Summary: A different look at the book of Jonah. A look at how Jonah, through his journey, found the heart of God. It is Jonah from a different perspective. Also discusses whether or not God changes his mind.
The heart of God: Jonah 3:1-4:10
1And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,
2Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
3So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.
4And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
5So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
6For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
7And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:
8But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
9Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
10And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
1 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became furious. 2 He prayed to the LORD: "Please, LORD, isn’t this what I said while I was still in my own country? That’s why I fled toward Tarshish in the first place. I knew that You are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to become angry, rich in faithful love, and One who relents from [sending] disaster. 3 And now, LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live."
4 The LORD asked, "Is it right for you to be angry?"
5 Jonah left the city and sat down east of it. He made himself a shelter there and sat in its shade to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the LORD God appointed a plant, and it grew up to provide shade over Jonah’s head to ease his discomfort. [Jonah was greatly pleased with the plant. 7 When dawn came the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, and it withered.
8 As the sun was rising, God appointed a scorching east wind. The sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he almost fainted, and he wanted to die. He said, "It’s better for me to die than to live."
9 Then God asked Jonah, "Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?"
"[Yes,]" he replied. "It is right. I’m angry enough to die!"
10 So the LORD said, "You cared about the plant, which you did not labor over and did not grow. It appeared in a night and perished in a night. 11 Should I not care about the great city of Nineveh, which has more than 120,000 people [who cannot distinguish between their right and their left, (as well as many animals?"
Let’s look at a little background. You know the story of Jonah
Chapter 1 Jonahs Call and Flight
God called him to go to Ninevah to the East of Israel
Jonah said no and ran to Tarshus to the West
Jonah had a couple of reasons he didn’t want to go to Ninevah.
1. He hates Ninevites. Assyria was one of the most brutal nations of the world. They tortured people. They would take a man into the desert and bury him to his head. They would put a stake through his tongue and leave him there to die.
It is said that whole towns would commit suicide rather than fall into the hands of the Assyrians. It is possible that Jonah had seen his people suffer at the hand of these people, possibly even his own family.
It was certain that Assyria would try to destroy his home, Israel.
Some scholars suggest that He didn’t know or understand God well enough.
Let’s remember he is a prophet. I actually think it is just the opposite.
2. Jonah knew God and that is why he went in the opposite direction. He knew that if the people turned that God in his Grace would save the city and he did not want this to happen. He knew that God was gracious. vss. 1 and 2
Chapter 2 Jonah’s Prayer and recall