The book of Jonah

The whole book is only a 7-minute read.

Chapter 1- I really don’t think I need to break this down.  It is written as a narrative so it’s pretty clear.  What is interesting to look at is the differences between Jonah (who knew the Lord) and the Sailors who did not know the Lord but worshipped many gods.  (It’s kind of like many Christians today and the world around us sadly):



He is a Hebrew with a rich history of God’s faithfulness They were Gentiles with no history of God
He is monotheistic, believing in one true God They are polytheistic, worshiping many false Gods
He is rightly related to the true God They had no relationship with the true God
He was spiritually insensitive, going in the wrong direction They are spiritually sensitive, going in the right direction.  They prayed.
He is indifferent toward God’s will in spite of knowing him They were concerned before God in spite of little or no knowledge of him
He was uncompassionate toward Nineveh They were compassionate toward Jonah
Jonah was rebellious and therefore disciplined, but not destroyed They were brought to worship and commitment

Chapter 2

Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. A foreshadow of the resurrection.  A sign of what was to come!  Three days in the tomb would bring salvation!

Jesus said: Matthew 12:

38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”

39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 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. 41 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 something greater than Jonah is here.

Chapter 3-The second half of this book records Jonah’s obedience to the Lord  However, he was not completely obedient in his attitudes even though he was in his actions.

The Prayer- Look at it closely…he was praying thanks for his own deliverance.   You know when you have that moment of huge desperation that you start praying everything you can think of.  This prayer is a mixture of Job, Lamentations, and 9 Psalms combined!

Someone once said “Exposure to Scripture doesn’t guarantee a godly life” (that’s for free, you can steal that)

But God is merciful.  He provided a way to save him.

Chapter 4- So we read this story and we concentrate on the sailors, the storm, the 3 days,  the Ninevites, or the whale.  We might assume that the Lord’s deliverance of the Ninevites from doom is the climax of the story. This is not the case. An important lesson of the book deals with God’s instrument: us. Jona appears selfish, petty, temperamental, and even downright foolish in chap. 4.

But to Jonah, this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing 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. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

In other words, he hoped that the Ninevites would not respond to his call for repentance and that God’s judgment would follow.  We can do the will of God without doing it with the right attitude, and that is the focus of the remainder of the book.  The irony that Jonah was saved through the whale God provided…was this any different?

God provided a plant to ease his discomfort.   Jonah was undeserving of such mercy, just as the Ninevites were underserving of theirs.  That’s why it’s called Mercy.

We use the phrase “The lost act lost”.  Those are the ones we are to bring the Gospel to.  Not judge them.  God saved 120,000 that day.  What an amazing God, and he can use us for this purpose.

Jonah Overview

Jonah Part 1 - A Great Commission, A Great Rebellion, and A Great Mercy — Redemption Parker

When you hear the word Jonah, most of us think of the word Fish.  I am hoping after tomorrow when you hear the word Jonah anything but the word “fish” comes to mind.  Redemption, Salvation, Grace, Love, Mission…

I am going to tell you the beginning and the end: It starts with Jonah being called to the mission field.

The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.

The contrast between Nineveh and Tarshish was vast. Nineveh was located east of the Tigris River in modern-day Iraq. It was more than 500 miles east of Jonah’s hometown. Tarshish, in contrast, was west of Gath-Hepher. In fact, Tarshish stood more than 2,500 miles from Israel in the opposite direction of Nineveh. It was the most remote destination available to Jonah. Jonah was trying to put as much distance as he could between himself and the Ninevites “Assyrians”. Actually between himself and God.

Walking Through the Word: Nineveh, Land of the Assyrians — Part 2 ...

You can read this story from “our” perspective or you can try to think of it from God’s perspective.  There is not one person on this Earth that God would close the door of Salvation.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Jonah was from Gath-Hepher, a town right outside Nazareth (Jesus’ hometown).  Nineveh is the capital of Assyria. (Modern day Iraq)  The Assyrians were a huge and cruel nation.  They were warriors that built their kingdom on their pillage from other countries.  Their morals were horrible.  The Assyrian kings kept a detailed record of their conquests and made art of their brutalities to hang on their walls.  They spread complete fear throughout the land in order to keep the nations in line to collect taxes.

Archeologists have uncovered some of their documentation: here are the people of Ninevah:

  • Cut off their hands and fingers, noses, and ears.
  • Skin them alive and put their skin on the walls of the cities they conquered.
  • Cut off their heads and put them on stakes and line the roads to their city.
  • Swing babies by their ankles and crack their heads against a stone wall.
  • Formed pillars of their corpses.
  • Impaled men on stakes against their city gate.
  • Cut off their privates and carried them as tokens as an object lesson for all lands.
  • Cut off their testicles and tore out their privates like seeds
  • They skinned men alive
  • Cut out their tongues
  • Gauged out their eyes for fun
  • Dismembered their bodies
  • and then made mounds of the skulls as decorations in their empire

To name a few!

Many scholars are divided over whether this book is fiction, an allegory, a parable, or a prose poem.  However, here is the deal…do you believe God created the heavens and the earth in 6 days? Do you believe God consumed a sacrifice with fire that was soaked in water? Do you believe the words written in red that Jesus spoke?  I do.

Jesus said in Matthew 12:40 “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”.

I have no doubt that the story is exactly as it reads.  If God says it, it is true. If Jesus accepts the Jonah story, I accept the Jonah story.

So a quick summary of what you are about to read. Jonah gets “called” to Nineveh, this cruel horrible city to denounce the wickedness of the people.  Jonah says, No and gets on a boat and heads in the opposite direction.


  • Is he afraid of these awful people?
  • Thinks what’s the point, they won’t change anyway?
  • If God’s own Chosen People won’t choose God and repent, why would these people?

NO that is not why he goes the other way!!! He goes the other way because he KNOWS God and He knows that if he is sending him on a mission then He is at work! And they probably will repent and be forgiven and he does not want that.  Jonah hates the Assyrians.  Spoiler alert:  At the end of the book Jonah admits WHY he did not want to go:

 I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.

This story is NOT about a fish, it is about God’s Love.  God’s Mercy.  God’s Grace.  His love extends to the whole world, even the worst people in the world. (Thank Heavens for me!!)

Prophets Overview

I wasn’t planning on doing a Prophets Overview, just an overview of each Prophet book, but as I started researching I found it so interesting so I thought I would share.  A few years ago I really didn’t know much about the Prophet books so I assumed they were about “predicting the future”.  Well, that is not true.

Prophecy is a message from God, and a Prophet is a person who delivers the message.  There are 17 Prophecy books.  That does not mean there were only 17 Prophets.  Actually,  there have been hundreds. Originally the term prophet was used for military and judicial leadership, for example, Moses and Deborah.  Then it was used by people who heard directly from the Lord, like Samuel.  During the Monarchy they became advisers to the Kings (like Nathan to David), and now have been reading about prophets like Elijah and Obadiah.

So there are 2 Categories of Prophets

  • Major Prophets
  • Minor Prophets.

What is the difference? One is major and the other is minor!  (Just Kidding).  It has NOTHING to do with importance (which I thought) it has to do with SIZE of the book.  The minor books may be short but POWERFUL!  SO don’t get up into Heaven and try to meet the Major Prophets first and snub the Minors.  They are equal in the importance of the message.  God’s word is Sovereign, Supreme, and Ultimate regardless of the length of the message.

The period of the prophets in the recorded books (17 in the Bible) covers about 500 years which were the Dark Ages of God’s Chosen people.  The prophets were men whom God raised up during the dark days of Israel’s history.    The prophet’s job was to deal with moral and religious problems and disobedience.  Sometimes a prophet would speak of the judgment of current sin and sometimes he would speak of the future if that was the message God gave him to speak. The message of the Bible is timeless and just as applicable today as it was the day it was written. (God knew what He was writing) So are these books relevant today??

  • They are the message of God
  • Written through real-life experience
  • Speaks of human nature
  • Addresses sin

Uhhhh I would say Yes!  The Prophecy books take up the same amount of “space” in the Bible as the New Testament.  I would say God thinks of them as pretty important.

So in conclusion, we know the Babylonian Exile  (captivity) is coming up,  so the Prophets can be divided into 3 categories:

  1. Pre-captivity,
  2. during captivity,
  3. and after captivity

We would also divide them as to who the Prophet is addressing.

So the Prophets BEFORE the exile in Chronological order are Obadiah (we just read that), Joel, Jonah (cannot wait for the Big fish Big God story) Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and Jeremiah (not the bullfrog).

The Prophets DURING the exile (or captivity in Babylon) are Ezekiel and Daniel.

The Prophets AFTER the return are Haggai, Zachariah,  and Malachi.

The Prophets were fearless men who denounced the sins of their day. We are judged individually and collectively as a nation.  That’s a scary thought, isn’t it?

If you would like a handout…here you go.  ✅

Posting an overview on Jonah tonight!   Stay tuned,