The Book of Jonah
· Recap: As soon as Jonah was tossed into the water the storm broke and everything was calm. What started it all?
Resume: GOD CALLS — Jonah Disobeys
- Why did the Lord God want to send Jonah to those foreigners who despised and hated the Israelites? Did God also care about Israel's enemies? Yes, He did! God was about to judge the people of Nineveh because their sin had reached to heaven. Nevertheless, God takes no pleasure in abolishing sinners. God wants everyone to repent of his sin, believe God's Word and be saved. That is why the Lord commanded Jonah to go to the people of Nineveh, and warn them so that they could repent of their sin, turn to God, and be saved.
Jonah received a calling from the Lord to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh.
· Instead of obeying and going straight to Nineveh, he went to Joppa to board a ship to the city of Tarshish. Nineveh was inland from where Jonah lived and Tarshish was across the sea.
Jonah’s trial from God
· Jonah was in the whale’s belly for 3 days and 3 nights. Jonah, being alive in the belly of the great sea monster considered himself in the "belly of Sheol" and cried out to God. He confessed his disobedience, and told God that he would accomplish the task that the Lord had called him to.
God then instructed the sea monster to vomit Jonah out onto dry ground. After he was released from the sea monster he went to Nineveh and preached God's judgment crying, "yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown" (Jonah 3:4) and when the people of Nineveh heard _
- 5 _and believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. 6When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh: "By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish." 10When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.
Jonah lacks appreciation for God’s mercy
· Jonah climbed to the top of a mountain to watch the Lord destroy the city. He became very angry at God because a Gentile nation, and such an evil one, would receive mercy from the Lord. Jonah complained again. To help teach Jonah a lesson, God caused a gourd to grow and to protect Jonah from the sun. A short time later God killed the gourd and Jonah became angry. Finally, God had Jonah’s attention. God showed Jonah the foolishness of the fact that he was more concerned for the gourd than he was for the people. The gourd, which had no soul, received more attention from the prophet Jonah than thousands of people who were destined to eternal punishment.
However, Jonah was not happy that God showed mercy to the people of Nineveh. Listen to what is written in the fourth and final chapter of the book of Jonah. The Scripture says:
- (Jonah 4) 1But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. 2He prayed to the Lord, "O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live." 4But the Lord replied, "Have you any right to be angry?" 5Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city.
God taught Jonah a lesson by allowing a gourd-vine to grow up in one night and make a shelter for him from the burning heat of the sun.
- 6Then the Lord God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine.
Then_ 7But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. 8When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live." 9But God said to Jonah, "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?" "I do," he said. "I am angry enough to die." 10But the Lord said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?"
Jonah learned that God looks upon people of every nation as being precious in his sight, even though they do not know how to worship him….to be cont’d
Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts