JONAH Chapter 01
verses for this week: 2
Cor 1:7 And our hope of
you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the
sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.
We begin a series this week on the book of Jonah.
Jonah is perhaps the most disputed book of the 66 in the Word
of God. People
thinking from a purely worldly viewpoint have a hard time believing
a man could have been swallowed by a whale and cast up on dry land
after a period of three days.
However, I know we can believe this record as fact.
All scripture is true, and I agree with J. Vernon McGee on
his summation of why we should believe Jonah.
have an historical record of Jonah in the Old Testament, and we also
have one in the New Testament given by the greatest authority who
has ever lived on this earth, the Lord Jesus Christ. He personally
gave authenticity to the historical character of Jonah and to his
experience in the fish. We read in Luke 11:30, “For as Jonas was a
sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this
generation.” Then in Matthew 12:39–41 we read: “But he
answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation
seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but
the sign of the prophet Jonas: for as Jonas was three days and three
nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days
and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall
rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because
they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than
Jonas is here.”
The moment you question the historical record of the Book of
Jonah, you question the credibility of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is
very strange to hear the liberal say, “Jesus was the greatest
teacher that ever lived,” since one of the marks of a great
teacher is that what he teaches is accurate and truthful. If Jesus
is a great teacher, my friend, then His authentication of the Book
of Jonah has to stand .
Jonah’s Call and Commission
1:1 Now the word of the
LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
1:2 Arise, go to
Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness
is come up before me.
When was the term “The Word of the Lord” first used in
the bible? No, this is
not the first account. In
Genesis 15 and verse 1, the bible states:
After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a
vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding
Jonah’s call came from the Lord, as does all truly called
ministers of God. Jonah’s
command was to go to Nineveh and to cry against it.
Nineveh was a Gentile city and its inhabitants were
considered enemies of the Jews.
God wanted Jonah to go down and declare judgment was to come
to this great city. God
declared that the city was wicked in his sight in verse 2. But he
did not heed God’s call, and decided that he would prefer to go
another direction as we find in verse 3.
God destroyed man by the flood due to wickedness.
And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the
earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was
only evil continually.
And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth,
and it grieved him at his heart.
And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created
from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping
thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have
Because of the great sexual wickedness in Sodom and Gomorrah,
God rained fire and brimstone upon them.
Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone
and fire from the LORD out of heaven;
And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the
inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.
The Flight of Jonah
1:3 But Jonah rose up
to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down
to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare
thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from
the presence of the LORD.
God gave direct orders for Jonah to go to Nineveh, but he
rather chooses to flee to Tarshish.
He thought he was getting away from God.
But you know what?
There is no where we can go that God is not there.
David commented on this in Psalms.
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee
from thy presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed
in hell, behold, thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the
uttermost parts of the sea;
Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall
If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night
shall be light about me.
Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth
as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:
marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in
secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in
thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were
fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
There is no place where we can truly hide from God.
When God’s people backslide from the Lord, they want to
flee from God. That
is what happens when we become disobedient children rather than
obedient. But there is
no place we can go. Jonah’s
attitude is like many today. They
don’t want God’s dominion over them.
In Jesus’ day, they stated that they did not want Him to
rule over them.
He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country
to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten
pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him,
saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
But look at the difference in a humble man who wanted God’s
presence with him at all times.
Moses had no desire to go without the presence of God being
Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy
sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find
grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.
And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give
And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry
us not up hence.
Tarshish was a city located in Spain.
It is interesting how many times the scriptures here refer to
going down… it is in verse 3, verse 5, and in Chapter 2 verse 6.
This is the way it was going with Jonah in his life…
heading down, down, down.
Anytime a child of God gets away from the Lord that is what
will happen to us. We
will go down. Jonah
paid the fare to board the ship.
When we run from God, believe me, there is a payment that has
to be made. The price of sin is high, and someone has to pay the
penalty of sin.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal
life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living
The Mighty Storm and Jonah’s Confession
1:4 But the LORD sent
out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the
sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.
1:5 Then the mariners
were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the
wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But
Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was
When we run from God, there are many storms that will come
our way. God was going
to use this storm to teach Jonah a great lesson.
Perhaps nothing can conjure up fear greater than imagining
that you are in a storm out in the sea.
Tossed to and fro and nothing that you could do.
I’ve heard sailors tell of that feeling, and the utter fear
that overcomes you in that moment. God sent this great storm out on the sea.
And in our lives, we can be sure that many storms will come
our way. But like
Minister W. A. Criswell told his young assistant one day many years
ago, when those storms come, you have to get in the very middle of
God’s will, and then hunker down in that great ship of Zion and
ride out the storm. When
God is in control, there is no reason to fear.
Verse 5 says that this storm was so severe that it brought
fear upon the mariners, and they all became afraid. It says that they all called out to their own gods.
Many today are like that… they get in a storm and they cry
out but they know not truly to whom.
There is only one true God who can calm the storm in our
lives, and that is the Jehovah God of the universe, the one that is
made up of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
One time the disciples were traveling with Christ in a ship
when a storm came up.
And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them,
Let us pass over unto the other side.
And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even
as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little
And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat
into the ship, so that it was now full.
And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a
pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou
not that we perish?
And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea,
Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that
ye have no faith?
And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What
manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
The sailors on board with Jonah did all they could in their
power to bring the ship to land.
But they had little power over such a great storm.
If we are backslidden and away from God, we can do very
little in our lives to make things right except one thing.
And that is to come back to God, bow and ask Him to forgive
you and to make things right. When
you do, God will calm the storm that you are in.
During the storm, we find Jonah was down in the ship trying
to hide from the Lord and sleep off his convictions. It is ironic that Jonah, the one who had power with the
true God, was sleeping, while those above who knew not the Lord were
trying to call upon their gods to save them.
It is high time that all of God’s people awaken from their
sleep and take the gospel message to this lost and dying world.
How does the world view the church today? Do they see us as concerned people who really care
about them, or do we appear to be just one more social gathering of
the world? God
helps us to be people who are compassionate, making a difference in
the world and doing all we can to reach the lost.
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake
out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore
cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of
Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and
drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision
for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that
sent me, and to finish his work.
Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh
harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the
fields; for they are white already to harvest.
Adam Clarke made these comments about verse 5.
Cried every man unto his god—The ship’s crew were all heathens; and, it is
probable, heathens who had each a different object of religious
Cast forth the wares—Threw the lading overboard to lighten the ship,
hoping the better to ride out the storm.
Jonah was gone down—Most probably into the hold or cabin under the deck;
or where they had berths for passengers in the sides of the ship,
something in the manner of our packets.
1:6 So the shipmaster
came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise,
call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we
1:7 And they said every
one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for
whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot
fell upon Jonah.
Jonah was asked by the shipmaster to call upon God that they
might not perish. I’m
afraid things are a bit out of hand when someone has to ask us to
call upon the name of the Lord.
We should not have to be asked to pray, or to be begged to
attend our church services and prayer meetings.
We should come because of all the God has done for us.
It says they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.
Jonah was found to be the guilty one.
It is a sad day when it is a Christian that brings defeat to
the cause of Christ, but we can sure do that if we are not careful.
We see six question in verses 8 to 11 asked of Jonah by the
men of the ship.
1:8 Then said they unto
him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us;
What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy
country? and of what people art thou?
1:9 And he said unto
them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which
hath made the sea and the dry land.
1:10 Then were the men
exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For
the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he
had told them.
1:11 Then said they
unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto
us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.
1. What is thine
2 Cor 5:20
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did
beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled
2. Whence comest
we are saved, we are born from above.
3. What is thy
country is heaven…. We are just pilgrims passing through this old
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look
for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
4. Of what People are thou?
We should be known as people of the Lord.
5. Why has thou
done this? Effectively,
they are questioning why Jonah was running from God.
6. What shall we
do unto thee? Jonah
answered them that they should through him overboard.
Jonah is Swallowed by the Fish
1:12 And he said unto
them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea
be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is
1:13 Nevertheless the
men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the
sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.
1:14 Wherefore they
cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech
thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us
innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee.
1:15 So they took up
Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her
The sailors fought and fought, but they could not bring the
ship to land. When they
realized that they could not, they then cast Jonah overboard. I was thinking how that we get thrown by sin so many
times, when we could be safe in the boat if we would keep close to
God and keep sin out of our lives.
1:16 Then the men
feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD,
and made vows.
1:17 Now the LORD had
prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the
belly of the fish three days and three nights.
After they did this (throw Jonah overboard), they became very
says it caused them to fear the Lord exceedingly, and that they
offered a sacrifice unto God and made vows.
When we see the hand of God fall upon a disobedient child, it
should make us fear. Many
are quick to vow great things to God in a day of trouble, but when
the trouble is gone, they forget those vows.
God expects us to honor the vows we make.
When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he
hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.
Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou
shouldest vow and not pay.
Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say
thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be
angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?
Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days.
(72 hours). This
was a type of Christ, in that our Lord Jesus Christ’s body lay in
the grave 3 days and 3 nights.
(72 hours). And
make no mistake about the identity of the fish.
It was a whale.
But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous
generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to
it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's
belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the
heart of the earth.
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