Summary: Part 1 of a 4-part series on the book of Jonah.

Each Man Cried to His Own God

Jonah: It’s More Than Just a Fish Story Series (Part 1 of 4)

Aug. 13, 2006 FBC, Chester Mike Fogerson, Pastor


I Opening Illustration

II Historical context (Jonah is part of the 12 minor prophets. Small books, around 55 verses, cover 300 years of Israel’s history. Jonah is 58 verses).

A Jonah lived/prophesied during the 8th century BC (Jeroboam II).

1 Prophet:

a Stir people to repentance/revival

b Signal people of the impending punishment for their sin

2 Very human, flawed (a spin doctor would have omitted Jonah’s frailties, weakness)

3 He’s not the first to run (Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Jeremiah, Elijah, Peter)

B Whale (big fish) is perhaps the most well-known part of the book of Jonah.

1 Some see it as a parabolic (Pinocchio)-disobedience brings punishment

2 I see it as historic for two reasons:

a I believe the Word is inerrant, without error, inspired Word of God

b Jesus, my Savior, saw Jonah’s whale adventure as real. Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You." 39 But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; 40 for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 "The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. Matt 12:38-41 (NASB)

As the crowds were increasing, He began to say, "This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah. 30 "For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. 32 "The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. Luke 11:29-30, 32 (NASB)

I The Ninevites are crying out to their own god. "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me." Jonah 1:2 (NASB)

A The Ninevites (Assyrians) are the sworn enemies of Israel (modern day Syria/Iran/Iraq). 220 miles north of Baghdad.

1 Israel has been threatened by Assyria at least 3 times prior to Jonah’s prophetic ministry under the reign of Ashurnasirpal II & Shalmaneser III.

a Israel had fought Assyria at Qargar in 853 BC

b Jehu had paid tribute to Assyria in 841 BC

2 Assyria was cruel

a The following description is rated R due to gore & violence

aa Dismemberment with the hand to be last. Shake hands with you before you die.

bb Decapitate & make family & friends march in a parade with your head on a pole.

cc Stake heads 8 high on a pole, skinned people alive, pull out tongues & genitals of live victims, burned the young.

b Their gods/beliefs stood in total opposition to God (Jehovah) & His people (Hebrews)

c Hating God’s people is hating God. Enemies of God.

d God loved them (hated sin, cruelty, pride...He loved those people!)

aa Jonah means "dove"

bb Dove is a sign of peace/compassion

cc God is sending Ninevah a dove

B Let’s consider your enemies

1 There is a history there between you & them

a Insult, assault, attack (integrity, character, competence, physically)

b Not a pretty sight (Pepcid & prayer)

2 God loved our enemies

3 His redemption, mercy, compassion is for all who will accept His call on their lives. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NASB)

C It’s Jonah’s enemy that God tells him to go & tell about His mercy.

1 Catch 22

a Goes & they repent...can’t go back home!

b Goes & they reject...dismembered

2 He chooses to jump on a ship at Joppa.

II The sailors are crying to their own god. Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god ...Jonah 1:5a (NASB)

A The sailors are not bad people (not pirates, smugglers, thieves)

1 These are religious men!

a When the storm was hurled on them they proceeded to pray to the god of his choosing (polytheistic)

b The men discover that Jonah is the reason for the peril. Each man said to his mate, "Come, let us cast lots so we may learn on whose account this calamity has struck us." So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 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?" 9 He said to them, "I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land." Jonah 1:7-9 (NASB)

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