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Theology of Jonah

Alexander Galvez
Jonah  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Last Week
This morning we are bringing a conclusion to the book of Jonah and you will recall that this book ends somewhat abruptly. We were reading as Jonah awaits to see what would happen to the Ninevites and as he is waiting God poses questions to Jonah which highlight an attribute of God and this is juxtaposed against the character of Jonah.
In question 1, Jonah is asked if it is right for Jonah to be angry. Although they had been a terror to Jonah and the nation of Israel, they had sinned more greatly against God. And Jonah had no right to be angry with them. Additionally in question 2, Jonah is provided with a plant from God. It was not tilled by Jonah and cared for by him, but God had appointed one for Jonah. And Jonah is upset when God removes the plant and is questioned about it. And again Jonah does not have any right to be angry. He had not done anything to deserve the shade of the plant.
And finally, the last question, which is where we left off at, Jonah is asked if it is right for God to not care about the great city of Nineveh.
And this question is not one that can be so easily answered. In answering you either reveal the callousness of your heart and misunderstanding of the nature of God. Or you can identify with your sin. It has force. This question really captures the whole theme of the book. Grace and Mercy. The shade of the vine, the deliverance of Nineveh, the salvation from the great fish and the saving of the men in the storm. All undeserved, but God does wish for destruction, but salvation!
The New American Commentary: Amos, Obadiah, Jonah (5) God’s Mercy (4:10–11)G. V. Smith has said: God will (and does) act in justice against sin, but His great love for every person in the world causes Him to wait patiently, to give graciously, to forgive mercifully, and to accept compassionately even the most unworthy people in the world. To experience the grace of God and not be willing to tell others of His compassion is a tragedy all must avoid. Messengers of God can neither limit the grace of God nor control its distribution, but they can prevent God’s grace from having an effect on their own lives.
We are not given a chance to hear if Jonah does reply to God in the third question. Nor do we read what happens to him. But the point is clear, Throughout God is a saving God, (sailor, fish, Jonah, Nineveh). God is a merciful God, and God relents for those who turn to Him in sincere repentance and worship.
ConclusionWe are not given a chance to hear if Jonah does reply to God in the third question. Nor do we read what happens to him. But the point is clear, Throughout God is a saving God, (sailor, fish, Jonah, Nineveh). God is a merciful God, and God relents for those who turn to Him in sincere repentance and worship.The hanging question or cliff hanger seems to serve three purposes:Reveal the true focus of the story. It is not on Jonah, or the fish, but of God’s miraculous saving grace.Pointing us to reflect on where we are. Are we like Jonah? Wanting God to act in our own way and understanding?Pointing us to the fact that only God saves and we need a saviour. It is pointing to Jesus and sewing together a beautiful tapestry.Let’s not be forgetful people. But let’s also not be disobedient and remembering people. Jonah knew God. He knew the character of God. And yet, we see that that was not enough. Let’s remember. Let’s read Jonah’s prayer to close things off and I want us to stand as we read it. Please read out loud the parts that have been put in bold on the screen.
We are not given a chance to hear if Jonah does reply to God in the third question. Nor do we read what happens to him. But the point is clear, Throughout God is a saving God, (sailor, fish, Jonah, Nineveh). God is a merciful God, and God relents for those who turn to Him in sincere repentance and worship.
The hanging question or cliff hanger seems to serve three purposes:
Reveal the true focus of the story. It is not on Jonah, or the fish, but of God’s miraculous saving grace.
Pointing us to reflect on where we are. Are we like Jonah? Wanting God to act in our own way and understanding?
Pointing us to the fact that only God saves and we need a saviour. It is pointing to Jesus and sewing together a beautiful tapestry.
And so it brings us to the Theology of Jonah. What is it that this book is teaching us about God? What is it that as we read it convicts our hearts and draws us in greater love for God and knowledge of who He is?
Themes: Story of Redemption, but a very sad story. Although we can be overjoyed by what God is doing around, we are placed in a state if sorrow for Jonah. We want him to finally get it. Almost as though in movies we scream at the protagonist “don’t go in there” we are yelling at Jonah “Stop” but he does not stop. And we are left a bit dissatisfied. We are left in contemplation.
“Should I not care about the great city of Nineveh who cannot distinguish between their right and their left?”
Let’s read Jonah’s prayer to close things off and I want us to stand as we read it. Please read out loud the parts that have been put in bold on the screen.
We are left with that question. You could say every time we hear the Gospel proclaimed we are to think on that question. When we have a burning in our soul, should God no care? But the question really is not, should God not care. But rather, shouldn’t we care? Why do we not care? When surrounded by the masses, do we not care?
It is very easy isn’t it to go through the day focused on what we need to get done, forgetting what God has called us to get done.
God’s plan prevails and it is good. A tempest in the sea, how can it be good? It causes destruction. People may have died. We know at the very least the vessel that carried Jonah lost a great deal of wealth. But it is good. Not how we would have planned it. We also don’t know what may have brought them to their knees, but the Ninevites do repent when hearing of their impending destruction. God is good.
God is loving. Very interesting because generally when you ask someone about the Old Testament God. He is evil, they might say. And of course, you can twist this to make God seem evil and manipulative, but when read simply and plainly we cannot escape the mercy and grace of God. And the evil and wickedness of man. Man is always shown in a not so positive light. But God is good!
And so we are captivated by this story of redemption and grace and mercy and love of God. But we would be pitiable fools if believers were left there and not reminded of Christ. This story, as we know in a NT context, also points us to one who is the true savior. God had used an imperfect vessel such as Jonah to bring about the physical salvation of a nation.
God sent the perfect one in order to bring about an eternal salvation for a holy nation. And so we begin to identify not with Jonah, but with the Ninevites. And aren’t we all like them?
Let’s be honest, do we not also fall into sexual immorality? Do we not also have a greediness in our hearts. What of all the idols that we have placed before the one true God. We spoke of the great violence of the Ninevites as well and how, as one historian put it, the mounds of bodies were innumerable. What hatred have we stored in our hearts? How many bodies of those murdered in our hearts lie in front of our gates? You see, we are truly dead men and women in our sins. We are without hope!
We like to think that we are good and that God needs us, but the truth is we are full of sin and deserving of death. And we need to ask, where does salvation come from? We come to terms with our state and we ask who will care for a man such as I who is unable to distinguish between my right and my left.
But the story is not just about sinners. It is wrapped up with themes of grace!
The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. XLIII Jonah’s Object-Lessons (No. 2,504)

The life of Jonah cannot be written without God; take God out of the prophet’s history, and there is no history to write. This is equally true of each one of us. Apart from God, there is no life, nor thought, nor act, nor career of any man, however lowly or however high. Leave out God, and you cannot write the story of anyone’s career. If you attempt it, it will be so ill-written that it shall be clearly perceived that you have tried to make bricks without straw, and that you have sought to fashion a potter’s vessel without clay. I believe that, in a man’s life, the great secret of strength, and holiness, and righteousness, is the acknowledgment of God.

The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. XLIII Jonah’s Object-Lessons (No. 2,504)

The life of Jonah cannot be written without God; take God out of the prophet’s history, and there is no history to write. This is equally true of each one of us. Apart from God, there is no life, nor thought, nor act, nor career of any man, however lowly or however high. Leave out God, and you cannot write the story of anyone’s career. If you attempt it, it will be so ill-written that it shall be clearly perceived that you have tried to make bricks without straw, and that you have sought to fashion a potter’s vessel without clay. I believe that, in a man’s life, the great secret of strength, and holiness, and righteousness, is the acknowledgment of God. When a man has no fear of God before his eyes, there is no wonder that he should run to an excess of meanness, and even to an excess of riot. In proportion as the thought of God dominates the mind, we may expect to find a life that shall be true and really worth living; but in proportion as we forget God, we shall play the fool. It is the fool who says in his heart, “No God,” and it is the fool who lives and acts as if there were no God.

The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. XLIII Jonah’s Object-Lessons (No. 2,504)

You may have found, dear friend, that God has prepared a storm in your life. There was a tempest which checked you in your career of sin. You had determined to go to destruction, and you had “paid the fare thereof;” but there came a great trial, something or other that stopped your ship, and threatened utterly to swallow it up. After that, there came delivering mercy; you who were cast into the sea were, nevertheless, not lost, but saved. What you judged to be your destruction turned out to be for your salvation, for God had from of old prepared the means of saving you; and he sent you such a deliverance that you were compelled to say with Jonah, “Salvation is of the Lord.” Since that time, I should not wonder if you have seen the hand of God in many very singular ways, possibly in much the same form as Jonah did, not literally, but spiritually. Especially if you have erred as Jonah did, if you have fallen into ill-humours as he did, you have probably had to bear the same kind of discipline and chastisement

Themes: Story of Redemption, but a very sad story. Although we can be overjoyed by what God is doing around, we are placed in a state if sorrow for Jonah. We want him to finally get it. Almost as though in movies we scream at the protagonist “don’t go in there” we are yelling at Jonah “Stop” but he does not stop. And we are left a bit dissatisfied. We are left in contemplation.
And so Jonah, reminds us of our:
Themes: Story of Redemption, but a very sad story. Although we can be overjoyed by what God is doing around, we are placed in a state if sorrow for Jonah. We want him to finally get it. Almost as though in movies we scream at the protagonist “don’t go in there” we are yelling at Jonah “Stop” but he does not stop. And we are left a bit dissatisfied. We are left in contemplation.
Themes: Story of Redemption, but a very sad story. Although we can be overjoyed by what God is doing around, we are placed in a state if sorrow for Jonah. We want him to finally get it. Almost as though in movies we scream at the protagonist “don’t go in there” we are yelling at Jonah “Stop” but he does not stop. And we are left a bit dissatisfied. We are left in contemplation.
Themes: Story of Redemption, but a very sad story. Although we can be overjoyed by what God is doing around, we are placed in a state if sorrow for Jonah. We want him to finally get it. Almost as though in movies we scream at the protagonist “don’t go in there” we are yelling at Jonah “Stop” but he does not stop. And we are left a bit dissatisfied. We are left in contemplation.
“Should I not care about the great city of Nineveh who cannot distinguish between their right and their left?”
We are left with that question. You could say every time we hear the Gospel proclaimed we are to think on that question. When we have a burning in our soul, should God no care? But the question really is not, should God not care. But rather, shouldn’t we care? Why do we not care? When surrounded by the masses, do we not care?
It is very easy isn’t it to go through the day focused on what we need to get done, forgetting what God has called us to get done.
God’s plan prevails and it is good. A tempest in the sea, how can it be good? It causes destruction. People may have died. We know at the very least the vessel that carried Jonah lost a great deal of wealth. But it is good. Not how we would have planned it. We also don’t know what may have brought them to their knees, but the Ninevites do repent when hearing of their impending destruction. But God is good.
God is loving. Very interesting because generally when you ask someone about the Old Testament God. He is evil, they might say. And of course, you can twist this to make God seem evil and manipulative, but when read simply and plainly we cannot escape the mercy and grace of God. And the evil and wickedness of man. Man is always shown in a not so positive light. But God is good!
And so Jonah, reminds us of our:
1) Condition- Who we are. We are dead in sin
2) Calling - We are saved. God has saved us from our sins
3)
3) Commission- What we are to do

“The book of Jonah has no conclusion, and the final question of the book has no answer, except from the one who realizes the fullness of the mercy of God.”

Action: Confidence- Conviction-Conduct
Action: Confidence- Conviction-Conduct
Rest in Him and His goodness (- God’s promise in Christ)
Recognize and be honest with your state. (Unbeliever) || Examine your life. Are you running like Jonah? Are you bitter? (believer)
Come to Christ (unbeliever) || Trust in Him and follow His Word (believer)
Let’s not be forgetful people. But let’s also not be disobedient and remembering people. Jonah knew God. He knew the character of God. And yet, we see that that was not enough. Let’s remember.
Let’s read Jonah’s prayer to close things off and I want us to stand as we read it. Please read out loud the parts that have been put in bold on the screen.
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