Character Studies

Lesson 23

JONAH

"And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left--and much livestock?" (Jonah 4:11)

Text: 2 Kgs. 14:23-27; book of Jonah
Name: "Dove"
Places: Joppa, the Great Sea, Nineveh
Contemporaries: Jeroboam II
References: Matt. 12:38-41; 16:4; Lk. 11: 29-32

JONAH'S BACKGROUND
2 Kings 14:23-27; Jonah 1:1
Son of Amittai (2 Kgs. 14:25)
From village of Gath-Hepher in Zebulun (2 Kgs. 14:25; Josh. 19:13)
Served as God's prophet during the reign of Jeroboam II {~780 BC} (2 Kgs. 14:23-27)
He spoke God's word of Israel's victory and expansion of territory (2 Kgs. 14:25-27)

JONAH: MESSENGER OF GOD
Jonah 1-4
Runs from God (Jonah 1)
Runs to God (Jonah 2)
Runs with God (Jonah 3)
Runs ahead of God (Jonah 4)

THEMES FROM THE LIFE AND WORK OF JONAH
Jonah 1-4
God's Sovereignty (over Jonah, over nature, over men and nations)
God's Message (His word has relevance and application over all men)
Man's Repentance (Who needs it and what it is)
God's Mercy (God loves all men and will forgive all who turn to Him)

JONAH AND JESUS
Matt. 12:38-41; 16:4; Lk. 11:29-32
Both were sent by God to preach
The "sign of Jonah"
Jesus is greater than Jonah

LESSONS FOR US
A fervor for God which includes jealousy and revenge is not of God (Rom. 12:11, 19-21)
The universality of divine grace (Rom. 1:16)
National sin demands national repentance (Jonah 3:5-10)
One cannot run away from God (Psa. 139:7-12)
One should never underestimate the power of God's word to change the heart of the vilest of characters (1 Cor. 6:9-11)
The infinite love of God and the selfish coldness of man (Jonah 4)

QUESTIONS
1. Where was Jonah from? (2 Kgs. 14:25; Josh. 19:13) How do you explain John 7:52 in view of this?

2. Of what did Jonah prophesy during the reign of Jeroboam II? (2 Kgs. 14:25-27)

3. Discuss the contrast between Jonah's faith and his lack of faithfulness in Jonah 1:1-12.

4. What did God prepare for Jonah? (Jonah 1:17; Matt. 12:39-41)

5. Describe Jonah's "conversion" in Jonah 2.

6. Where was Nineveh? Over what country did it rule?

7. What message from God did Jonah preach to Nineveh? (Jonah 3:1-4)

8. How did the people of Nineveh respond to Jonah's preaching? Why did they have reason to believe his message would come to pass? (Jonah 3:5; cf. Lk. 11:30)

9. Define repentance using the Ninevites as a model. (Jonah 3:5-10; Lk. 11:32)

10. Why was Jonah displeased and angry over God's decision to not destroy Nineveh? (Jonah 4:1-5)

11. How did God teach Jonah a lesson on mercy? (Jonah 4:6-11)

12. What is among the reasons God offers salvation to us and to all?