How to Study the Bible for Yourself
"Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before me." Jonah 1:2
August 21, 2007
Why Jonah Left & Where He Went
V1 What: The Word came
Who From: The Lord
Who To: Jonah son of Amittai
V2 What did the Lord Say: Go to Nineveh
What was Jonah to do: Cry against it (Nineveh)
Why: the Lord had seen their wickedness
V3 Who: Jonah
What: Fled to Tarshish, from the presence of the Lord
did Jonah do: He
went to Joppa and found a ship, which was
going to Tarshish & paid the fare to go on the ship
Jonah does the same thing that I do when I knowingly sin. I actually feel like I escape from God. How stupid, as I really know how much he is present with me, especially after I sin.
August 27, 2007
How Jonah’s Actions Affected the Sailors
What: Created a great wind that caused a storm
Where: on the sea
What happened: the ship began to break up
V5 Who: the sailors on the ship
What: became afraid and every man cried to his god
What did they do: began to throw the ships cargo overboard
Why: to lighten the ship
Where did he go: down below into the ship
Why: to go to sleep
V6 Who: the captain
What did the captain do: approached Jonah
Why: to ask him how he could sleep and to tell him to get up and call on his God
Why did the captain want Jonah to call on his God: he hoped that God would be concerned with the situation and they would not perish.
V7 Who: the sailors speaking to one another
What: let’s cast lots to see who has caused this storm to be on us
What was the outcome: The result was that it was Jonah’s fault
V8 Who: the men spoke to Jonah
What: the men ask Jonah many questions so they could determine why he was to blame
V9 Who: Jonah replies to the men
What: I am a Hebrew and I fear the Lord God of Heaven who made the sea and dry land
When I disobey God, there is always a result to my actions. These results may not only affect me but many others around me.
The Men on the Ship Are Upset With Jonah
What: became frightened
Why: because they knew that Johan was fleeing from the presence of the Lord
How did the sailors know that: Jonah had told them
V11 Who: the sailors speaking to Jonah
What: what should we do with you
Why did they ask that question: because the sea and the storm were getting worse
What: throw me into the sea
Why: because he knew the storm was his fault
V13 Who: the sailors
What: tried to row back to land but could not
Why: the sea was becoming worse against them
V14 Who: the sailors called to the Lord
What: they earnestly prayed for the Lord to spare them and not punish them on account of Jonah
Jonah, it seems, felt bad for disobeying the Lord because he saw how it affected the sailors. The thing is that the people that were affected by Jonah’s disobedience became scared and concerned only for themselves instead of being concerned for Jonah and helping him overcome his disobedience to the Lord. This is what most of us do. We seen someone else’s disobedience and what it does but we don’t worry about how it affects that person, we worry about how it may affect us. We want to shield ourselves instead of helping the person who has disobeyed to repentance.
August 30, 2007
Men on the Ship Take Action Against Jonah
What: Picked Jonah up and threw him into the sea
Why: the men were afraid and they blamed Jonah for situation they were in
V16 Who: the men
What: offered a sacrifice
Who to: the Lord
Why: they greatly feared Him
Sometimes I take action that I think will make me feel better or make the situation that I am in better. What I do on my own may even help me for a time, but without consulting God and being in His will, I won’t have the peace of know that I have done the right thing.
Jonah 1: 17
What: appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah
Where did Jonah end up: in the fish’s stomach
Why did the fish swallow Jonah: he had disobeyed the Lord
I can’t run and hide from God; there are always consequences to my disobedience.
Prays to the Lord From Inside the Fish
Where was he: Inside the fish’s stomach
Who did Jonah pray to: the Lord
V2 Who: Jonah praying
What was his prayer: he called out his distress to the Lord and the Lord answered him. Jonah cried from the depths of Sheol.
V3 Who: Jonah continues
What: You (the Lord) cast me into the deep and the current engulfed me and the waves passed over me.
V4 Who: Jonah cries out in his prayer
What: I have been expelled from your site but even so I will look again towards Your holy temple.
V5 Who: Jonah continues
What is he describing: the water encompassed him to the point of death and that the weeds were tangled about his head
V6 Who: Jonah continues
How did Jonah describe his despair: I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever
What was his hope: You (the Lord) have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God
V7 Who: Jonah continues
What: While I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord
What was the outcome: Jonah began to pray to the Lord
V8 Who: Jonah continues
What: those who regard vain idols forsake their faithfulness
Who was he referring to: In general all men but he was including himself
V9 Who: Jonah rejoices to the Lord
How: By sacrificing to the Lord with the voice of thanksgiving
What does Jonah do: He vows that which he says he will pay, he will pay and he recognizes that salvation is from the Lord
What: commanded the fish to vomit Jonah out of its stomach up onto dry land
From verse 1-10 Jonah is the perfect picture of me. I run away from God and his commands and then when I get into trouble, which is most likely God punishing me for disobedience, I become full of despair and seek God out to save me and solve my situation. Then just like in v10, God does just that. It is quite obvious to me that I, just like most people, should see that God wants me to involve Him in all of my life. He wants me to pray to Him before things go bad so he can guide me. I realize that things are allowed to occur so God can teach us but even with those things we can be prayerful and obedient from the very beginning. This recipe will undoubtedly make our life more meaningful and fill us with God’s joy.
September 7, 2007
God Commands Jonah to Preach
What: The word of the Lord came to him for a second time
V2 What did the Lord say to Jonah: Arise and go to Nineveh and proclaim the proclamation
Which I am going to tell you.
V3 Who: Jonah
What: Obeyed the Lord and went to Nineveh as the Lord commanded
How far was Nineveh from Jonah: a 3 days walk
What type of city was Nineveh: an exceedingly great city
I can see clearly here that Jonah was not about to disobey the Lord again after what had previously happened to him. Jonah did as he was told without question. This is clearly an example of how I am to obey God when he commands me to do something. Blind faith is what He asks for, not a questioning faith.
Jonah was to Preach
What: began to go through the city one day’s walk
What was he doing: he was crying out “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown”.
He was warning them.
Only one verse but an important one. Jonah not only goes to Nineveh as the Lord commanded but he spoke what the Lord wanted him to speak. When God commands me to go he may also command me to act after I get there. God’s plan may be very simple to follow and then again it may be very complex. It doesn’t matter; I must just do what I am told.
September 10, 2007
Consequences of Jonah’s Preaching
What: Believed in God
What did they do: called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them
Note: Sackcloth was a symbol of sorrow and repentance, it was coarse, dark cloth unfit for normal wear. Ryrie Study Bible
V6 What: When the word reached the king of Nineveh
What did he do: he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, and covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes.
Note: Sitting on ashes was a sign of helplessness and despair. Ryrie Study Bible
V7 Who: The king of Nineveh
What: issued a proclamation saying “Do not let man, beast, herd or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water.
V8 Who: The king of Nineveh continues
What: “But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence, which is in his hands.
V9 Who: The king continues
What: “Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we shall not perish?”
I often hear
good preaching and
teaching from not only my pastor but from many other places, radio,
and in normal conversation. Wouldn’t
be great if I were to react always to good preaching like the king and
people of Nineveh? When
I hear the truth
in God’s word I should be obedient to act immediately and affect change
be. I am not to
just pick out the
teaching that I want and apply it, I am to hear the word and live it. Sometimes it takes drastic
action just like
the people of Nineveh to get started on the right track.
September 11, 2007
Changes His Mind About Nineveh and Spares Them
What: saw their deeds (people of Nineveh) and that they had turned from their wicked way
What did God do: relented concerning the calamity, which He had declared He would bring upon them.
What was the outcome: God did not go through with it
I repent from being disobedient
or doing evil (which is most likely the same thing at the same time)
goodness God is merciful. God
want to punish anyone but there is a right time for everything, even
punishment. In the
example above God
showed his great mercy to the people of Nineveh.
I can’t count how many times God has shown
great mercy to me but it has been often.
I don’t deserve mercy from God.
guess if I thought I deserved mercy it wouldn’t be mercy. All I know is that I am
grateful that God
wants what is best for me.
September 12, 2007
Does Not Like God’s Decision
What: Did not like the fact that God spared Nineveh and Jonah became angry
Why was Jonah angry: Jonah did not want the enemies of the Israel to be spared
V2 Who: Jonah
What did he do: He prayed to the Lord
What was Jonah’s prayer: To try and justify to God why he had been disobedient in the first place knowing that God was compassionate, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and that if Nineveh repented God would not destroy them.
V3 Who: Jonah continues to pray to God
What was he requesting: for God to take his life because Jonah felt death was better than life because of the outcome on Nineveh.
V4 Who: The Lord
What: Spoke to Jonah saying, “Do you have a good reason to be angry?”.
Believe it or not I understand how Jonah felt. There have been many times I did not want to follow what God wanted me to do even though I knew it was the right thing to do. I would be afraid of the outcome because I knew, and know, that God is merciful and I didn’t want God’s outcome. I wanted mine. Then after being obedient, God doing only what God can do, I would be irritated and even feel cheated; just like Jonah. “It just isn’t fair” is what I would think and even ask God “Why do you show compassion or mercy on those people or that situation?” When I read this I realize that is simply is not my place to try to out think God. If I proclaim that He indeed knows what is best for me then I should just obey. Obedience, it seems like that is the main topic of the book of Jonah to this point. It is quite obvious to me that it is my main obstacle between God and me.
September 14, 2007
Uses a Plant in an Object Lesson to Jonah
What: Left the city to the east and sat down. He made a shelter for himself and sat the the shelter in the shade.
Why: He wanted to sit in the shade and watch was would happen in the city
V6 Who: The Lord God
What: Appointed a plant and grew it up over Jonah to be a shade over his head
Why: to deliver Jonah from the heat and his discomfort.
How did Jonah react: he was extremely happy about the plant
V7 Who: God
What: appointed a worm
Why: to attack the plant to kill it
When: at dawn the next day
V8 When: when the sun came up
What did God do: appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head to the point that he became faint
What was Jonah’s reaction: he begged with all his soul to die, saying, “Death is better to me than life”.
V9 Who: God said to Jonah
What: “Do you have a good reason to be angry about the plant?”
Who: Jonah replies to God
What: “I have good reason to be angry, even to death.”
V10 Who: The Lord said to Jonah
What: “You have compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight.
V11 Who: God continues
What: “Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?”
Jonah reveals what most of us are like. We want God to comfort us and to spare us and to show us mercy. But when it comes to those I don’t like, or those I care little for, I want them to receive God’s judgment without mercy. I think “They deserve what they get”. Thank goodness I don’t get what I deserve from God and thank goodness no believer gets what they deserve from God. Compassion is what God shows me and that is what he wants me to learn. It’s real easy for me to show compassion on those closest to me but those who are not, I give little thought. There are consequences for that type of attitude. Because of that I desperately need to reshape my thinking.
Acknowledgements and thanks to Steve Rains for permitting WordExplain to publish his own study on Jonah.
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WordExplain by James T. Bartsch
Updated August 8, 2016