Today we are going to look at how God worked in Jonah’s life. God interacted with Jonah in many different ways. God is Sovereign and in control of everything. He has a plan for our lives. He has things for us to do. He speaks to us and guides us in ways we sometimes do not realize. In the Book of Jonah we can see clearly how God interacted with Jonah.
Jonah was called by God to go and preach to the people in a city called Ninevah. Ninevah exists today in the country of Iraq. God spoke to Jonah around the year 740 BC while Assyria was the dominant power.
In verse 1 of chapter 1, God begins His actions with Jonah and we read: “The Lord gave this message to Jonah.” It is a simple action. God speaks to Jonah. And God speaks to us today, through His Word and through His Holy Spirit. He tells us what it is He wants us to do.
Jonah disobeys God and gets on a ship heading away from Ninevah. God acts again in Jonah’s life. We read in verse 4 of chapter 1: “But the Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart.”
God can cause natural disasters, or anything else that He wants to, in order to guide our lives. God is always working things out for our good. So even this storm sent into Jonah’s life was meant for his good.
Jonah is thrown overboard by the other sailors to save the ship. In verse 15 we read that the storm stopped at once. God acts and now calms the storm. But Jonah is in the sea. No problem. In verse 17 we read: “Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah.”
Jonah cries out to God and repents of his sins. He is now ready to go and do what God told him to do. In chapter 2 verse 10 we read: “Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.” God is again at work, guiding and directing the life of Jonah. And God is doing the same for you and me.
In chapter 3 verse 1 we read: “Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time. Get up and go to the great city of Ninevah and deliver the message I have given you.” Jonah goes and preaches to the people. The people of Ninevah stop their violent ways and start worshipping God.
In chapter 3 verse 10 we see the God changes His mind about destroying Ninevah. God was going to destroy them but because they stopped sinning and turned to God, God did not destroy them.
Jonah was upset that the Ninevites were not killed by God. For some reason Jonah wanted them to die. Jonah was angry and went to sit on a hill to see what would happen to Ninevah. While he was on the hill it was very hot. In chapter 4 verse 6 we read: “God arranged for a leafy plant to grow” so that it would give Jonah some shade. But the next day, in verse 7, God arranged for a worm to eat through “the stem of the plant so that it withered away.” Of course Jonah was angry that the plant died.
God ends his interaction with Jonah by giving him a spiritual teaching. We read this in chapter 4 verses 9 to 11:
“Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?”
“Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!”
Then the Lord said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?”