limburg, 48).

iii.      Q: What did Jonah say in v. 9?

A: ““He said to them, ‘I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.’””

iv.      What verse 9 reveals about God

1. Focuses on the God of the Hebrews (Bible).

2. The name of God: Yahweh.

3. Yahweh is the Creator of the sea and dry land.

4. Verse 9 emphasizes Yahweh as Creator of the Sea (Irony).

Picture: (The different kind of fear distinguished: That of terror of a lion, that of a loving father).

Practice:

i.      Ask yourself Do you fear God like the way you fear your father?

1. If not, turn to Him for salvation!

2. If so, continue to do so!

ii.      Cultivate fear of God in your life

      1. Think about all the things God has done in your life in which He pulled you through or rescue you.  Just like the sailors, how could you not then fear Him?
      2. Read the Bible often, there are things that would make you have a proper fear of Him (Cf. 1 Corinthians 10:1-11).

II. Don’t just say you believe in God, do you offer sacrifice to Him? (v.16b)

Point: If you your belief in God mean anything, you should follow through with actions that honors Him.

Passage:and they offered a sacrifice”

Proof:

1. My translation: “and they offered an offering

2. Again, twice the word “offering” shows up

a. Once as a verb.

b. Once as a noun.

3. Q: Why twice mention of offering?

A: To intensify the action.

4. The verb “offer” is literally sacrifice.  In the Qal stem in the Hebrew, it always refer to real animal sacrifice (Sasson, 139).

5. Therefore, it involves real action, works and costs!

6. What God wants is more than sacrifice: He wants obedience (Psalm 50:7-16)!

7. The principle of having faith so called without works is also addressed in the New Testament in James 2:19-20.

Picture: (Limbo; if you really believe it would make you respond)

Practice:

i.      The New Testament does teach the importance of sacrifices, though in a different form: “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that [a]give thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15).  Do you see your worship on Sunday morning as a sacrifice offered to God?

ii.      Sacrifice involves cost.  In what you have done in serving God, what have it costs you?

iii.      Do you spend money sacrificially for the cause of Christ?

iv.      Count the costs of what God has done for you, then go do the hard things!

      1. If not, turn to Him for salvation!
      2. If so, continue to do so!

v.      Cultivate fear of God in your life

      1. Think about all the things God has done in your life in which He pulled you through or rescue you.  Just like the sailors, how could you not then fear Him?
      2. Read the Bible often, there are things that would make you have a proper fear of Him (Cf. 1 Corinthians 10:1-11).

III. Don’t just say you believe in God, do you keep your words to Him? (v.16c)

Point: You will keep your word with God.

Passage: “and made vows.”

Proof:

Note they “made vows.

This followed their action of making a sacrifice.

Practice:

i.      Have your faith in such a way that it leads you follow God with your action.  This is possible by the grace of God.

 

CONCLUSION

We must not forget Jesus in all of this.  He also taught the concept of fearing God, but in the context of God, hell and us: Luke 12:4-5.

We are made to fear things by God.  If we don’t fear God, and become His slave the sad thing is, we will fear and become enslave everything else.  Turn to Jesus.  Sailors are great analogy for our condition.

 

NEXT: Exposition of Jonah Part 4

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For Exposition of Jonah Part 1 click HERE

Jonah and the Whale Carlo Antonio Tavella

Jonah 1:3-17

Establishing the need: Are you running away from God or opportunities from God to be obedient in sharing the gospel?

 We can see symptoms in our lives of disobedience or running away from the LORD when we are not praying, not honoring and not having our lives filed with the things of God.

 

There is an irony in Jonah chapter one, in that Jonah is suppose to be a prophet who speaks the Word of God and point out other’s sin, yet here those who did not know the God of the Bible speaks more than the prophet did and point out the prophet’s own sin.

Purpose: This morning we will see three questions that nonbelievers asks of Jonah when he ran away from God, so that it will also challenge us as believers to be obedient and not runaway from the command to share the gospel.

Outline:

How can you not pray to God when He is pursuing you (v.4-6)?

How can you not honor Him when He is a part of your identity (v.7-9)?

How can you not turn back to God when your disobedience affects others (v.10-15)?

 

I. How can you not pray to God when He is pursuing you (v.4-6)?

  1. Point: God is in control of all things, and He is more than capable of bringing about events to make you realize your need for Him.  If you realize God is pursuing you, will you turn to God in prayer?
  2. Passage: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 [a]break up. Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the [b]cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it [c]for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep. 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.
  3. Proof:

i.      Verse 2 and 3 have already established that Jonah was running away from God on a ship to Tarshish.  Jonah did not want to preach to those in Nineveh.

ii.      Now verse 4 indicates that there was a great storm.

iii.      Who caused the Storm?—“The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea” (v.4a)

The Hebrew form for “hurled:

In the Hebrew, the form communicates a causative idea, with the LORD as the one who causes the hurling of the great wind.

It calls to mind the throwing of a spear such as in 1 Samuel 18:11, 20:33 (Youngblood, Location 1015).

This is the first of four times the verb “hurl” or “throw” is mentioned in this passage.

The effect of the great wind is a great storm.

iv.      How bad was the storm?  Four descriptions (v.4b-5a):

1. “so that the ship was about to [a]break up” (v.4b)

…the ship was about to break up” literally is “…the ship thought to break up.

Thought” here is the only instance in the Hebrew of using it with an inanimate subject, to personify the ship thinking itself will break and thus showing how dramatic the storm is (Limburg, 48-49).

2. “Then the sailors became afraid (v.5a)

Traveling to Tarshish from Israel would have been a long journey, and these sailors would have no doubt been experienced, yet they were afraid.

First time fear is mentioned in this passage but won’t be the only time.

In the beginning of this passage, we see that the sailors were only afraid of the situation.  But their fear is only going to intensify.

3. “and every man cried to his god,(v.5a)

The sailors’ ethnicity were likely Phoenicians, and they would have pleaded to Baal or Melqart, their god of rain and thunder (Kohlenberger, 33).

Down to a man, they prayed to their own god in vain.

4. “and they threw the [b]cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it [c]for them.” (v.5a)

Second time the word “throw” or “hurl” appears.

The throwing was an attempt to save the ship.

Those on the ship was really afraid, since ships of the Mediterranean would have carried precious cargoes such as metals, ivory, animals and other products (Limburg, 49).

                v.      Jonah’s response (v.5b)

      1. More appropriately, is his lack of response.
      2. It is rather surprising for us as readers to find where Jonah was.
      3. In contrast to the rest of the shipmates, “But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship,”
      4. In contrast to the rest of the shipmates’ desperation, Jonah “lain down and fallen sound asleep.
      5. The rest of those on bard are struggling to stay alive, Jonah resign himself to death (Youngblood, Location 1210).

vi.      The Captain’s question and rebuke

Question: “ So the captain approached him and said, “How is it that you are sleeping?” (v.6)

Command: “Get up, call on your god.”

Irony that someone who is not a follower of the true living God is exhorting a true believer to pray (Kohlenberger, 34).

Jonah must have heard echoes of God’s original command since the captain’s first command “Get up,” was originally the first command God had for Jonah in 1:2 (Kohlenberger, 34).

Reason: “Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.

4. Practice:

i.      Let the questions that the captain asks also be questions that’s asked to us:

1. “ So the captain approached him and said, “How is it that you are sleeping?” (v.6)

There is incredible irony that Christians who know best what is going on in the world, can act like we are asleep while the world tremble in ignorance but know enough to realize there is a problem in the world.

2. “Get up, call on your god.”

In one word: Pray!

ii.      If nonbelievers ask you to pray for them, pray for them and pray that God will use those circumstances to draw them to Himself.

 

II. How can you not honor Him when He is a part of your identity (v.7-9)?

  1. Point: The Bible teaches that when God has saved you and given you eternal life, your whole identity has changed: You are a new creation!  Your desire has also changed:  In light of this, how can you not want to honor Him when He is a part of your identity?
  2. Passage:Each man said to his mate, “Come, let us cast lots so we may [d]learn on whose account this calamity has struck us.” So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 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?” He said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.”
  3. Proof:

i.      The shipmates wonders about the cause of the storm (v.7)

1. Jonah’s silence and disobedience?

a. Since Jonah was a prophet, one would have expected that Jonah would have prayed or preached to the sailors after the captain’s command in verse 6, but this is not what we find.  Instead the sailors were speaking.

b. Perhaps Jonah first disobedience to preach to Nineveh also led him to have a callous heart not to preach

2. READ Jonah 1:7.

ii.      The shipmates’ volley of five questions (v.8)

1. “On whose account has this calamity struck us?”

a. This is their main question since “calamity” is repeated from verse 7 with the reasons why they cast lot in the first place.

b. Yet the most important question is one that Jonah will not immediately answer (Kohlenberger, 35)!

2. “What is your occupation?

Jonah does not tell them he is a prophet, which is his very identity!

3. “And where do you come from?

4. “What is your country?

5. ‘From what people are you?

iii.      Jonah’s answer focuses on his identity (v.9)

– Jonah the prophet finally speaks for the first time in this book!

– Turning point of the chapter!

      1. National identity: “I am a Hebrew,
        1. This answers the last three questions the sailors had.
        2. It also helped narrow down which God Jonah has offended.
      2. Believer of the God of the Bible: “and I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.”
        1. Some of your version might say “I worship the LORD,” but literally in the Hebrew is “I fear the LORD.
        2. His identity is tied in with fearing the true living God, which of course at that moment he was disobedient towards.
        3. Fear is an important theme throughout this chapter!

4. Picture: Evangelism is something I don’t always feel comfortable doing either, especially when others might be hostile to what I have to say.  I remember working one time, and I overheard some Christians trying to witness and defend the Bible is true.  They beckoned me to join them and I finally can’t help it but I had to join in the conversation because so much of who I am is defined by my relationship and identity in God and Christ Jesus.  I have to share the Word of God because it’s in my identity.

5. Practice:

i.      We need to have the questions asked to Jonah be asked of us:

      1. And where do you come from?
      2. What is your country?
      3. From what people are you?

When you answer these questions, does your relationship with God enter into the picture of your identity?

ii.      Our identity in Christ and God is important when we share the gospel:  We don’t evangelize to become a Christian or to get saved, but rather we are saved and going to heaven and therefore knowing the goodness of God in our lives that define who we are, we evangelize.

 

III. How can you not turn back to God when your disobedience affects others (v.10-15)?

1. Point: You need to realize that when you are disobedient to God, the consequences of it affect others.  This should discourage us from being disobedient to God and make us consider more carefully when we choose the route of disobedience.

2. Passage:10 Then the men became extremely frightened and they said to him, “[e]How could you do this?” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. 11 So they said to him, “What should we do to you that the sea may become calm [f]for us?”—for the sea was becoming increasingly stormy. 12 He said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm [g]for you, for I know that on account of me this great storm has come upon you.” 13 However, the men [h]rowed desperately to return to land but they could not, for the sea was becoming even stormier against them. 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 You, O Lord, have done as You have pleased.”  15 So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging.

3. Proof:

i.      After realizing what Jonah said, the sailors fear increased: “Then the men became extremely frightened” (v.10a)

Literally in the Hebrew, “the men feared a great fear” to emphasize the intensity of their fear.  It is greater than the fear first mentioned in verse 5 of the storm.

Now their fear is not in ignorance: “For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them” (v.10b)

The sea is frightening, the storm is too, but there is nothing like fearing the God behind the storm and sea—God Himself!

ii.      The people’s two questions to Jonah (v.10-11)

A question expressing amazement: “How could you do this?” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them” (v.10)

Be reminded these are people who did not believe in the God of the Bible, who have more sense than Jonah, and asked him pointedly how can he runaway from God.

A question seeking for rescue: “11 So they said to him, “What should we do to you that the sea may become calm [f]for us?”—for the sea was becoming increasingly stormy. (v.11)

iii.      Jonah’s proposed solution (v.12)

      1. Jonah’s radical proposal: ““Pick me up and throw me into the sea.
        1. For the third time, the verb “throw” is stated.
        2. It’s ironic to note how the whole time, the crew and Jonah think that the solution to escape what God is doing is to throw something down!
      2. Reason why: “Then the sea will become calm [g]for you, for I know that on account of me this great storm has come upon you.

iv.      Unlike Jonah, the people’s wanted to do what is right (v.13-15)

      1. At first they did not listen at first to Jonah’s advice: “13 However, the men [h]rowed desperately to return to land …” (v.13a)
      2.  But they were unsuccessful: “but they could not, for the sea was becoming even stormier against them” (v.13b)
      3. Finally they did as Jonah wanted (v.14-15)

a. The men’s prayer: “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 You, O Lord, have done as You have pleased.”

i.      It’s a prayer of fear and desperation of being trapped because they happened to be with disobedient Jonah.

ii.      Yet incredible irony:

          1. Unlike before, they did not pray to their own gods but to the true living God!
          2. Unlike Jonah, they did pray to God.
          3. Unlike Jonah, they wanted to do what is right: “and do not put innocent blood on us;  

b. The men’s action (v.15)

i.      Word for word fulfillment here with Jonah’s command in verse 12: So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea,”

ii.      Result: “and the sea stopped its raging.

4. Picture: If you really understand that not evangelizing will affect people’s eternity, how can you not be obedient to return to God and share your faith?  Hear the words of an atheist comedian, Penn Jillette who as a non-Christian say these telling words:

I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward—and atheists who think people shouldn’t proselytize and who say just leave me along and keep your religion to yourself—how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? “I mean, if I believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.” (http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2009/11/17/how-much-do-you-have-to-hate-somebody-to-not-proselytize/)

5. Practice:

i.      Before the Lord, are the questions Jonah asked relevant to you: “How could you do this?” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them” (v.10)

ii.      Study the doctrine of sin, hell and grace—the more you know the effect of sins, the more you would want to evangelize.

iii.      If you struggle with a cold heart that does not evangelize, try sitting down at a Chinese supermarket, sit down in the curb and watch people coming and going; try eating at midnight at a Yoshinoya or a restaurant in the middle of the week, and see what kind of people who are older and probably have no wife and kids that would eat alone after a long night of work; before you know it, your heart will melt, your ability to have tears just flow and you say, to yourself, how can you not evangelize?

 

CONCLUSION

There is a structure in Hebrew call Chiasm, which is a literary device to show what is important; in Jonah 1, the climax of the chapter is in verse 9: “and I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.”

Notice what happen when Jonah or you talk about the fear of God:

16 Then the men feared the Lord greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows. 

Ironically, Jonah the one who did not want to preach, say this one important climatic line, and God does the rest to bring them to a true faith.

We are to preach the truth to all people no matter where you are at and what circumstances.

There was a man name John Harper who was suppose to come over from Britain to pastor the famous Moody Bible Church.  The ship he was on, was the Titanic:

 When the Titanic was struck by the iceberg that drove in her sides and sent the ship to the bottom, John Harper was leaning against the railing, pleading with a young man to come to Christ. Four years after the Titanic went down, a young Scotsman rose in a meeting in Hamilton, Canada, and said, ‘I am a survivor of the Titanic. When I was drifting alone on a piece of wood that awful night, the tide brought Mr. John Harper of Glasgow on a piece of wreckage near me. He said to me, ‘Man, are you saved?’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘I’m not.’ He replied, ‘Believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ, and you’ll be saved.’ And the waves bore him away, but strange to say, brought him back a little later, and again he said, ‘Are you saved now?’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘I can’t honestly say that I am.’ He said again, ‘Believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.’ And shortly after, he went down beneath the water. And there alone in the night, and with two miles of water under me, I believed, and I am John Harper’s last convert.'”

(SOURCE)

NEXT: Exposition of Jonah Part 3

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 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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