Dave Burnette's Commentary

Jonah Chapter 1

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Jonah
Date Penned: BC 785-760
Overview: Jonah's calling shows God's Sovereignty (c 1-4)
Theme: Jonah Forsakes His Mission (c 1-2)
Message: Jonah Runs Away from God (v 1-17)

Jonah: Chapter 1 Commentary
(1:1-2) Jonah is mentioned in 2 Kings 14 He prophesied during the reign of Jeroboam II the king of Israel from 793-753 BC He may have been one of the young prophets of the school mentioned in connection with Elisha's ministry (2 Kings 2) God called Jonah to preach to Nineveh the most important city in Assyria, the rising world power of Jonah's day, within 50 years, Nineveh would become the capital of the vast Assyrian Empire, Jonah doesn't say much about Nineveh's wickedness, but the prophet Nahum gives us more insight. He says that Nineveh was guilty of (1) Evil plots against God (Nahum 1) (2) exploitation of the Helpless (Nahum 1) (3) cruelty in war (Nahum 2) (4) idolatry, prostitution, and witchcraft (Nahum 3) God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, about 500 miles northeast of Israel, to warn of judgement and to declare that the people could receive mercy and forgiveness if they repented.

(1:3) Nineveh was a powerful and wicked city, Jonah grew up hating the Assyrians and fearing their wickedness. His hatred was so strong that he didn't want them to receive God's Mercy, Jonah was actually afraid the people would repent. Jonah's attitude is representative of Israel's reluctance to share God's love and mercy with others, even though this was their God given mission (Genesis 12) They, like Jonah, did not want non-Jews (Gentiles) to obtain God's Favor. Jonah was afraid, He knew God had a specific job from him, but he didn't want to do it. When God gives us directions through his Word, sometimes we run in fear, claiming that God is asking too much. Fear made Jonah rud. But running got him into worse trouble, In the end, he understood it is best to do what God asks in the first place. But by then he had paid a costly price for running, It is far better to obey from the start.

(1:4) Before settling in the Promised Land, the Israelites had been a nomadic people. They wandered from place to place, seeking good pastureland for their flocks. Although they were not seafaring people, their location along the Mediterranean Sea and near the neighboring maritime power of Phoenicia and Philistia allowed much contact with ships and sailors. The ship Jonah sailed on was probably a large trading vessel with a deck. Jonah's disobedience to God endangered the lives of the ship's crew. We have a great responsibility to obey God's Word because our sin and disobedience can hurt others around us.

(1:5) While the storm raged, Jonah was sound asleep in the ship's hold. Even as he ran from God. he apparently didn't have a guilty conscience. But the absence of guilt isn't always a barometer of whether we are doing right, Because we can deny reality, we cannot measure obedience by our feelings. Instead, we must compare what we do with God's standards for living. 

(1:7) The crew cast lots (like drawing straws) to find the guility person, relying of their superstitions to give them the answer. Their sys tem worked, but only because God intervened to let Jonah know he couldn't run from him.

(1:9-11) You cannot seek God's love and run from him at the same time, Honah soon realizes that no matter where he went, he couldn't get away from God. But before Jonah could return to God. he first had to stop running away from him. What has God told you to do? If you want more of God's love and power, you must be willing to carry out the responsibilities he gives you. You cannot say that you truly believe in God if you don't do what he says.

(1:12) Jonah knew he had disobeyed and that the storm was his fault, but he didn't say anything until the crew cast lots and the lot fell to him (1:7) Then he was willing to give his life to save the sailors (although he had refused to do the same for the people of Nineveh) Jonah's hatred for the Assyrians had affected his perspective.

(1:13) By trying to save Jonah's life, the heathen sailors showed more compassion than Jonah did. Jonah did not want to warn the people of Nineveh of the coming judgement of God. Believers should be ashamed when unbelievers show more concern and compassion than they do . God wants us to be concerned about all his people, lost and saved.

(1-14-16) Jonah had disobeyed God. While he was running away , he stopped and submitted to God. Then the ship's crew began to worship God because they sas the storm quiet down. God is able to use even our mistakes to help others come to know him. It may be painful, but admitting our sins can be a powerful example to those who don't know God. How ironic that the pagan sailors did what the entire nation of Israel would not do, the prayer to God and vowed to serve him.

(1:17) Many have tried to dismiss this miraculous event as fiction, but the Bible does not describe it as a dream or a legend. It was a true event that happened as it is described in this chapter. We serve a real God that still does miracles, is able to go to great lengths to reach the lost and is able to save the vilest sinner if they will simply call upon the name of the Lord..

Dave Burnette's Life Application

God's Correcting Hand

 Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we start the book of Jonah with Chapter 1. In our text today we see the familuar story of Jonah who ran from God and found himself in the belly of a fish. In making application we see how the Lord has a plan a pourpse for our lives and we need to follow His plan lest we too find ourselves at the end of the correcting hand of God. How about you? Are you following the Lord's calling in your life? Let us learn from our text today and the life of Jonah to see that we need to follow the Lord's instruction for our lives lest we too find ourselves at the correcting hand of God.


Jonah 1

Jonah 1

 1Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,

 2Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

 3But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

 4But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.

 5Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.

 6So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.

 7And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.

 8Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?

 9And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.

 10Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.

 11Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.

 12And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.

 13Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.

 14Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee.

 15So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.

 16Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.

 17Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.