Who was Jonah?
Jonah was a prophet of God first mentioned in the book of 2 Kings 14:25 “He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the LORD God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gathhepher.”
Jonah was sent by God to the city to Nineveh to preach against the wickedness of the city. In direct disobedience to God’s word, Jonah went to Joppa, boarded a ship that was going down to Tarshish. God then pursued Jonah in the ship with a wild storm that almost destroyed the ship. The passengers on board the ship casted lot to see why the storm was heavy upon them. They found out Johan was the reason for the storm. The passengers eventually throw Jonah out of the Ship into the sea where he was swallowed by a big fish and immediately there was calm in the sea. Jonah, in the mean time spent three days and three nights in the belly of a fish and was eventually vomited by the fish. The word of the Lord came again unto Jonah the second time to go and preach in Nineveh. This time, he obeyed and the entire city repented.
LET’S EXAM THE STORY IN DATAIL CHAPTER BY CHAPTER
JONAH CHAPTER ONE
1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
The first thing we notice in this verse is that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – God of Israel, is also the God of the Gentiles. He is not willing that any should perish – not even the gentile – but all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9. God was so concerned about those Gentiles that he was willing to sacrifice Jonah for them. God is always looking for a preacher to send to the wicked. As Christians, we must also bear in mind that we hav been called to preach the gospel. Mark 16:15.
Jonah on the other hand didn’t want to go to Nineveh because we wanted God to destroy them instead of showing them mercy.
Jonah 4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. 2 So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. 3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”
So Johan fled from the presence of the Lord. Johan is not the only one fleeing from the Lord. Christians today, are fleeing from the presence of the Lord. To flee from the presence of the Lord simply means to disobey or turn your back against the word of the Lord or commandment of God.
Remember John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
God and His words are one and the same. you cannot separate God from his words. When you obey God you obey his words; when you disobey God’s word, you disobey God. So, to flee from the presence of the Lord also means to flee from the word of the Lord. When you abide in the word of God you are also abiding in God, and God will abide in you. John 15: 4 – 7
The Storm at Sea
4 But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea so that the ship was about to be broken up. 5 Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had laid down, and was fast asleep. 6 So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.” 7 And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, “Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” 9 So he said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear [c]the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
We already know from Chapter 1:2 that the people of Nineveh were wicked. God did not want to destroy them in spite of their wickedness. God wanted them saved through his prophet Jonah. Jonah’s refusal to go to Nineveh almost brought God’s destruction upon his life. What do we learn from this? We learn that God’s judgment will fall upon anyone who disobeys his word, even if it’s a prophet, preacher or so-called “Man of God”.
So, because of Jonah, the ship with all its passengers were about to be destroyed, whiles Jonah was fast asleep in the basement. At this point, we need to stop and ask ourselves some questions: who is on board your ship that is causing a storm in your life? Or, whose ship are you in, that is causing them storm? We need to reevaluate our lives and take necessary action. Jonah knew he was the reason for the storm, yet he was fast asleep. The people who are causing your storm might be the most peaceful around you. We must pray just like the mariners onboard the ship did so that God can reveal our “Jonahs to us.”
After the Mariners finished praying and interrogating Jonah, they threw him off the ship. Had they known earlier, that he was the cause of the storm, they would not have thrown away their cargo. They lost revenue because Jonah was on board. How much are you losing because of who you have on board your ship? You have to pray for God to reveal the hearts of the people around you so that you don’t continue to lose revenue. As soon as they threw Jonah off the ship there was calm. You have to get rid of some negative influence around you so you can experience some calm.
Jonah Thrown into the Sea
10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, “Why have you done this?” For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. 11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?”—for the sea was growing more tempestuous.12 And he said to them, “Pick me up and [d]throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest isbecause of me.” 13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they cried out to the Lord and said, “We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows.