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Jonah-Detailed Outline
A. Jonah's Flight
Jonah 1:1-3 Jonah’s call is given. God commanded Jonah to preach against Nineveh because of its wickedness. Jonah ran in the opposite direction. Boarded a ship to Tarshish. Attempted to “flee from the Lord”.
Jonah 1:4-6 The great storm. God whipped up a great wind. Sailors were terrified; Jonah was asleep below deck. Sailors threw cargo into the sea to lighten their load. Captain woke Jonah to ask for help in praying.
Jonah 1:7-12 Casting of lots…fell on Jonah. Failure of God to answer prayer resulted in casting lots to determine fault. Lot fell on Jonah. Battery of questions accused Jonah of responsibility for calamity. Jonah confessed what he had done. Now sailors really were terrified. Asked Jonah to help them find solution. Jonah took responsibility, offering to be thrown overboard to save them.
Jonah 1:13-16 Sailors convert to the Lord. Initially sailors tried to return to land, but could not. Asked for forgiveness from the Lord for what they were about to do. Then they threw Jonah overboard; it was their last resort. The sea grew calm; sailors offered sacrifices.
Jonah 1:17 God’s control over events. A fish swallowed Jonah – protected him from the sea. He remained in the fish for three days and nights. (No additional information is given, either about the fish or how he survived inside its belly for three days).
B. Jonah's Prayer
Jonah 2:1-9 Jonah’s prayer. A psalm of thanksgiving…for being saved by the great fish is seen. He deserved death for disobedience; instead he was delivered. He realized his dependence upon God for his very being.
Jonah 2:10 The Lord speaks to the fish. Fish vomited Jonah out onto dry land. (Remember how hard the sailors had tried to get to dry land? Fish did it with ease).
C. Jonah's Preaching
Jonah 3:1-4 God repeated his command to go to Nineveh. Jonah had a second chance to fulfill God’s command. Chastened, he “got up and went”. It took him three days to walk through the city. He prophesied that in 40 days the city would be “overturned”. It was a prophesy of total destruction (same word used for Sodom and Gomorrah).
Jonah 3:5-9 Nineveh’s repentance. Entire city believed Jonah. King decreed that all were to fast and repent for their sins. All were to cover themselves with sackcloth and refrain from food and water (including the cattle and flocks). They were to beg for God’s divine forgiveness.
Jonah 3:10 A merciful God. When God saw how they repented of their evil, he did not destroy them.
This was an act of undeserved mercy. Shows God’s sovereignty over all (not just his chosen people).
D. Jonah's Displeasure
Jonah 4:1-4 Jonah’s wrath. Jonah was very angry over this turn of events. Prayed that God would take his life, since it “is better for me to die than to live”. Did this impugn his integrity as a prophet? Or was he just jealous that God might love the people of Nineveh too? Having experienced God’s grace, it was hard for him to see it extended to others as well.
Jonah 4:6-9 God has pity upon Jonah. Jonah went outside the city to (hopefully) wait for its destruction. God caused a plant to grow to provide shade for him. Jonah was happy. The next day, God caused a worm to destroy the plant. Jonah again asked to die. God asked if it was worth dying over a dead plant. Without hesitation, Jonah said “yes”.
Jonah 4:10-11 The moral of the story. Jonah was angry with God for not destroying an entire city. Then he was angry because one plant had been destroyed (of course, the plant affected him personally; the inhabitants of the city did not). God continued to be tender, patient with Jonah. If God cared for one plant, cattle, should he not also care for humans? God’s question: “Should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people…and cattle…?”

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