Jonah 1:1-17 1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
• Written around the middle of the 8th century BC. Cf. 2 Kings 14:23-28
• There are no indicators in Scripture to identify the author. The traditional view is that Jonah is the author of this book. Jonah is one of the 12 “minor” prophets. Prophets were people who spoke for God. Cf. 1 Samuel 9:9; Ephesians 2:20; 2 Peter 1:19-21
2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” 3 But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.
• Jonah was given a purpose to reach a city through proclaiming truth. This is called evangelism. Cf. 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9; Romans 10:14-15
Connect to Jesus, the church, and to the world. God used someone to preach truth to you, you get discipled in the church to grow in that truth, and then you are called to go and share that truth with others.
• Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian Empire. Jonah wants to get away from that city, his purpose, and even the presence of God. He started traveling 2,500 miles in the opposite direction to Tarshish.
• What motivated Jonah to flee his purpose and God’s presence? 1) Too Difficult – for a Hebrew prophet to “call out against it [Nineveh]” 2) Too Dangerous – because “their evil has come up before me [God]” Cf. Nahum 3:1-4 3) Too Disdainful (the real reason) – because this prejudice prophet knew that God would use his preaching to reach the very people he hated. Cf. Jonah 3:10; 4:1-2; 1 Corinthians 1:27
4 But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. 5 Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep. 6 So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.” 7 And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, “Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” 9 And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” 10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. 11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. 12 He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” 13 Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they called out to the Lord, “O Lord, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.
• God still uses bad preaching to reach sailors. Cf. 1 Corinthians 1:21
God is compassionate, in that, he offers revival to a rebellious city, but also for the one he sends.
17 And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Luke 15:24-32 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. 25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”
You have a purpose bigger than yourself and God’s presence to empower to change your world. Don’t miss the party!