Summary: This is the introduction to a verse by verse study of the book of Jonah.
I do not know about you, but my life has been one gracious second chance from God after another. If I had a half penny for every time the Lord has picked my sorry hide up off the ground, I would be the wealthiest man on the planet. I am truly thankful not only that the Lord has saved me, but has kept me saved for all of these years – and will throughout eternity!
I. Second Chance is Required. 1:1-16
A. The Chance. 1:1-2
B. The Wrong Choice. 1:3
C. The Chase. 1:4-16
II. Second Chance Received. 1:17-3:10
A. Jonah’s Conveyance. 1:17
B. Jonah’s Compliance. 2:1-9
C. Jonah’s Second Chance. 2:10-3:10
III. Second Chance can be Rejected. 4:1-11
A. Jonah Languished. 4:1-5
B. Jehovah’s Lesson. 4:6-11
BACKGROUND TO THE BOOK OF JONAH
1. In Basketball one of the most important skills for players to have is the ability to rebound. Rebounds occur because a shot somewhere has been missed. There is no need for a rebound unless something has been missed. If a shot was missed, that means a shot was attempted, but somehow something went wrong in the attempt that caused the shot to be missed, and therefore, we have the need for a rebound. One reason a shot can be missed is that a player was off in their perspective. They may have shot too short, too long, too hard, or too soft. Another reason that shots are missed in basketball games is because the opposing team is in a player’s face. It’s the job of the opposing team to wave their hands in the shooter’s face and obstruct their view. They are supposed to provide a distraction. Sometimes shots are missed because a player is fouled. A foul means that a player has been illegitimately handled, producing an inability for them to make the shot. Any coach will want their player to go for a rebound on their missed shot. In the Bible, there are lots of people who missed shots. Many of God’s servants missed their target and had to deal with the consequences of missing their shot. In fact, a study of the Word of God will turn up many people whom God used who were on the rebound.
2. Jonah missed a golden opportunity to obey God, but by the grace of God, God allowed Jonah to rebound. That same God is our God, and He still allows us to rebound, to have a second chance, to make a U-turn, to do a do-over.
3. The God of the Second Chance.
Trans: Let us begin by looking at the background of the book of Jonah.
First, this is one of the twelve books that we call “The Minor Prophets.”
I. FIRST, THE AUTHOR.
A. His Reality.
This is a real person, in a real historical narrative:
1. Jonah was seen in the historical Record (2Kg 14:25).
2. Jewish tradition Recognized this book as historical (Josephus, Antiquities IX, 10:2 and the apocryphal Book of Tobit 14:4ff.).
Flanigan notes, “Josephus, the Jewish historian, writes but briefly about Jonah but follows the ancient Jewish tradition which firmly accepts that the story of Jonah is authentic literal history, not folklore or fable but an integral part of the canon of inspired Scriptures.”
3. Christ’s Reference to Jonah can be seen in Mt 12:39-41; 16:4, and Lk 11:29-32. Jonah’s experience in the fish is seen as a sign of Christ’s death and resurrection (Mt 12:39-40; 16:4; Lk 11:29-32), and the response of Nineveh to Jonah’s preaching was a rebuke to the unbelieving Jews of Christ’s day (Mt 12:41; Lk 11:32).
Dr. Tatford comments:
“Our Lord’s references to Jonah were quite incompatible with any doubt as to the reliability and authenticity of the book. His statements in Matthew 12:38-42; 16:4; Luke 11:29-32 showed plainly that He accepted the account of Jonah’s experiences and the effect of His ministry upon the people of Nineveh. It is clear that He did not regard the book as parabolical or mythological, but as completely historical. He referred to Jonah almost in the same breath as Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, as though all the events which He mentioned were equally authentic.”
4. A Reading of it indicates that it is a historical account.
Daniel Arnold notes:
The author provides an historical framework for his account. Not only is the prophet mentioned by name, but the book begins like historical accounts do (see Commentary, 1: 1 p. 99). These first elements are very important, because they guide the course of the entire reading. “The reader’s initial reaction to the text will determine how he continues to view the narrative. If the opening lines are stylistically in keeping with other historical narratives, it is only natural that he should treat the text as factual.