Summary: Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah; have we repented at the preaching of One (Jesus) who is much greater?
The Message of Jonah
Judging Nineveh part 1
Text: Jonah 1:1-4:11
This morning we are going to begin a two part message that is essentially a case study of the righteous judgment of God. 1 Timothy 3:16 tells us that all scripture in profitable to us and there are many lessons to be learned in the thousands of years of history that our God has provided us through His inspired word. In looking back at how God dealt with the city of Nineveh, we can gain insight into how His judgment may come to us.
Nineveh is first mentioned in Genesis 10 in the genealogy of Ham, the son of Noah where we learned that the city was founded by Nimrod. Nineveh does not garner much attention until It is noticed in the days of Jonah, when it is described (Jonah 3:3; 4:11) as a great and populous city, the flourishing capital of the Assyrian empire (2 Kings 19:36; Isa. 37:37). The book of the prophet Nahum is almost exclusively taken up with prophetic denunciations against this city. Its ruin and utter desolation are foretold (Nahum1:14; 3:19, etc.). The city is a major focus for these two prophets of God. Jonah will be our focus on in this lesson and in part two we will focus on Nahum.
We don’t know a great deal about Jonah, we first learn about him in 2Kings 14:23-25:
He prophesied during the reign of Jeroboam II (ca. 793-753 B.C.)
He was from Gath Hepher (4 miles NE of what was later Nazareth in Galilee)
But lets now turn to the book which bears his name and see what lessons we may learn from his story.
I.Jonah Protesting (1:1-17)
A.Overview Chapter One...
1.God commissions Jonah to preach in Nineveh - 1:1-2
a.Nineveh was the capital of Assyria
b.It was located about 220 NNW of the present city of Baghdad
c.The Assyrians were noted for their cruelty, especially to prisoners
2.Jonah rebels against God's plan - 1:3
3.God has a plan for Jonah - 1:4-17
a.He sends "a great wind on the sea" - 1:4-16
b.He prepares "a great fish" - 1:17
B.Comments from the text...
1.The city of Tarshish
a.A Phoenician outpost in SW Spain
b.On the edge of the Mediterranean world, Jonah was running in the opposite direction of Nineveh
C.Lessons from chapter one...
1.Wickedness is an affront to God regardless of where it occurs (such as the case of Nineveh, a nation of non-believers) - 1:2
2.One cannot run away from God!
Psalms 139:7 (NASB) Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
3.What happens in the lives of His servants can bring glory to Him and have major impact on others - 1:5 with 1:14-16
[With the end of chapter one; Jonah is now in the belly of the great fish. Having attempted to run away from God, we now find him...]
II.Jonah Praying (2:1-10)
A.Overview Chapter Two...
1.Jonah's prayer - 2:1-9
2.Jonah's deliverance - 2:10
B.Comments from the text...
1.Jonah realized that what happened was God's doing - 2:3
2.The prayer is written like a psalm, more of a thanksgiving than a petition
C.Lessons from chapter two...
1."Someone has observed that there are times when we must be made to go into the lowest depths that we may regain a living faith" (Hailey)