Jonah was a contemporary prophet to Amos and Joel. His message was to Ninevah, the capital of Assyria, before Assyria overran the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
Jonah is a straight through easy read book written as a narrative story. Basically it is about a disobedient man who suffered the consequences of his disobedience by sitting in a fish’s belly for three days.
Even after obeying God, Jonah has a nasty attitude. He went out to pout by sitting in the sun on the mountain side. God raised a plant for his shade, but quickly sent a worm to destroy Jonah’s shade. That makes him even madder! Jonah never makes it out of the mopes as far as this book tells it.
The good thing about the story is how the city of Nineveh repented and God saved them.
MORE FROM JONAH —
1. After Nineveh repented God restored the city and it existed for about a hundred years before becoming evil again. I suggest this is important because it shows the testimony and blessings of the generation who lived and repented as an effect from Jonah’s ministry. This could be roughly three generations who were influenced by this mighty “revival” and missionary effort.
2. Notice Jonah’s first missionary success was with the captain and sailors on the ship he was in on his way to Tarshish. 1:4-16 The captain and sailors all prayed to their gods. Perhaps Jonah sleeping was a sign that he had a different God. He ‘fessed up to making God angry. Interesting that these seamen did not just want to be safe or they would have thrown Jonah overboard as he suggested. Instead they were open to learning about the Hebrew’s God. A missionary victory there—they became believers. Then they threw him over. 😀
3. Jesus refers to the great fish as a whale. It was amusing to read online all the arguments about why a whale cannot swallow a man and a man cannot breath enough air to live in a fish’s belly. It was miracle, of course. Those with faith know it happened since the Bible says it happened.
4. This story is a type of the story of Jesus’s resurrection. When an Old Testament story is a prophesy of N. T. fulfillment the O.T. story is called a “type” and the N.T. fulfillment is called an “antitype.”
5. We are told that the wickedness of Nineveh came up before God. I find this interesting. God does not “look upon evil” for the sake of catching people doing wrong. I believe someone or some group of people in Nineveh had heard of the Lord God and made intercession for the city. I can’t prove that.
6. Chapter 2.1-9 Jonah’s prayer. Notice how Jonah’s prayer sounds like it happened after Jonah was delivered, but verse 1 says he prayed it from inside the fish. (out of the fish’s belly) I wonder what would happen if I were to write a prayer for an issue that deeply troubles me and I write that prayer from the standpoint of having already obtained my answer. Thus, giving thanks before seeing the favorable answer. That’s faith.
7. Chapter 4 deals with Jonah’s anger and God’s object lesson of sending a vine for some shelter and then cutting it off, leaving Jonah with God’s question of why he was so angry at God because Nineveh had repented. How would that apply to me or to other modern day Christians? How would I feel about America’s current condition if the economy suddenly boomed in spite of covid and mandates? How would I feel if God blesses America even though I predict disaster because of our abortion stance? How would I feel if my neighbor whom I know as a reprobate is honored by the city fathers as the Model Citizen of the Year?
8. There is a lot of archaeological evidence about the old city if you are interested in looking it up. I started to do it for you, but it’s too late, I’m too tired, and the post is too long.
I’ve often thought about the Jonah story being similar to the time Jesus spent in the grave. It’s great lesson right there. Thanks for doing these posts with your wisdom and knowledge showing through. I always learn something from you. BTW I can’t think of a better way to end the day (or begin it – as I do) than writing a meaningful post with God’s wisdom woven throughout.
Jesus himself made the connection of his death being like the sign of Jonah and the whale. It is indeed a good feeling to know we have written something that seems to be just what God wants us to say. The Word applied to everyday living. Thanks, Kathy.
I like the idea of writing a “prayer from the standpoint of having already obtained my answer.” Also good point in reminding us that we may be like Jonah when we see people prosper whom we think deserve punishment.
Frank, I tried to pray from that standpoint last night regarding one issue. I was hard not to find myself interceding rather than saying thanks. But I liked trying. Helps get me out of routine. Thanks for comment. I’m also glad you took note of our inclination to wish distress for those who we see as more evil and we are.
A great reflective post to remind us all of what the Bible as a whole Book teaches us. Thank you Oneta.
Thank you, Faye. Let me know if you have experience of applying some of my Minor Prophet lessons to your life and prayers.
never got over the mopes—that says a great deal
I guess it lets us know “mopes” is no excuse for not obeying. Haven’t you ever said to student or child something like this: “I just said do it, I didn’t ask how you feel about it.” 😀
All the time when I was teaching— and still as a wife, mother and now grandmother— someone needs to explain the mopes to our woke folks !!!!