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God’s Correction of Jonah

INTRODUCTION: The amazing story of Jonah and the whale has for centuries been a favorite of children and a target of Bible-deniers. We hold God’s word to be true in all its details and have no problem believing God prepared a great fish that could swallow a man and spit him up, still alive, three days later. The messages of this story are many. We see God as one who holds His messengers accountable for the message He gives them to deliver, yet, we also see Him as the God of mercy. Even though Nineveh had been marked for immediate destruction, God turns from this judgment when the people of Nineveh turn from their sins. Which reminds us that God is a faithful God as He promises security to those who obey Him in Jeremiah 4:1, which states, “If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the LORD, return unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not remove.”

  1. THE PRAYER OF JONAH (Jonah 2:1-10)
    1. The Place of Jonahs Prayer (Jonah 2:1-2)
      1. Out of the fishs belly (Jonah 2:1)
        1. Only after the chastening of the Lord Then
        2. He prayed to the LORD his God; Note: Jonahs disobedience did not change the fact that the Lord was his God.
      2. Out of the belly of hell (Jonah 2:2)
        1. Jonah cried because of his affliction.
        2. Jonah cried unto the Lord.
        3. The Lord heard his voice.
    2. The Cause of Jonahs Prayer (Jonah 2:3-6)
      1. He was cast into the deep (Jonah 2:3).
        1. Identified as the midst of the seas
        2. Where floods compassed him about
        3. Where billows and waves passed over him
      2. He supposed himself to be cast out of the sight of God (Jonah 2:4).
        1. Jonah had fled from the presence of God (Jonah 1:3, 10).
        2. Jonah determined again to look toward Gods holy temple.
        3. Note: Jonah suspected that he had been cast out of Gods sight, but that was not a reality (Psalm 139:7-12).
      3. He was compassed about by the waters (Jonah 2:5).
        1. Even to the soul
        2. Closed about in the depth
        3. Weeds wrapped about his head
      4. Brought down to the bottoms of the mountains (Jonah 2:6)
        1. The earth with her bars was about him for ever.
        2. Yet God brought up his life from corruption.
    3. The Power of Jonahs Prayer (Jonah 2:7-9)
      1. He responded to the fainting of his soul (Jonah 2:7a).
      2. He remembered the Lord (Jonah 2:7b).
      3. His prayer came into Gods holy temple (Jonah 2:7c; Psalm 5:7; Psalm 11:4; Psalm 138:2).
      4. He recognized the uselessness of rebellion (Jonah 2:8).
        1. They observe lying vanities (Psalm 31:6).
        2. They forsake their own mercy. They oppose themselves (Acts 18:6; 2 Timothy 2:25).
      5. He came with a sacrifice, the voice of thanksgiving (Jonah 2:9a; Hebrews 13:15).
      6. He promised to pay his vows (Jonah 2:9b; Deuteronomy 23:21, 23).
      7. He declared salvation to be of the Lord (Jonah 2:9c).
    4. The Results of Jonahs Prayer (Jonah 2:10)
      1. The Lord spoke to the fish. Note: Jonah rebelled against the Lord, but the fish obeyed. Throughout scripture, animals proved more obedient than man.
      2. The fish vomited Jonah up on dry land.
  2. THE PREACHING OF JONAH (Jonah 3:1-4)
    1. The Call of Jonah (Jonah 3:1-2)
      1. By the word of the Lord (Jonah 3:1)
      2. The second time (Jonah 3:1)
      3. The same message (Jonah 3:2; compare Jonah 1:2)
        1. Arise.
        2. Go.
        3. Preach he must preach the preaching that God bade him to preach (Jeremiah 1:17; Ezekiel 2:6-8).
    2. The Obedience of Jonah (Jonah 3:3)
      1. He arose.
      2. He went to Nineveh.
      3. He did according to the word of the Lord.
      4. Three days journey
        1. Many think this refers to the distance Jonah was from the city.
        2. Nineveh certainly included a large area considered a part of the city, even if it was not all within a city wall. Evidently, it took Jonah three days to get through the city preaching the message of repentance.
        3. This seems interesting in light of the fact that Jonah spent three days in the belly of the fish. Perhaps the Lord chose three days in the fish to remind Jonah that he could have instead been preaching three days.
    3. The Message of Jonah (Jonah 3:4)
      1. A time: in forty days
      2. An event: Nineveh shall be overthrown.
    1. The People Believed the Message (Jonah 3:5).
      1. The people of Nineveh believed God. Note: They accepted Jonahs message as words from God (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
      2. They proclaimed a fast.
      3. They put on sackcloth.
    2. The People Repented of Their Sins (Jonah 3:6-8).
      1. The repentance of the king of Nineveh (Jonah 3:6)
        1. He arose from his throne.
        2. He laid aside his royal robe.
        3. He put on sackcloth.
        4. He sat down in ashes.
      2. The proclamation of a fast (Jonah 3:7-8)
        1. By decree of the king and nobles (Jonah 3:7)
        2. That none should eat or drink (Jonah 3:7)
        3. That all should be covered with sackcloth (Jonah 3:8)
        4. That all should cry mightily to the Lord (Jonah 3:8)
        5. That all should turn from their evil ways (Jonah 3:8)
    3. The People Hoped in Gods Mercy (Jonah 3:9; Psalm 33:18; Psalm 147:11).
    4. The Lord Forgave the People (Jonah 3:10).
      1. God saw their repentance.
      2. God repented of His intended judgment.

CONCLUSION: While there is life, there is still hope that God will see our repentance and will forgive and restore. We see forgiveness with the people of Nineveh. We see forgiveness and restoration with the prophet Jonah. Truly, we can hope in His mercy.