When We Lack God's Heart for the Lost
The Book of Jonah
Pastor Ron Johnson
While the book of Jonah is a prophetic book, it's actually very different than the others in Scripture and contains the only account of a prophet of God being sent to a foreign land to deliver His message to the people.
In some ways, the story is a bit of a rebuke against the nation of Israel who had become so ____________ and ___________ that they ceased to have any compassion at all toward Gentile nations.
Jesus made it very clear that the events contained within the book of Jonah were historically true (Matt 12:39-41).
While the prophet or perhaps even great fish may be the first things that come to your mind when you think of the book, it's important to grasp that the ________ of the story is God.
Pay close attention to Jonah's attitude toward the people who were lost and we'll see that if we're not careful, it's possible to know God and still not have his heart toward the lost.
1:1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it,
for their evil has come up before me.” Notice God's reason for sending Jonah to call out against Nineveh or to go
and tell them to repent (end of v 2). It was because their EVIL had come up before Him.
And just as we saw last week that God's not __________ to save evil people (even tax collectors and sinners), He actually has chosen to be ____________ in pursuing them because He's a ___________.
Unfortunately, Jonah didn't feel the same way and when His God called him to go Northeast to Nineveh, he chose to flee West to Tarshish to flee from the presence of the Lord.
Eventually the men figure out that Jonah, a prophet of God, really was the problem and that he was "fleeing from the presence of God" so Jonah volunteers to be cast into the sea.
15 So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging.
16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.
Apparently, the men on the ship actually _______ Jonah's God more than he did at this point, but Chapter 1 ends with this simple, yet profound statement... And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
See Chapter 2 for Jonah’s prayer that ends with the proclamation “Salvation belongs to the Lord! (v 9)”
Shortly after, the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land. We see God’s absolute sovereignty on display throughout the entire book of Jonah.
Consider the following verses (1:4, 17; 2:10; 4:6, 7, 8 ).
As chapter 3 opens... God calls Jonah to go a second time saying... 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.”
So Jonah called out “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
The people’s response:
Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, 8 but let man and beast be
covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.
9 Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”
10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he
would do to them, and he did not do it.
Make no mistake! What happened here was an act of God and I want you to know that it's ____________ with the __________of our Father who __________ when the __________ are ___________.
Somehow Jonah had received God's pardon, but didn't want the Ninevites to.
Sadly, Jonah isn't even able to be happy about the miraculous response to his preaching because he really didn't want to see God spare Nineveh. In fact, he believed that God probably would spare them and that's why he didn't want to embrace God's call.
God shows Jonah he actually had more concern for a plant than he did for hundreds of thousand who would perish without knowing God.
Prompts for Personal Reflection / Application
Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law.
1) What do you appreciate most about the book of Jonah?
2) What do the following verses tell us about our God (Jonah 1:6, 15-16; 2:2; 3:10; 4:2, 6, 10-11)?
3) How does it make you feel to see that even a prophet of God can lose his desire to see lost people be found? Is this something you can relate to? Why or why not?
4) Did God speak to your heart in any way through the book of Jonah today? Is there anything you believe He'd like you to do with what you heard?
5) Are you willing to be used of God to take His message to people who don't know Him? Name a few people that you'd like to see come to know Jesus and pray for them with your group before you leave today.