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John Brown :: Jonah 3

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A. In our last study of Jonah we limited ourselves to chapter 3 verses 1-2 (NASB) Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you."

1. And we expounded the wonderful virtues of the Lord as a God of second chances.

2. And I think we would all agree that He has been more than loving and patient with us all.

a) And without His grace and mercy none of us could stand before Him with any righteousness.

B. This morning we will continue with chapter 3 and see what happens when Jonah arrives in the city of Nineveh.

1. I would like to point out that the entire city turns to the Lord and this is long before the "official church" gets there.

2. There will also be another great revival. It will be on a grander scale than any other and it will occur after the church has been raptured.

a) I think this proves to us that the Lord is not dependant upon the church!

b) The church can be a powerful force, but often it just sits around waiting for something great to happen and expecting someone else to do it.

(1) But the Lord will still get His will and His work done through the Jonah's, and the Peter's and the Paul's - with or without the church!

II. JONA 3:1-2 (NASB) Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which i am going to tell you."

A. The Lord told Jonah that Nineveh was a "great city" before in Jonah 1:2.

1. To give you an idea of the scope of this evangelical outreach, I will read the last verse in chapter 4 "And 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?"

2. That is over ½ half of the city of Glendale (AZ) - that gets right with the Lord!

a) There is no "program" - no "entertainment" - no "radio spots" and no "flyers", yet the Lord accomplishes his will!

(1) And here is a beautiful example of His grace - He uses a man that has already failed him once to get this accomplished!

3. It is important to point out that Nineveh proper (that is the actual city) was not big enough to hold this many people.

a) But there were 2 other cities close by (Calah and Khorsabad) of which Nineveh was the capital.

b) So, these 120,000 people included those cities in this same valley along the Tigris and Upper Zab Rivers.

III. JONA 3:3 (NASB) So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three days' walk.

A. The "great fish" seems to have made a "whale" of a difference in Jonah's life because we now see him doing things according to the word of the Lord.

IV. JONA 3:4 (NASB) Then Jonah began to go through the city one day's walk; and he cried out and said, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown."

A. Jonah walks and Jonah preaches - to whomever will listen.

1. Just a personal opinion here but I think his experience inside the great fish was definitely an attraction as was most likely his looks that backed up the experience.

a) I think people were willing to listen to a man that had come back "from the dead" so to speak.

b) I would also guess that Jonah liked this part of the message - the "turn or burn" part - because remember, he didn't like the Ninevites in the first place!

(1) But, he was still a man of "little faith" because I don't think he expected what came next.

V. JONA 3:5 (NASB) Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.

A. The people of Nineveh believed in God!

1. Hebr 11:6 (NASB) And without faith it is impossible to please [Him], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and [that] He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

a) All the Lord has ever asked is that we believe in Him, by faith - and that is what the Ninevites did.

(1) And genuine faith is demonstrated in action as James tells us James 2:18-20 (NASB) But someone may [well] say, "You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works." 19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?

VI. JONA 3:6-8 (NASB) When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered [himself] with sackcloth, and sat on the ashes. 7 And he issued a proclamation and it said, "In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. 8 "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.

A. What a wonderful example of true repentance the king of Nineveh was!

1. He didn't let his pride or his position get in the way. Just the opposite, he used it for the Lord's glory!

2. By example he led the way and urged every person in Nineveh to call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands.

a) I wonder what the reaction would be in America if this was the response of our president?

(1) Would there be mass repentance or mass retaliation?

(2) I think we have seen from these last too presidents, that the public is much more tolerant with a womanizing, "public", lost president - than one with a relationship with the Lord!

(3) But the King of Nineveh didn't let the majority's "opinion" stop him from doing what was right.

VII. JONA 3:9-10 (NASB) "Who knows, God may turn and relent, and withdraw His burning anger so that we shall not perish?" 10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do [it.]

A. Many texts say that the Lord "repented" concerning what He had planned for Nineveh if they did not turn their hearts to Him.

1. To repent means to "change your mind" to see things they way the Lord does, but since He is God and know the end from the beginning, He doesn't need to "change His mind to see things the way the Lord does."

a) What this does mean it that because of the cities' repentance, He did not need to carry out what was planned.

b) It is more of a fulfillment of His ultimate desire for Nineveh than a change of mind.

B. Now, for most people involved in the Lord's work - this would be a dream come true!

1. 120,000 people get saved - an entire region, as a result of one man's work - Jonah.

2. Most of us would be thrilled to be used by the Lord in this way, but not Jonah.

a) Remember - Jonah had a deep hatred for the Ninevites and I think his reaction shows us that even though he was doing what the Lord asked of him, he was secretly hoping that the Ninevites would NOT turn to the Lord - because he did not want them saved!

(1) Look at his reaction:


A. Jona 4:1 (NASB) But it greatly displeased Jonah, and he became angry.

1. Jonah didn't just get angry - he was angry with the Lord. So much so that is verse 3 of chapter 4, he asks the Lord to kill him!

a) But that is a subject for next week's study.


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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