Jonah: Called and Ticked Off About It!

Jonah a prophet of the northern kingdom of Israel he is from Gath-hepher (a few miles north of Nazareth) active during the reign of Jeroboam II (c.786-746 BC), 8th century
According to Jewish tradition Jonah was the boy brought back to life by Elijah the prophet in 1 Kings 17, and hence shares many of his characteristics (particularly his desire for ‘strict judgment’). The book of Jonah is read every year, in its original Hebrew and in its entirety, on Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement.
Jonah is the only one of the Twelve Minor Prophets of the Hebrew Bible to be mentioned by name in the Qur’an
Jonah (Yunus in Arabic) is highly important in Islam as a prophet who was faithful to God and delivered His messages. In Islam, Jonah is also called Dhul-Nun, Chapter 10 of the Qur’an is named Jonah, although in this chapter only verse 98 refers to him directly. It is said in Muslim tradition that Jonah came from the tribe of Benjamin and that his father was Amittai.
Jonah’s Qur’anic narrative is extremely similar to the Hebrew Bible story. The Qur’an describes Jonah as a righteous preacher of the message of God but a messenger who, one day, fled from his mission because of its overwhelming difficulty.
Today Nineveh’s location is marked by excavations of 5 gates, parts of walls on four sides, and two large mounds, the hill of Kuyunjik and hill of Nabi Yunus. On Nabi Yunus there is a Muslim shrine dedicated to the prophet Jonah.
PT 1. Being called reveals our heart.
1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me. ”
3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.
4 Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.
But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. 6 The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish. ”
7 Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity. ” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.
8 So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you? ”
9 He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land. ”
10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done? ”( They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)
11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us? ”
12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you. ”
13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried to the Lord, “O Lord, please do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O Lord, have done as you pleased. ” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.
Jonah was called to go and preach, to become a prophet, something he obviously never wanted to be as seen from his reaction.
God called him suddenly out of nowhere to change the direction of his life, give up his ways, his dreams and wishes for the sake of others, in this case very ungodly people.
What did it reveal in his heart ?
A. Cowardice, vs 3 he fled from his calling, he went on the run from God’s will for his life.
Jonah was not one of the “big gun”, “high powered”, type of prophet. He was basically a no name, a common person, just an ordinary guy. God called Him to go to the “Great City” of Nineveh and “cry against it.” Maybe Jonah wanted to see his grandkids grow up. He knew some of the leaders in that area of the world and how they dealt with outsiders and those who would speak against the government. Rulers like Sennacherib, Tiglath-Pileser, were killing people unmercifully. Some were being skinned alive, others filleted, and still others beheaded. Jonah could have been afraid to go to that area with a message from God because he, like us, wonder about God’s protection.
B. His selfishness, he was willing to spend money on himself to forget about his calling, paying a costly fare to run away from God.
He was willing to put the lives of others at risk by including them in his escape plan – he could have just tried to hide alone in a city. Even when he knew the storm was his fault it took others asking to reveal his sin, he was hardening his heart instead of confessing and dealing with his sin.
C. He tried to justify his actions to non spiritual people around him, he told everyone he was running from God. You can imagine the conversation.
“I am running away from My God, you will never believe the unreasonable thing he has asked me to do, give up MY life, my dreams, to save wicked wicked people, you know even if I did preach they would not become righteous, don’t you agree”
D. Fell into a deep sleep, after emotional sin, torment of your soul, their is emotional exhaustion, you want to try and sleep it off. But the issue is still there when you wake up! Even the Captain said “how can you sleep?”, the answer, because I am in sin!.
First sign of a deeper sin to come is sleep.
E. Suicidal thoughts, more willing to die than repent. “Just kill me, throw me into the sea”. So selfish, not concerned for how it would effect others, he could have just jumped, no he had to involve and hurt others in his sin, he wanted them to feel pain because he was in pain.
Jonah hardened his heart to the calling, he thought he could run from God’s will, he did not care who he hurt in the process. He just wanted to rebel and in the end die.
What has God’s calling revealed in your heart?
Pt 2. Being called means learning to master your emotions through prayer
Jonah 1:17 – 2:10
17 But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.
2:1 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God.
2 He said: “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.
3 You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me.
4 I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple. ’
5 The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head.
6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O Lord my God.
7 “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.
8 “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
9 But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord. ”
10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
Jonah thought he could run away from God by not caring about how his life went and giving into suicidal thoughts.
That was not Gods plan for his life, God wanted him to be a prophet, and when God wants you to be a Prophet, God works very hard to see that HIS will is achieved in your life, even if he he has to painfully discipline you.
Jonah was swallowed by a fish, a very large fish, and for 3 days, approx 72 hours, he was so hard hearted he did not cry out to God for help for 3 days.
(How big do these whales get? In 1933 a sulfur bottom whale was caught off the coast of cape cod it was 100 ft long and had a mouth over 10 foot wide. A man who was unfortunate enough to be swallowed could take refuge in any one of the whales stomach chambers, or the large cranial cavities (extensions of the nasal sinus) which measure 7 feet high, 7ft wide and 14 ft long. More than big enough for a man to hide safely inside.)
How bad did it have to get for him to cry out to God?
Maybe he tried getting out of the fish on his own, he thought he could still out run or out maneuver God.
Maybe he tried several times to swim out of the fish only to be sucked back in? (castaway movie)
He would have undergone the feeling of intense pressure as the fish dived lower and lower.
That is what we feel when we run away from God – pressure.
He says in vs 2 that he cried out in his distress,
Was he not distressed the first minute he arrived in the fish?
We can like Jonah be in denial, “it’s not that bad” yet anyone outside our situation can clearly see we are in distress.
How long in your life will it take for you to be crushed by the hand of God.
What will it take for you to get focused on God and not yourself or your problems?
Once Jonah admitted resisting God was futile, he started to pray.
The only way to soften our hearts, and keep them soft is in prayer. Like Jesus in Gethsemane.
Mark 14:32-42.
32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray. ” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch. ”
35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will. ”
37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak. ”
39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.
41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer! ”
What will it take for you to get the hardness in your heart soft, soft enough to be moulded by God into something it is not. Hours and hours of prayer
What will it take for you to take your prayer life seriously, to build a deep relationship with God?
Genesis 4:7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it. ”
Examples :
3. Being called means calling others.
Jonah 3: 1-10
1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you. ”
3 Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city–a visit required three days. 4 On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned. ” 5 The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
6 When 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. 7 Then 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. 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish. ”
10 When 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 was called again by God, this time his reaction was different.
Good to know that your past does not have to be your future
Vs 3 Jonah’s heart was an obedient one, all resistance and excuses gone.
He had a big job ahead, one large city, yet because he heart was resolved and resolute the size of the task did not matter.
It is not the size of a challenge that we should be focussing on but the size of  our God.
What a MIRACLE, the whole city repented, 120,000 people in fact, from the King to the lowest, they even got the animals fasting!
Preaching Gods words, his warning and his promises turns people’s hearts
Q: Who are you preaching to?
Too busy
Set times, 7-9 Monday, Tuesday, consistency, other night other than Bible talk.
Matthew 12:38-41
Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you. ”
He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.
Maybe you have been called here today.
Respond to the message of the bible, Jesus’s teaching of the bible is all your need.
Pt 4 Being called should lead to joy.
Jonah’s Anger at the Lord’s Compassion
1 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. 2 He 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. 3 Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live. ”
4 But the Lord replied, “Have you any right to be angry? ”
5 Jonah 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. 6 Then 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. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. 8 When 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. ”
9 But 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. ”
10 But 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. 11 But 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? ”
Q: “Why was Jonah angry that the Ninevites repented
It seems strange that a preacher would be angry that his listeners repented of their sin, but that is exactly Jonah’s reaction to the Ninevites’ repentance. Jonah 4:2 tells us why: “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.”
Jonah knew from the start that God was gracious and merciful. He realized that if the people of Nineveh repented, God would spare them. The prophet was angry at their repentance because he would rather see them destroyed.
There are several possible reasons for Jonah’s desire to see Nineveh destroyed.
1. Nineveh was the capital city of Assyria, a ruthless and warlike people who were enemies of Israel. Nineveh’s destruction would have been seen as a victory for Israel.
2. Jonah probably wanted to see Nineveh’s downfall to satisfy his own sense of justice. After all, Nineveh deserved God’s judgment. – self righteous
3. God’s withholding of judgment from Nineveh could have made Jonah’s words appear illegitimate, since he had predicted the city’s destruction.
Jonah’s anger was rooted in self righteousness, they did not deserve to be forgiven, they have hurt Israel so much. He had quickly forgotten how much sin he had been in and how hard his heart had been, hard enough to run from God s call.
In Jonah we find the parable of the prodigal son all in one person, as Jonah ran from God to sin and then exposed his self righteous side.
When we are self righteous, it displays itself in not being motivated to help others.
Sow me a person who is not evangelistic and you will be showing me a person who is self focused, critical towards others and blind to their own sin.
Jonah, called in ticked off about it
It should have been Jonah the happy, grateful and prove lagged to be called.