These are notes collected from studying with brothers in Christ. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!
“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.”
“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.”
Jonah is not the only one encountering God in this story. I thought it was cool how the sailors each cried out to their gods to no avail, but then they all experienced the true power of the LORD and became believers.
“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.”
God’s grace and love is so much greater than anything this world can offer us.
I think the first thing that jumps out to me in Jonah is this phrase “The Lord appointed.” He appointed a great fish to shallow Jonah (1:17), He appointed a plant to come up over Jonah (4:6), He appointed a worm to attack the plant (4:7), He appointed a scorching east wind.
Of course, God then uses all this to aim to teach Jonah one of if not the central message of the book. He is ultimately in control and has compassion on who He wishes to have compassion on, and judges those who deserve judgment.
Also, 4:1-2 really were interesting verses to me. I do not think I ever realized just how selfish Jonah was, even after God’s mercy to him. He is angry about the Lord’s great compassion and steadfast love toward Nineveh even though the same love and mercy was just extended toward him.
I’m not sure why he said, “that’s why I made hast to flee to Tarshish (I guess because he knew the Lord would extend mercy and he did not want them to have any), followed by the request to take his life” (v 2 & 3)?! It seems odd I guess he would want to die because of God’s mercy and the fact he had actually just obeyed the 2nd time around…
love these insights – this book really speaks to me. here are a few thoughts:
- there seems a strong contrast with Jonah (who is disobedient, while thinking he/Israel deserves God) and the sailors (who don’t follow God), the big fish (who clearly doesn’t follow God), and Nineveh (who are Assyrian and not following God)–yet the latter 3 are obedient and willing to turn to God and be used for His purposes. In other words, Jonah was a classic Pharisee (who was self-righteous while not realizing all the mercy he’d been given).
- Related to #1… it says over and over (as stated above), “The Lord appointed” (or things like that). God appointed all sorts of things and they all were faithful to Him…but He appointed Jonah to preach, and he was the 1 person unfaithful to God’s appointment in the book. It’s like the joke is on Jonah all along, who thinks he’s so great and others are undeserving, but really he’s the one who is undeserving.
- Related to #1 and #2… I think the greatest “prophetic warning” of the book of Jonah is how Israel/Jonah thought they were special because of their righteousness, but the world is more righteous than them. This is a call for Israel to repent.
- Lastly, I think Jonah shows beautifully God’s heart to save the nations and show mercy, BUT it also shows God’s judgment and that He has clear protocol for reconciling to Him. He wants Nineveh to live, but they must repent or God will destroy them. In this way it’s a very powerful book to show people who think a loving God would never send people to hell. God does love, but always has standards of righteousness and true judgment against sin.
One thought on “Jonah”
I have read or heard that Assyria brought destruction to Jerusalem and/or Israel and so Jonah was very upset of God’s mercy upon a nation that had destroyed them.