Summary: We may try to run from God, but we cannot hide. It is much better to do what God commands of us, than to suffer the consequences of our disobedience.
JONAH: THE REBELLIOUS PROPHET
A. If you hang around FISHERMEN for long, you will hear a lot of “FISH STORIES.”
1. You’ll notice how the FISH keeps getting BIGGER and BIGGER each time the STORY is TOLD.
2. Or you’ll hear some amazing story about “the one that got away.”
I always liked the story about the two FISHERMEN who met on their VACATION. And as with
most FISHERMEN who get together, they started swapping “FISH STORIES”.
After talking a few minutes about the different places they had fished and the type of tackle and bait they use, one of the fishermen told of a VICIOUS BATTLE he had with a 300 pound SALMON just outside of Portland, Oregon.
The other fisherman listened attentively, and frankly admitted that he had never caught anything that even came close to being that BIG. However, he told about the time he snagged an ANTIQUE LANTERN from the depths of Lake Michigan. The lantern had a SHIPPING TAG still attached with the year 1912 written on it. But the strangest thing of all was the fact that it was a WATERPROOF
LANTERN and the LIGHT was still LIT.
After a long pause the first FISHERMAN said, “I tell you what I’ll do. . . . I’ll take 200 pounds off my FISH if you’ll put out the LIGHT on your LANTERN.”
B. No matter how great your FISH STORY might be, it couldn’t compare to the one told in the book of Jonah.
(AND THIS ONE IS TRUE)
1. Unlike Obadiah and Joel who were both prophets of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, Jonah was a
prophet of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
a. “He PROPHESIED during the days of King Jeroboam II”- 2 Kings 14:23-25.
b. The date of this prophecy is around 800-755 BC
c. Jonah or “Yonah” is the Hebrew word for “DOVE”.
d. Interestingly, Jonah is the only Minor Prophet that “Jesus mentions by name”- Matthew 12:39-41.
Jonah was a great patriot of Israel. Being a narrow-minded patriot of Israel who loved his people and his land, Jonah found it difficult to understand and obey the call of God to go to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, to announce the DOOM of that city so that the people might REPENT and LIVE. Remember, Assyria within the next 35 to 80 years will ruthlessly conquer Israel and take the SURVIVORS captive to be their SLAVES.
2. Unlike the other MINOR PROPHETS, the book of Jonah is really not about the MESSAGE of Jonah, as
it is about the PROPHET himself and how God deals with him.
a. In fact, Jonah’s message to Nineveh is only 8 words long: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be
destroyed”- Jonah 3:4. –That’s his entire MESSAGE!
b. The book follows the EXPLOITS of the PROPHET trying to RUN AWAY because he did not want
to see Nineveh SAVED.
Jonah knows of the BRUTALITY that the Assyrians have shown other NATIONS, and he knows as a prophet that this same SUFFERING will be imposed on his own people. And although Jonah was a faithful SPOKESMAN for God, he strongly feels that this is one COMMAND that he cannot OBEY.
I. JONAH FLEEING- chapter 1
A. Jonah receives his MISSION- vv. 1-2 (READ)
1. God commissioned Jonah to PREACH a MESSAGE of DOOM to the people of Nineveh in hopes
that they will REPENT.
a. Again, the ASSYRIANS were a RUTHLESS nation, but before God places His JUDGMENT
upon them, He wanted them to have a chance to REPENT of their WICKEDNESS.
Although the ASSYRIANS were a GENTILE NATION and SERVED other gods, they were still under the SUPREME AUTHORITY of Almighty God and had to seek God’s FAVOR to be SPARED.
Whether one is a BELIEVER in God or not Yahweh is still LORD of ALL, and He demands REPENTANCE and OBEDIENCE of ALL PEOPLE.
b. So God, because of His MERCY, sent the Prophet Jonah to WARN the NINEVITES of their impending JUDGMENT unless they REPENT.
2. Jonah, being God’s PROPHET, had no CHOICE but to GO.
a. 2 Kings 14:25 paints the picture of “Jonah being a GOOD PROPHET who loved God and
CARRIES out his MISSION.”
b. However, this time Jonah felt that God was making a SERIOUS MISTAKE.
Have you ever faced a difficult SITUATION and then were CONFRONTED with a directive from God’s Word that you didn’t want to do? ....And you’re like, “God, what are you thinking?”
B. Jonah doesn’t agree with God’s DIRECTIVE so he’s going to do the next best thing . . . RUN!!
1. So instead of going northeast to Nineveh, Jonah ran the OPPOSITE direction towards Tarshish.
a. “Jonah went down to Joppa to find a ship heading for Tarshish, all in an effort to FLEE