Bible Book of the Month


Lesson # 4

"Jonah Running Ahead of God"

     Text:  Jonah Chapter 4:1-11
    What prophet ever had more success, yet was so upset about it!

     4:2    Jonah's motive for fleeing.  (Jonah knew God.)

     4:5    When did Jonah go out?  At the end of 40 days or before

         It must have hurt Jonah to see Nineveh repenting when his own
              people would not.  But it becomes a lesson to them, God
              would spare them if they would repent like the city of Nineveh. 
              My, what a powerful sermon Jonah would now be able to
              preach to Israel!

     4:6    Palm crist tree -- grows very rapidly.

     4:7    God uses visual aids with Jonah.  Most prophets made such
                 use of teaching aids, now God employs them with His

     4:11   The population of innocent children in Nineveh is estimated at
                 120,000.  God cares for the cattle also.
         What attitude should Christians have toward animals?

         (Note: Psalms 50:10, 11; 104:10-14;  145:15,16;  Job 38:39-41;
          Exodus 23:4,5;  Deut. 22:1-4; 22:6,7;  25:4;  I Cor. 9:9,10 
          *Proverbs 12:10).

         The book ends with the reader left to draw the conclusion and
              application himself.

         If Jonah is the author, we see the book as a remarkable humble
              confession, and we see him indeed a saint.  Jonah's sin was
              great, but so was his repentance, the book reveals this.  The
              existence of the book itself, written by Jonah, is evident that he
              learned an important lesson about God's love for all sinners,
              and that when sinners repent and turn to God, He will spare
              them.  Jonah now has a powerful sermon to preach to Israel.

         [In Assyrian history, we learn that about this time Adad-Nirari
              III made reforms in Nineveh and made attempts to get the
              nation to worship one God.  Jonah's influence must have been
              profound and for two rulers following Adad, Israel is left alone. 
              During the following years Israel is able to recover lost
              territory and her economy reaches its greatest heights since
              Solomon, all this under Jeroboam II and Jonah.]
          Questions on Chapter Four

     1.  How did Jonah receive the news of God's decision to show mercy
              to Nineveh?
     2.  What did Jonah do?
     3.  What did God then do?
     4.  What did the worm do to the gourd?
     5.  When the east wind rose, what request did Jonah make?
     6.  What is the lesson God was teaching Jonah by all this? 
	 (See  4:10ff)
     7.  What does the story of Jonah teach us about God's love?
     8.  How many miracles did you notice in the book of Jonah?
     9.  How many people inhabited Nineveh? 
                                                              -- Windell Gann
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