We will start by reading 2 Kings 14:25. “In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel began to reign in Samaria, and reigned forty and one years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the LORD God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gathhepher.” Gathhepher was a city in Galilee.
This is the only other reference to Jonah in the Old Testament. It shows that he preached some 860 years before the Saviour’s birth at approximately the same time as Elisha the prophet.Let us come to today’s study.
I. THE MESSAGE JONAH WAS REQUIRED TO PROCLAIM WAS ONE OF GRACE
1. The mission was initiated by the Lord.
There came no pleas from Nineveh seeking mercy nor were there strong pleadings from Jonah for mercy! Rom 5:8; Ezekiel 16:1-14. How different was Christ, Luke 19:41-42. And Paul, Romans 9:1-3, 10:1.
2. Nineveh was a most unworthy place.
It was a great city of great sin! Cities are notoriously wicked. Its stench arose to heaven.
3. Jonah was to preach mercy.
A warning was to be given to Nineveh!, 3:4! That is why he ran! He could not understand why the Lord should act in grace toward such a wicked people whose very existence was a threat to Israel.
II. WICKEDNESS IS REBELLION AGAINST GOD
That is made plain here.
1. Sin is a defying of God.
Nineveh’s sin had come up aggressively before God’s throne, verse 2. Like the devil, Isaiah 14:12-14, sin ascends to His throne and would sit upon it!
2. Sin would challenge God’s position.
It would dethrone God and initiate its regime. Sinful man’s ambition centres upon this and it explains the wickedness of this day, 2 Thess 2:3-4.
3. It is a provocation to God.
It would flaunt itself before God. That cannot be allowed to continue! Nineveh’s sins were about to bring God’s judgment upon its head but first — mercy is offered.
III. A PROPHET MUST CONFRONT GOD’S ENEMIES
1. Jonah was to go to Nineveh.
“Arise, go to Nineveh”, verse 2.
2. He must go alone.
Christ, Isa 63:1-3, Matt 26:56. David, Ps 31:11-13. Paul, 2 Tim 1:15, 4:10, 16.
3. He was to cry out.
The word means “accost”. The word carries the meaning of challenging, laying hold of! “And Absalom met (same word) the servants of David,” 2 Samuel 18:9. He was challenging David for the throne!
The ministry of God’s servant must at times be aggressive. “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins,” Isaiah 58:1. “But truly I am full of power (force) by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin,” Micah 3:8.