Jonah Rejects His Call
Comments for Study 1
Memory Verse: 1:17
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I. The Lord Calls Jonah (1:1-3)
>1. Who is Jonah? (1)
* Jonah 1:1 "The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai:"
* "The word of the Lord" -This term is often used when the Lord sends one of his prophets somewhere with a message.
* Jonah's ministry was from 784 to perhaps as late as 722 B.C. He was a prophet of the northern kingdom (Israel). See the introduction for more information about Jonah.
>Where did the Lord tell him to go to?
* Jonah 1:2 "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me."
* "the great city" -Genesis 10:12 also calls Nineveh "the great city".
* "Nineveh" -Nineveh was an ancient complex of cities encompassed in a 100 foot (30m) wall. In Jonah's time it was the largest city with 600,000 people. It had great influence in Asia and the Middle East. Nimrod was the founder of the Babylonian empire, the conqueror of Assyria, and the builder of Nineveh (Genesis 10:8-11). Around 700 B.C. Sennacherib made Nineveh the capital of Assyria and it remained the capital until Babylon conquered it in 612 B.C.
* Nineveh was over 500 miles from Jonah's home.
* "preach against it" -Preaching was a main activity of a prophet. Not all preaching is against a city or country. Some are encouragements and directions.
* "because its wickedness" -Nineveh's people especially the leaders and honored citizens, were guilty of great evils. 100 years later the prophet Nahum cited plotting evil against the Lord (Nah. 1:11), cruelty and plundering in war (Nah. 2:12-13, 3:1, 19), prostitution and witchcraft (Nah. 3:4) and commercial exploitation (Nah. 3:16).
* Assyria was a growing power before and during Jonah's time. Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 B.C.) conquered the peoples to the north in Asia Minor as far as Nairi (modern Turkey/Iran) and exacting tribute from Phrygia (modern Turkey), then invading Aram (modern Syria) conquering the Aramaeans and neo Hittites between the Khabur and the Euphrates Rivers. His harshness prompted a revolt that he crushed decisively in a pitched, two-day battle. According to his monument inscription while recalling this massacre he says, "their men young and old I took prisoners. Of some I cut off their feet and hands; of others I cut off the ears noses and lips; of the young men's ears I made a heap; of the old men's heads I made a marinet. I exposed their heads as a trophy in front of their city. The male children and the female children I burned in flames; the city I destroyed, and consumed with fire." Following this victory, he advanced without opposition as far as the Mediterranean and exacted tribute from Phoenicia.
>Did Jonah obey? (3)
* Jonah 1:3 "But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD."
* "ran away from the Lord" -Jonah was not the first and not the last person and even prophet to not accept the mission that was given him.
* "Tarshish" -Tarshish was either a city in ancient Hispania (modern Spain) or the city of Carthage (modern Tunisia). It was as far in the opposite direction of Nineveh that Jonah could go.
* "Joppa" -A port city on the Mediterranean just within Philistia control.
* Why Jonah believed he had to leave Israel isn't clear. He could have ignored the call and stay in Israel. But he didn't stay in Israel. Perhaps he believe the Lord couldn't contact him once he left Israel. Or perhaps he believed he had to get away from Israel if he was going to ignore other believers too. There was a company of prophets in Israel (Jonah may have known his predecessor, Elisha). Jonah must have had acquaintance with them. They would have known of the call too. Some of them might have been trying to convince him to accept the call. If so since he was set on not going to Nineveh he might have decided to leave Israel and therefore not be under the eye of fellow followers of the Lord. Often is the case when people leave the Lord, the break off all or most relationships with other believers.
>Why might he do this? (4:2)
* Jonah 4:2 "He prayed to the LORD, "O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity."
* "a gracious and compassionate God" -The Lord's grace and compassion is great. He does not want anyone to see destruction. Jesus came full of grace and truth. His interactions with those who continually tried to kill him shows this. Jesus' love is seen in his death for our sins.
* "God who relents from sending calamity" -Many other religions portrays God as a vicious loveless aloof identity with lightening bolts in hand ready to throw them at anyone. This not true of the one and only High God.
* "slow to anger" -God does get angry. However, he is not a hot head.
* Many people including Jonah wanted the evil Nineveh to be completely wiped out. Jonah learned it would be in forty days if they didn't repent. By sending Jonah with a warning God was hoping that they would repent.
* Jeroboam II was king of Israel during this time. He was an evil king (see Introduction) as were as most in Israel. Jonah had known of this and surely wanted Israel to repent and thus receive the Lord's forgiveness. But Jonah would not give Nineveh the chance to repent and receive the Lord's forgiveness.
* Perhaps Jonah thought, "If they do repent and thus be spared by the Lord, then will they eventually conquer us as they have everyone esle in their way?" Everyone would have known of what Nineveh did to other nations.
* The Lord God had established and called Israel to be a priestly nation. They were chosen to be a blessing to the Gentile nations. Instead they abandoned their call and wanted to be like the Gentiles. They rejected their God and his ways.
>How have some Christians neglected the mission the Lord gave the church?
* 1 Timothy 4:1 "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons."
* Luke 9:26 "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels."
* Jesus gave us the command, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation". (Matt. 16:15) The Holy Spirit has given gifts to each believer in order to accomplish this goal. Some responsibilities are more visible than others. Some are easy to see the connection to this command. Since we all have received the command and have been equipped to fulfill the command we should not neglect our responsibility.
II. Jonah Sin Exposed (1:4-10)
>2. Was Jonah able to get away from the Lord?
* Jonah 1:4 "Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up."
* "great wind" -Sailors do not like to much wind and to little wind.
* Jonah tried to get away from the Lord and his mission. There is no way to get away from the Lord God.
* Psalm 139:7-12 "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you."
>How was Jonah's reaction different than the sailors?
* Jonah 1:5 "All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep."
* "were afraid" -I once heard that there are no atheists in wars (fox holes). We all have ingrained in us the knowledge of God.
* "each cried out to his own god" -Just because we believe in a god, does not mean that it is the one and only true God. Many have been fooled by either their own sinful desires or demons (usually both) to follow false gods and beliefs. Just because we are sincere in our faith, does not mean that our faith is place in a trustworthy place or person. Just because we seek God does not mean that we will accept him when we are faced with his truth. Just because we believe in the one and only true God and fear him does not mean that we are true to him and love him. Adam knew God personally and yet chose to follow another. Even demons know Jesus is the Son of God, the creator of heaven and earth and yet they were against him and did not follow his ways.
* "threw cargo into the sea" -The cargo would have been worth a lot, the reason for their journey, and a great business investment. When confronted to chose life and money most chose life.
* "to lighten the ship" -A lighter ship rides higher in the water. Thus taking on less water in a storm.
* "lay down and fell into a deep sleep" -Unlike the sailors Jonah did not call on God.
>What does this say about the reluctant prophet?
* Jonah had no fear and/or perhaps he had accepted his guilt and believed God was going to take his life. The later does not seem probable because if he knew he was going to die why go to sleep?
* On more than one occasion Jesus and his disciples were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee when a storm came up. Once the disciples were trying to save the boat like these sailors while Jesus slept. The disciples woke him. He rebuked them for their lack of faith and calmed the sea. (Matt. 8:23-27)
>3. Was the captain's request reasonable? (6)
* Jonah 1:6 "The captain went to him and said, "How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish."
* "Call on your god!" -People of the ancient world believed that their gods had control over a certain area, occupation, or people. Each town, family, and nation had their god.
* "Maybe he will take notice of us" -The gods of ancient people often did not care for those who worshiped them according to their own myths. Idols are not gods. They are nothing but stone, wood, and metals formed by man. Some of these idols had demons working in the name of the man made idol. Today demons are still at work deceiving mankind.
* "we will not perish" -The captains concern for everyone of the ship stands in contrast to Jonah's concern from them and Nineveh.
* The pleads of the sailors did not calm the storm. They were so desperate to stay alive that they would take any help they could get. When in dire straits those without the Lord will seek and do anything to stay alive, even evil acts that they in normal situations would consider repulsive. Here, the sailors would seek any god who could save them.
* A test of faith is to trust in the Lord Jesus even in the "valley of the shadow of death".
* Jonah did not answer him.
>How did the sailors discover that the threatening storm was Jonah's fault?
* Jonah 1:7 "Then the sailors said to each other, "Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity." They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah."
* "cast lots" -People in the ancient Near East often cast lots to determine things. They believed God would reveal by the odd one out. Similar but not the same as drawing straws today.
* "who is responsible" -They held the common belief that when people do evil bad things happen to them and when people do righteous things then good things happen to them. This is often not the case. Jesus said, "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matthew 5:45a) No matter what God sends our way men have and will either curse God or love him.
* "the Lot fell on Jonah" -God allowed Jonah to be revealed.
>How does this show that the lives of believers affect others? (Matt. 5:13-16)
* Matthew 5:13-16 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
* The presence of God's people is a sweet fragrance to him. Because of us judgment is held back.
>4. What did they want to know from Jonah?
* Jonah 1:8 "So they asked him, "Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?"
* "who is responsible for making all this trouble for us" -The sailors didn't come right out and say you are responsible for the calamity.
* The sailors knew who was responsible because of the cast lots. Now they wanted to know why Jonah was the source. We often want to know why bad things happen because we have a hard time accepting judgement. Many believe they are good enough, that is no worse than those around them.
>What did he tell them?
* Jonah 1:9 "He answered, "I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land."
* "Hebrew" -Hebrew is an ancient term. (Gen. 14:13) In Jonah's time it was used to describe people in the Middle East who believed in the Lord God, the God of the Bible.
* "I worship the LORD" -Jonah worshipped the Lord prior to this event. But at this time by his refusal to accept the Lord's mission in his life he was not worshiping the Lord.
* "the God of heaven" -As mentioned above ancient people often considered idols (gods) as having territories on earth. Jonah distinguished the Lord as the King of Heaven. The sailors would have recognized that Jonah was speaking of the highest God from their belief systems. The Near East belief systems held that only the highest God controlled the sea. All other gods only controlled areas on the land (earth).
* "who made the sea and the land" -The Lord is not only King of Heaven, he is also creator of all. Jesus is the Lord God, the creator of all. (John 1)
* Even though Jonah knew he was the result of the calamity he did not hold back his confession. He was honest even though it would probably mean his death by the hands of the sailors.
>Why might they react as they did?
* Jonah 1:10 "This terrified them and they asked, "What have you done?" (They knew he was running away from the LORD, because he had already told them so.)"
* "this terrified them" -When the sailors learned the truth fear of the Lord fell on them. The reality of the storm confirmed Jonah's statement. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and to shun evil is understanding.
* The sailors experienced the wrath of the Lord against Jonah. They now understood that it was not because of them or anything they did or did not do. The Lord's wrath against Jonah was affecting them. They did not know how the Lord's wrath would end for them and Jonah. Now that they know the truth they had to make decisions. How where they going to react to the truth? Similarly, when the gospel is preached people have to decide what to do. Continuing after salvation through faith in Jesus, as we live by faith we have to make decisions of faith. "Believe" is a combination of two words "to" and "live". If we believe we live by faith in an active and real way. Decisions of faith are never easy. If they were easy it would not be a decision of faith.
* "What have you done" -A rhetorical question that is really an accusation with the hint of curiosity.
III. Jonah Confesses His Sin (1:11-17)
>5. What did the fearful sailors ask Jonah?
* Jonah 1:11 "The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, "What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?"
* "The sea was getting rougher and rougher" -This seems to imply that the sailors did not do anything right after they learned the truth from Jonah.
* "What should we do" -They asked Jonah because none of them were worshipers of the Lord God, creator of the heavens and the earth. Only Jonah believed in the Lord, even though now he was running from the Lord's will for his life. The sailors were asking what would appease the Lord.
>How did he respond?
* Jonah 1:12 "Pick me up and throw me into the sea," he replied, "and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you."
* "Pick me up" -Jonah was not being heroic. Jonah wanted to be removed by the hands of others (similar to modern day people wanting to be killed by a policeman's gun). Jumping overboard would mean death because in those days people did not know how to swim. Jonah would not commit suicide because suicide was a sin. Interesting because he was sinning with his defiance in accepting the word of the Lord concerning his ministry to Nineveh.
* "throw me into the sea" -The solution was obvious. Since the storm was the result of Jonah's sin, if Jonah was no longer on the boat, the sailors would not be in danger of sinking. Jonah knows the solution, but did not solve it himself.
* "it is my fault" -Jonah was confessing his sin. However, it was orthodox; that is, from his head instead of from his heart. We can accept our sins in several levels. The only one that means anything is from the heart. Consider Judas who knew he had sin, but did not seek forgiveness in Christ after it. Romans 10:5-13 states, "Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: "The man who does these things will live by them." But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down) "or 'Who will descend into the deep?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
* Accepting our sin(s) from the heart and then confessing our sin(s) is the beginning of healing and correcting. They lead to the road of forgiveness and salvation.
>When did they finally agree to his request? (13-16)
* Jonah 1:13-16 "Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. Then they cried to the LORD, "O LORD, please do not let us die for taking this man's life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O LORD, have done as you pleased." Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him."
* "Instead" -The men though Gentiles had more concern from Jonah's well being then he had for the people of Nineveh.
* "row back to land" -Perhaps they had not gone far from Joppa.
* "But they could not" -The Lord kept them from success because he had a plan.
* "Then they cried out to the Lord" -Perhaps for the first time in their life they called on the Lord. The sailors did not call on the Lord until they had exhausted all options.
>How was the sailors attitude toward the Lord different than Jonah's?
* "O LORD, please do not let us die for taking this man's life" -Humility and asking for mercy.
* "killing an innocent man" -Jonah was not innocent in regard to the Lord. However, he was innocent in regard to his actions towards these men. Jonah was callous toward them, but he did not sin against them.
* "for you, O LORD, have done as you pleased" -They knew that the Lord by their actions and attempts that the Lord truely wanted them to throw him overboard.
* "At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him" -Even in Jonah's sin was he a witness to the sailors. Similarly, Abraham was a witness to others by his sin of going to Egypt and claiming his wife was his sister. The Lord will use us to proclaim the truth to others whether we are willing or not.
* "feared the Lord" -Pagans recognized many gods. The sailor's fear of the Lord here did not mean that they renounced their idols. It just means that they acknoledged that the Lord was in control of these events.
* The sailors had fear of the Lord. Jonah did not. The sailors acknowledged the Lord's will in Jonah's life. Jonah did not. The sailors sacrificed. Jonah did not. The sailors made vows to the Lord. Jonah did not. The sailors' stubborn hearts were moved. Jonah's was not.
* We do not know what happened after the sailors were saved. Did they seek the Lord? Or did they do as Psalm 106:12-13 states, "Then they believed his promises and sang his praise. But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel."
>6. How did the Lord show his love for the reluctant prophet Jonah?
* Jonah 1:17 "But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights."
* "the LORD provided" -The love of the Lord is shown in the fact that he did not allow Jonah to die just as he did not allow the sailors to die.
* "a great fish" -Most believe it was was a whale. However in the early 1900s a man was discovered alive inside a shark. The Hebrew term here and the Greek term in the gospels used to quote Jesus are general terms. However, they are definitely not the Leviathan (Isa. 27:1) the serpent of the sea (Amos 9:3; Job 7:12 Psalm 74:13; Exodus 32:2).
* "three days and three nights" -Ancient Israelites considered part of the days as equivalent to the whole day. The term for day here as in the gospel means one full day and parts of two other days.
>How did Jonah's experience foreshadow Jesus death and resurrection? (Matt. 12:40-41, 16:2-4; Luke 11:30)
* Matthew 12:39-40 "He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
* Matthew 16:2-4 "He replied, "When evening comes, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,' and in the morning, 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away."
* Luke 11:29-30 "As the crowds increased, Jesus said, "This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation."
* Jonah was in sin and yet the Lord showed kindness to him by rescuing him. "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8)
* Similar to Jonah where the sailors sacrificed Jonah so they could be saved; the Jews and the Romans sacrificed Jesus so that they could be saved. A fact that Jesus did not reveal to the Pharisees when he quoted Jonah's experience while referring to his death, burial and resurrection. And Like Jonah was willing to lay down his life to save the others, so Jesus was willing to lay down his life to save the world. The difference between the world and the kingdom of God is that that world willingly sacrifices others to be saved, where as the people of the kingdom of God displays love by sacrificing themselves to save others.
IV. Jonah Prays (2:1-10)
* See the drawing "The Prophet Jonah Released from the Whale" by Dore to the right. (Obtained from creationism.org.)
>7. Where was Jonah when he prayed?
* Jonah 2:1 "From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God."
* "inside the fish" -Jonah did not die as he and the sailors thought. When Jesus left his physical body he did not die. "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive." (Luke 20:38)
* "Jonah prayed" -After we acknowledge our sins we need to turn to the Lord for forgiveness.
* Jonah does not quote the Psalms directly. However many of his phrases are reminiscent of that book:
>What was it equivelant to? (2)
* Jonah 2:2 "He said: "In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry."
* "in my distress" -Distress brought on by his rebellion. Sometimes believers wonder why bad things happen to them, when all they have to do is look toward themselves.
* "he answered me" -Jonah must have called to the Lord when he was in the water before the fish swallowed him.
* "From the depths of the grave" -Jonah must have been sinking in the water when he called for help. Some commentaries say that this refers to when he was in the fish, but the flow does not indicate this.
* "depths of the grave" -When we die our bodies are buried in the earth (dirt). Jonah equates sinking in the water to being buried in the dirt.
* "I called for help" -While still in the flesh it is never to late to call to the Lord for help.
* "you listened to my cry" -Just because we have sinned does not mean that the Lord will not hear us. A long time ago someone told me, "You know that the Lord cannot hear the prayers of sinners." I asked, "You mean 'he will not bless the requests of the unforgiven?" He said, "No, God actually cannot hear the prayers of sinners. They speak to him and he doesn't even hear them." He was wrong, but I did not argue with his dogma. Here, the Lord heard the prayer of the sinning prophet Jonah.
>How does he describe his experience? (3, 5)
* Jonah 2:3 "You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me."
* Jonah 2:5 "The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head."
* "You hurled me" -Jonah recognized that the Lord was responsible, not the sailors.
* Jonah is describing his experience as he sank. Jonah was helpless. He could not save himself. No one can escape death. Roy Rogers once said, "Only two things are sure in life; death and taxes."
>How was Jesus (and someday us) rescued from the grave? (Acts 13:34-39)
* Acts 13:34-39 "The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words: "'I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.' So it is stated elsewhere: "'You will not let your Holy One see decay.' For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay. Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses."
* Those who call on the name of the Lord while still alive, even on the brink of death will be raised again.
>8. What did Jonah believe even though he had sinned? (4)
* Jonah 2:4 "I said, 'I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.'"
* "I have been banished from your sight" -"Have" is past tense. So this is in this life, while he sunk in the water.
* "I will" -This is future tense.
* "Look again toward your holy temple" -Jonah believed in the resurrection of the dead.
* "temple"-The temple in Jerusalem.
* "Jonah 2:6 "To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God."
* "roots of the mountains" -The ocean floor.
* "brought my life up from the pit" -Jonah was as good as dead.
* "the pit" -The grave, in Hebrew "Sheol". Sheol was the place where those who died went. Jesus taught about the dead Lazarus that there were two sides of Sheol; one for the unrepentant and one for God's people. When Jesus died he descended to this side of Sheol and escorted them to heaven where they await the resurrection to come when Jesus descends.
* "Oh Lord my God" -Jonah still considered the Lord his God even though he had run away from his mission and was now being punished for it.
>How does this again foreshadow the resurrection? (John 11:25-26)
* John 11:25-26 "Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
* "up from the pit" -As Jonah rose from the pit so Jesus rose from the dead.
>9. Was Jonah to wrong and to far away for his prayer to reach the Lord? (7)
* Jonah 2:7 "When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple."
* "ebbing away" -He was not dead yet.
* "I remembered you" -Not that he lost the knowledge of the Lord for he told the sailors that he was running away from the Lord. Rather, this was a confession that he had rejected the Lord and now was calling on him.
* "rose to you" -Meaning above the earth to arrive at heaven.
* "your holy temple" -Not in Jerusalem but in heaven. Heaven is the Lord's throne until he comes again. During Old Testament times the ark which was in the temple in Jerusalem was considered the Lord footstool. (1 Chron. 28:2; Psalm 132:7-8; Lam. 2:1)
* We can never be to far from the Lord for wherever we can go there he is.
>How is the Lord better than idols?
* Jonah 2:8 "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs."
* "worthless idols" -Even though few pray and offer sacrifices to statues in the modern world many other things have taken their place; sports, money, success, people, clothing, etc.
* "forfeit" -The right is lost. All have the chance to turn to the Lord for help. However, if they turn to idols they lose the Lord's grace. Jesus said, "Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28)
* "grace" -Unmerited divine assistance.
* "could be" -We have a choice every day, every hour, every minute.
>Where did Jonah and does our salvation come from? (9)
* Jonah 2:9 "But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD."
* "I will sacrificed to you" -Sacrifice of thanksgiving.
* "I have vowed" -Prayers for deliverance often came with vows to offer thanksgiving sacrifices as is seen in Psalms.
* "Salvation comes from the Lord" -No other place.
* Psalm 37:39-40 "The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him."
* Acts 4:10-12 "then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is "'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone'. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
>10. Did the Lord honor Jonah's repentance and confession? (10)
* Jonah 2:10 "And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land."
* A miracle planned by the Lord.
>What must have he looked like when he exited the fish?
* Jonah skin must have been pale, marred and hairless. To the Ninevites he must have looked like the walking dead.
>How is the grace and love of God displayed in this part of Jonah's life? (Exodus 34:6-7; Rom. 8:38-39)
* Exodus 34:6-7 "And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."
* Romans 8:38-39 "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
* Even though he had rejected the Lord, the Lord did not reject him. The Lord listened to his repentant prayer. Jesus similarly forgave Peter after he denied knowing the Lord three times.