Summary: Jonah was a last forced to identify himself and in so doing made a confession about the God of the Hebrews. His confession in an audible voice aroused an Inner Voice which called him to return to the God he left in Israel.





A. Citizenship.

B. Concept.

C. Contrast.


A. Creator.

B. Created.

C. Controller.


A. Cowardice.

B. Cause.

C. Conversion.

Jonah was out of running room. He had gone just as far as he could go to escape and there was no where else to run. Once the lots fell on Jonah and once the sailors began asking him the series of questions in verse seven, Jonah was forced to “come clean.” What he said, though, was not what the sailors and the passengers wanted to hear. They turned to him because the lots fell upon him and the people thought he would have some insight into the “Why” of the ferocious storm. Instead of just merely giving them what he thought, he made an open confession and the people were dumb struck by what he had to say.

While the storm was still raging and the ship was still tossing, Jonah-for the first time in the journey-gave forth his testimony and in so doing, he became a spokesperson that God wanted. No, he was not at Nineveh, but he at long last openly declared his faith in God and to his surprise, he found that no one was going to lunge at him and take his life. What he feared from the Ninevites he suspected from these sailors-death at the hands of angry people who were confronted by the truth of who God really was.

The civility of these sailors and passengers had to give heart to Jonah. As he stood before the entire lot of people that day and declared his faith in God, the scene was far from turbulent and Jonah had to see that behind the kindness and the restraint of all on board, was the hand of God who had reached out in mercy to rescue His child.

Jonah is an old book which tells an old story, but the truth of the message is still the same-God seeks the wanderer and will go to great lengths to rescue and save any person. Centuries later, Jesus put this whole scene in perspective when He told about the ninety and nine safely secured sheep, but the compassion of the shepherd was so great that he went out in the night, looking for that one lost sheep. God reached out to Jonah when Jonah refused to respond to God, but now what Jonah told the people that day was powerful and true. It was so then and it is so today.

I see three things of verse nine which help me to see Jonah and his message about God. The first thing I note is in regards to HIS CONFESSION: “I am a Hebrew.” The next part of this verse reveals some eternal truths when Jonah said, “I fear the Lord, the God of the heaven which hath made the sea and the dry land: HIS CERTAINTY. He was now telling his listeners something that challenged their thinking. Finally I see HIS CONTRITION.

I. HIS CONFESSION: I notice the answers given by Jonah to the questions he was asked and each one of his answers was a dynamite of explosive testimony about who he was and his belief as he confesses his past and what a confession it is.

The first part of his confession has to do with who he was and to what country he belonged-his Citizenship. He began by saying that he was a Hebrew. This was the name of those who lived in Israel and it was the name foreigners used to refer to the people of Israel. He was a Hebrew. He was not of a foreign extraction, he was not a half-breed, and he proudly stood and confessed his citizenship to the country he called home.

Besides claiming his citizenship of Israel, Jonah was also saying something more profound than just naming his nationality. Maybe the others did not catch the impact of what he was saying but by simply stating that he was a Hebrew, he was also saying that he was an emigrant into the land once promised to Abraham. His homeland was given to the Jews by God and they left it to go to Egypt for survival in that great famine centuries ago.

The ancestors of Jonah survived the famine in Egypt, but along the way, they lost their freedom and became slaves. Still, they did not forget their homeland and called out to God for deliverance. That deliverance came 430 years after they first entered Egypt. The country that became their savior became their slave master. God did not forget His people and he sent deliverance allowing them to march out of Egypt a free nation. The Jews marched out of Egypt and re-entered their home land. The Concept of being a Hebrew to the Jews of that day meant that once they left their God given land to go to Egypt for survival, they returned to their original home as emigrants and it was this land they were going to claim for God and for themselves. Yes, they were foreigners, emigrants, to the people who lived in Canaan at the time of their return, but to them, they were coming home to the Promised Land, to claim it for themselves.

Besides claiming his rightful Citizenship to the land of Promise; besides revealing the Concept that others might have viewed them as emigrants when they were coming home at last; to Jonah, this identity of being a Hebrew meant that he and his people were just passing through the land on their way to Heaven. The Contrast of what Jonah was trying to convey to the people on board, was clear in his mind weather the people understood him or not. But to the Hebrews, being called out by God to settle in a specified land and to be His people, meant that they lived and died with the feeling that life was just a temporary time. They were born; they lived; and, they died thus going to Heaven. This was also the concept Christ emphasized in His day. He too was a Hebrew and He emphasized that we are mere pilgrims on this earth. We are passing through this land and we are headed to Heaven through His blood. The Hebrews looked forward to their Messiah, and many missed Him; we look back and see Him. We, like them, are just passing through.

So many people act like that this temporary place of abode is what life is all about, including many of God’s own children. The Bible is filled with the truth that this world in which we live is only temporary. In all actuality, we saints are merely abiding in a temporary place. Even Abraham lived a temporary type of existence as he looked for that City which was not made with hands. We are trespassers on Satan’s domain and we fight spiritual battles as we pass through his land. Someday, Christ will gain the Earth and all of its kingdoms as Satan tempted Him about this very fact while he was on Earth. Then, this Earth will be under God’s domain; however, in the meantime we are pilgrims passing through this life as we search for that City not made with hands which will be our final abode. This was Jonah’s testimony to the people then and it is ours by the Blood of Christ now.

When Jonah declared that he was a Hebrew, he gave a great testimony to all who heard him. He admitted he was of a particular race. He admitted that his people returned to their home land from Egypt as emigrants and yet rightful heirs of the land. He also admitted that he had hopes of going to Heaven-he was just passing through this world and he must do all the good he could do for God while he was here on Earth.

It is not certain if the listeners caught all of his meaning when he said he was a Hebrew, but in his heart-he told God, “I know who I am and what I have done and I am ready to die if need be.” The others stood in awe of his claim and were further struck by what he said next.

II. HIS CERTAINTY: As he spoke these few words to his audience, Jonah added something very significant to what he had just said. “I fear the Lord, the God of the Heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.” These beliefs are cardinal doctrines to we who claim the name of the Lord today. It is therefore necessary to examine just what he meant by these few shorts words.

When he spoke about the God who created the Heavens, He was telling his hearers that the God of the Hebrews was the Supreme Being, the Creator of all that the sky reveals: the planets, the sun, the moon and the stars. Jonah was informing his listeners that day that his God was the Supreme Being who stood alone above all gods. His God was the true Creator of all things. This was quite a statement to be made to the ones who were asking for answers out of their superstition. Jonah had come back to his senses by boldly stating that the God of the Hebrews was superior to all other forms and idols of worship. No longer was he hiding-he was out front in his claim of the superior power of the God of the Hebrews and he stated that he feared this God-not out of dread, but out of deep respect. His God was not One with which to trifle or belittle. I wish modern man had this same concept of God.

Besides claiming that his God was the sole Creator of all things, He was the One who created the land upon which all walked. This God of Jonah was the One who created the world out of nothing. By so describing this God, Jonah was saying that God was the only One who could have made the earth and all things in it. This was something which the crew and passengers did not know or did not recognize. Jonah, in such brief words, was telling all on board the ship that the God whom he feared and served was so powerful, so awesome that He and He alone created the earth and all that were in it.

Besides claiming that his God was the one who created the heavens and the earth, Jonah also said something else, he said that his God was the One who created and controlled the sea. In the beginning and in the end, his God was the one who was the ultimate controller of all things-including the seas. No one else could claim this title for the god they worshiped. This was proven by their gods refusing to heed the pleas of the sailors for calm upon the troubled water. Yet, here stood Jonah, now asserting that the God he served and feared was the One who had every thing under His control. He was a Hebrew and he believed in the God of his ancestors. He ran from this God, but now he was simply telling that there was no where to hide from God-not on land or in the waters, because God saw all things and all people. These sailors never heard this before, but now for the first time, they were confronted by the God of the Hebrews and they sensed for the first time His awesomeness. The fear that this aroused in them was of a different fear than what Jonah had. His fear of his God was out of deep respect; the fear these men felt was one of terror and yet, that fear of this God would soon lead them to become believers in Him. Jonah preached one powerful message that day and gained converts. Nineveh-here comes your man of the hour.

III. HIS CONTRITION: Once Jonah confessed who he was and what he believed, there appears to be a true sense of real sorrow for what he had done and caused. These sentiments appear later in the chapter, but it is interesting to note some things about the man at this point when he confesses that God is the God of all gods.

The first inkling of remorse seems to surface in this verse. He appears to admit, although indirectly, to his role of Cowardice. When confronted with the facts that he could no longer run and everyone was asking for a solid explanation, Jonah confessed his belief in the God of the Heavens, Earth and the seas. Even though he believed in this supreme God, he ran from Him and he was sorry for being a poor representative of his God. If he were such a devoted worshipper of this God, then he had to somehow square his actions with his belief and that was what he could not do. He ran and every one knew he must have done something wrong for him to run from such a powerful God. He was a coward and everyone knew it. For this, he was sorry.

The second part of HIS CONTRITION, I think was that he had been the Cause of all the trouble in which the people were. He truly did believe in the God about whom he had just given witness. The concept of the God he proclaimed was a God that was far superior to all other man made gods. Yet, he stood proclaiming that the God he worshipped was a God that was the controller of the seas and he had angered Him and had caused this terrible storm. I believe that he was contrite in his heart due to the fact that he could not justify his actions with his beliefs. This God of the Hebrews did control everything and every circumstance and it was due to his disobedience that God had now sent the storm on the water and had put the ship and passengers at risk. I feel he was very sorry for being the cause of angering such a God as he now claimed to follow.

Lastly, I think he was truly contrite in his heart to the point that he underwent a form of a renewed Conversion one more time. Standing on deck, facing the people, while the storm was howling and the ship was tossing; Jonah opened up his heart and proclaimed in a public testimony his utter and complete faith in God. He had hid his faith before-not anymore. He had, at last, come face to face with himself and what he did in the light of the God whom he claimed to serve. He, for the first time in this chapter, realized just what he had done in disobeying God. He said that he believed in this God who was and is overall, yet he tried to hide from Him. He claimed that this God of the Hebrews was superior and above all, yet he dared to challenge this God. He claimed that his God was over the Ninevites as well as over the ship, the sea, and everyone else, however, he did what he wanted to do than what God wanted him to do. I believe that as he gave his testimony about his belief in this great and awesome God, his heart was smitten and he realized for the first time, that he was wrong in what he had done. Once he was convinced of his errant ways, he was open to come back to God and to obey Him. He had a “limited” Conversion that day on that ship.

From his open confession of who he was to his avowed certainty about who God was to his full contrition and then his renewed conversion, Jonah had come home and was now willing to face what ever God had in store for him.

What about we who have denied Him to ourselves and before others? Can we admit to our mistakes and come back to Him? The answer is, “Yes, we can return to Him because of Calvary.” The song writer was right when he wrote that “Calvary Covers it All.” Calvary does indeed cover it all: our failures, our down sittings and our waywardness. If any of us falls, let us not stay there but do as Jonah did, start back to God. He did and in the end he found forgiveness; we can do the same if once we fall, we recognize just who is this God we serve and come back to Him-He will accept us because He loves us and proved it at Calvary.