Jonah Sermons by Rev. Mike Jones [Revised October 29, 2021]
The Book of Jonah has been one of the most attacked books in the Bible. Modern “critics” claim it is just imagination or a parable. The Bible, however, says Jonah was indeed a prophet of Hod (II Kings 14:25) and the Lord Jesus himself bore record of his ministry (Matt 12:39-41).
Jonah is the “Missionary Book” of the Old Testament and shows that God loved everyone- not just the Jews. Jonah was called to go and proclaim to Nineveh (the capital of Assyria, the leading world power at the time) that God would destroy it because of its wickedness. The Policy of Assyria was to so terrorize a nation thru killing and torture that they would remain quiet even though only a few guards were left with them. They later expanded this policy to include the deportation of entire nations- as happened to Israel in II Kings 17:23-24. Rape, murder (The Assyrian army used pyramids of skulls to mark their Progress), the skinning of people alive, and the impaling of a person on a stick to die slowly in the sun were common.
Jonah was thrilled to hear that God was going to bring destruction on Nineveh (He knew that God had said Nineveh would destroy Israel) but he knew that if he proclaimed God’s Judgment on Nineveh and they repented that God would forgive them (Jonah 4:2). He therefore chose to renounce his Prophetic office and be lost himself that Nineveh might be destroyed and Israel survive (If no one warned Nineveh then they wouldn’t repent and God would punish them.).
The Book of Jonah tells how God deals with Jonah about this attitude and served as a vivid reminder to the Jews that the Gentiles, hearing God’s message, would repent while the Jews, God’s chosen people, would not.
I. RUNNING FROM GOD 1 (Fleeing from God’s will). Jonah 1:3 Jonah Paid the Fare to take a ship away from God. What fare are you paying in your rebellion against God’s will for your life? How will the fare you are paying impact others- ship and sailors were put into a storm. Jonah ended up in the “belly of hell” (belly of whale). The wages of sin is death. What will disobedience cost YOU?
Notice that the Path of disobedience is always down: down to Joppa, down into the ship, down into the sea, down into the fish. Upon receiving his commission Jonah runs from God’s Will but finds that God uses whatever means are necessary to discipline His children.
II. REMORSE OVER DISOBEDIENCE 2 (Praying to God)
“Out of the belly of Hell” he prayed and God heard. He now determines to obey God and “pay that he had vowed”.
III. REPENTING OF SIN 3 (Speaking for God)
Remarkable as it may seem, this Heathen city repented after only 1 day’s preaching and God stayed His wrath.
IV. REBELLIOUS PROPHET 4 (Learning from God)
Jonah is angry because God spared Nineveh and now sits to see what will happen. God prepares a gourd to shade him, a worm to kill the gourd, and a hot wind to discomfort Jonah to teach him the lesson of the whole Book- God is concerned about everything in the world; not just a private corner!, as the Jews thought.
Far too many people today want Mercy for themselves and wrath for their enemies; not realizing that one day they too were enemies against God. Aren’t you glad God gave them mercy instead of wrath? Go and do thou likewise.
But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry? So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city (Jonah 4:1-5)
Anger is often the result of loss of CONTROL or Loss of COMFORT
Jonah was angry with
1. God 4:1-5 Because God didn’t do what he wanted God to do (Spared Nineveh) and Jonah was no longer in Control of the narrative or the situation.
2. The Worm who smote the Gourd 4:6-11 Because the Worm caused him inconvenience (Destroyed the Gourd) and Discomfort.
Both times God asked him, “Are you doing well to be angry?”
There are 3 things we can do with Anger:
1> We must CONTROL Anger or it will control us- We build up “Reservoirs of Resentment” in our lives and when they become full the “dam” breaks. We must use that energy to Build up instead of Blow up (Jesus was angry at them for their hardness of heart but instead of “blowing up” he “built up” by healing the palsy man).
You must have a DESIRE to control Anger before you will be able to do so. If you can control your anger in front of the boss or co-workers but say you can’t in front of your wife and children then you are actually saying your boss is more important than your family!
2> We must CHANNEL our Anger into the right things- We can allow it to make us abuse others or ourselves or we can use it to change situations (Jesus drove the money changers out of the temple in order to demonstrate a point). The difference in bad anger (Clamming up and Blowing Up) and good anger is whether it is used destructively or constructively. Do you vent it at people or the Problem (Remember that sometimes People ARE the Problem. Don’t become angry at the individual but at the incident).
3> We must CONVERT our Anger into an attitude of trust, patience, and acceptance or it will destroy our body (ulcers, heart attacks, etc), our reputation, and even our soul. Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Look at the Anger you have for your:
A) Circumstances- are they really difference from multitudes around you?
B) Situation- Is it as hard as you think? Or if you compare it to some others is it not something to be thankful for?
What can we do to change things? Vent that anger on tree limbs! Pray for changed hearts and attitudes. Work to make a difference. Commit yourself and your circumstances unto the Lord. God hasn’t deserted you. He Still loves you and wants you to love and serve Him.
Unjustified anger is a sin
1. There is a right and wrong type of anger Eph.4:26
2. Anger is to be put away Eph. 4:31
A. Anger to lift oneself up in violent passion
B. “Put Away” to lift up and put away
C. Attitudes and actions associated with anger: Bitterness, Clamor (Shouting), Evil Speaking
(Note on Clamor (Shouting)- ” A soft answer turns away wrath”. If one party speaks in a louder than normal voice and the other party answers in a louder than normal voice then the first party will increase their volume and back and forth it goes until you are shouting at one another. The second party must answer (important that you don’t give the silent treatment!) softly and tone the conversation down instead of tune it up!).
I. Sources of Anger
1. Anger dwells in the heart of a fool Ecc 7:9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools. [Silly, Mindless People]
2. Esther 3:5 Anger results from wounded pride- Haman was “full of wrath” because Mordecai would not bow to him. [Daniel 3:19 where Nebuchadnezzar was full of “fury” because the 3 Hebrews would not bow and therefore he had them cast into the fiery furnace.]
3. Anger is a reaction against God when we are not totally at peace with Him Cain (Gen 4:6-7), Jonah
II. Effects of Anger
1. Anger causes us to commit foolish actions
A. Proverbs 14:17, 29
B. II Kings 5:11 Naaman
C. Genesis 39:14 Joseph and Potiphar
2. Anger worsens an existing problem Proverbs 30:33, 15:13
3. Anger creates strife Luke 15 Elder brothers
4. Anger is contagious Proverbs 22:24 25
III. Anger can be controlled
1. Recognize it as sinful
2. Recognize self-control as good and desirable. Proverbs 16:32, 19:11
3. Seek to develop the “Fruit of the Spirit”
God Spared Nineveh because the City:
1. Heard Jonah’s Message about coming Judgment vs 4 “And Jonah began to enter into the city, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown”
2. Believed, Jonah’s message was from God vs 5 “So the people of Nineveh believed God,…”
3. Acted upon their belief in the Message: “Humbled herself- (laid aside old things) vs 5b “…proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.”
4. Prayed and Sought God vs 8 “But 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.”
5. Repented and convinced God they meant business vs 10 “And 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.”