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Jonah 3-4

Jonah RC  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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As we study the final chapters of Jonah tonight let’s keep in mind the 3 questions we discussed last week to help form the way we read the book:
How do you see yourself in this story?
How do you see the brokenness of sin in this story?
How do you see Jesus in this story? or How is Jesus greater than Jonah?
Let’s read
Jonah 3:1–10 ESV
1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. 4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. 6 The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, 8 but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9 Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” 10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
Jonah 3:1-
Jonah 3:1–7 ESV
1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. 4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. 6 The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water,

A. Recommissioning

The chapter starts almost identically to ch.1 except with a different response. Jonah is written in a cyclical format:
Commission
Response - refuse
Repentance of pagans
Prayer
Prayer - repentance
Commission
Response - obey
Repentance of pagans
Prayer - accusation
The recommissioning of Jonah is also an illustration of the great grace of God - he certainly didn’t need Jonah to deliver the message of repentance to Nineveh. Yet the fact that the word of God came to Jonah a second time illustrates the nature of God; that he is a God of grace and second chances.
*What other lessons can we take from Jonah’s recommission to go to Nineveh?
God was adamant to get his message of repentance to Nineveh.
God desired to illustrate the universal nature of his love; even to the worst of pagans.

B. Repentance

Jonah 3:4–6 ESV
4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. 6 The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
*What are some ways you would describe Jonah’s message?
Little effort (only went a day’s journey into the city)
Lacking in content (5 words in Hebrew) Not clear if he spoke more than this, or to individuals; the author is attempting to illustrate the halfhearted care that Jonah is putting into the message
*What are some ways you would describe the Ninevites response?
Radical.
Involved every aspect of life, no matter how mundane or unrelated it appeared (involving animals in repentance process) - maybe a little bit overboard but you have to appreciate the seriousness with which they reacted to the message.
maybe a little bit overboard but you have to appreciate the seriousness with which they reacted to the message
Humbling - from the greatest to the least. Even the king who was all about power and status stepped from his throne too, removed his robe and sat in ashes
The Ninevites are more responsive to Jonah’s message than Jonah was to God’s attempts to get him to change his mind (storm, fish) - the story is intended to contrast their responses (also the pagan sailors from ch.1)
In the bigger picture, some scholars believe that the book was written during the monarchy years of Israel’s history, a time of significant disobedience and was intended to be a scandalous rebuke to Israel’s lack of repentance. Jesus also referred to the story in:
Matthew 12:41 ESV
41 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
matt
*How do you think Jonah’s spiritual pride contributed to his lack of repentance?

C. God’s Radical Mercy

Jonah 4:1-
Jonah 4:1–10 ESV
1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. 2 And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. 3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4 And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?” 5 Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city. 6 Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. 7 But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” 9 But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” 10 And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night.
Jonah 4:1–11 ESV
1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. 2 And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. 3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4 And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?” 5 Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city. 6 Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. 7 But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” 9 But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” 10 And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”
Again we see the sovereignty of God over creation in the way that he appointed three things: a plant, a worm and a scorching east wind.
What can we learn about Jonah’s
*What can we learn about God’s nature from this chapter? Especially toward unbelievers?
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