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Hey everyone I’m Gary Hoban and welcome to Refinery Life Australia.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 

Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 

And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. 

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

The Old Testament prophets were primarily forth tellers rather than foretellers.

They communicated the message of God to the needs of the day.

“Listen to the Major messages of the Minor Prophets’ is the title of the series we will be working through for the next few weeks.

Today we are talking about Jonah, The God Revealed to Jonah.


Jonah 4:2 NKJV

2 So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.

Scripture Reading

Jonah 4:1-11 NKJV

Jonah’s Anger and God’s Kindness

1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. 

2 So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. 

3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”

4 Then the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

5 So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city. 

6 And the Lord God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant. 

7 But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered. 

8 And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”

9 Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”

And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!”

10 But the Lord said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. 

11 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?”


In Jesus name we pray.



The book of Jonah is written like a short story, it is wonderfully told and rich in revealed truth.

This prophecy can be seen as a drama.

We might call part one “A prophet of rebellion”.

Called to go to Nineveh, the capital of the Syrian Empire, Jonah headed for Tarshish, a Phoenician town on the southwest coast of Spain, as far from Nineveh as he could go.

When a violent storm at sea made it obvious to the superstitious sailors that someone on board had offended some god, Jonah was found to be the culprit.

At his suggestion, the sailors, against their will, were persuaded to throw him overboard.

There Jonah was swallowed by a “great fish.”

Disobedience is redeemed by self sacrifice.

Part two we could call, “A Prophet Rescued”.

Jonah prayed to God from inside the great fish.

His prayer was later written down in a beautiful Psalm that makes up chapter 2.

God graciously heard his prayer, and commanded the fish in Jonah 2:10, So the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Part three we could call “A Prophet in Revival.”

This time when God called, Jonah went to Nineveh and preached God’s impending judgement on the wickedness of the imperial city.

The result was tremendous.

The whole city repented.

Fasting and sackcloth were the order of the day, and God then decided to spare the city.

Part four could be called “A Prophet’s Petulance.

Jonah’s preaching had been embarrassingly successful.

He was indignant.

Personally he had hoped to see a wholesale holocaust at the divine hand.

In chapter 4 God explained to Jonah why He spared the city.

He pointed out that mercy is a quality of God.

Jonah indicated that he knew this but personally he was not for it, preferring death, even his own, to such an exhibition of divine forgiveness.

The prophet Jonah is not the hero of this story.

He is rather the villain of it.

God is the hero.

The author’s theology echoes John 3:16, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

God of course loved Jerusalem, but He also loved the wicked Nineveh .

We have a great and merciful God and it is shown in this book.

What are the characteristics of the God revealed to Jonah?

  1. The God revealed to Jonah is a God of universal love.

God loves all people.

The book closes with some painful questions that God asked His loveless prophet.

With soft but pointed sarcasm, God asked Jonah, In Jonah 4:4, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

The same question is asked about the vine that the worm destroyed.

The climax, however, is this, Jonah 4:11, “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 was a bigot, selfish and arrogant, the God revealed to him was gracious in love, overflowed in mercy, loving everyone.

Religious people like Jonah put Jesus to death on the cross.

Our Lord taught people about a God of universal love.

God had a place in His love for the despised Samaritans, for an officer in the occupying Roman army, and for the people of the land of Palestine who could not or could not keep the Jewish law.

Had you asked Jesus why He loved these people, He doubtless would have replied, “Because God loves them.”

The spirit of the Great Commission, saturates the book of Jonah.

Through the message of this inspired book, God was seeking to reveal the universal scope of His love to Israel.

2. The God revealed to Jonah is sovereign.

God is sovereign in His claims.

Without explanation Jonah 1:1-2 says, Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.”

The God revealed to Jonah laid the claim of divine ownership upon Jonah’s person, his time, and his talents, that he might communicate God’s message to the people of Nineveh.

Any person trying to get away from God will always find someone else going in his direction, just as Jonah did.

There is sure to be a ship sailing to Tarshish on which the runaway can book a ticket.

So many people come across our paths that say they are being called b God to preach, or be a prophet, or cast out demons and that they are going to surrender to that call.

Soon after they start running in the opposite direction.

Often years after you see them rededicating their life after realising they still don’t know where Nineveh is but they do know the way to Tarshish.

God is sovereign in His complete control of things.

The book of Jonah is filled with evidence of this truth.

It was God who sent the mighty storm to intercept Jonah.

It was God who prepared the great fish that swallowed this disobedient prophet.

Jesus did not regard this as a joke, for He used it to illustrate His own resurrection, Matthew 12:40 says, For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

It was God who directed the fish to vomit Jonah out on dry land.

It was God who gave Jonah success in his preaching in Nineveh.

Jesus also used this illustration, Matthew 12:41, “The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.”

It was God who prepared the gourd vine, and it was God who prepared the worm to destroy it.

It was God who prepared the sultry east wind to beat upon Jonah’s head.

God is in control!

3. The God revealed to Jonah disciplines His own.

God repudiated absolutely Jonah’s right to flee to Tarshish.

He set a great storm across his path to hinder his selfish purpose.

He put Jonah is such a position that he was willing for his body to be used in preaching to Nineveh, though his heart was not in it and his spirit was wrong.

The New Testament teaches that of whom the Lord loves, He chastens.

The writer of Hebrews told us, Hebrews 12:7, If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?

The writer adds  in Hebrews 12:11, Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

We can be certain of the chastening hand of God upon us if we are disobedient in Jonah fashion at the point of communicating His message t others.

4. The God revealed to Jonah gives a second chance.

There is a thrilling word here, Jonah 3:1-2, Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.”

Notice the writer’s words.

He said, “the second time.”

There can be no doubt.

The Scriptures teach the gospel of the second chance.

The God revealed to Jonah did not utterly cast him off because of his disobedience but came to him in love and grace, offering him another opportunity to serve.

And how he served!

The main city of the heathen world was startled by his voice proclaiming its overthrow, Jonah 3:4, And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”

All Nineveh repented at the first summons.

God never gives up on us.

In Luke 15 Jesus described the shepherd hunting all over the mountainside for the hundredth sheep.

He was unwilling to give up until he had found it.

Jesus portrayed the house wife continuing her search in every crevice of the house until the lost coin was found.

He pictured the father of the prodigal son keeping watch until the figure of his disillusioned son appeared on the horizon.

Thank God for the gospel of the second chance!

5. Above all, the God revealed to Jonah eager and willing to serve.

Jonah knew that God was merciful and willing to forgive.

The reason he disobeyed and fled to Tarshish was the fear that his preaching would be effective!

“Now look what you’ve done!” He growled at God.

“You did forgive them, and this makes me mad enough to die!”

Jonah’s problem was with God using him he had success, he didn’t want to, and it made him angry!

In its own context, the message of Jonah strikes at the narrow nationalist spirit of religious exclusiveness that characterised the Jewish people after the exile.

This spirit, vividly portrayed by Jonah, is severely criticised by the overall impact of the book.

God is eager and willing to save all people. 


The book of Jonah is also for our times.

The book ends abruptly, leaving Jonah angry out there on a hill above Nineveh, with his blistered bald head and his withered gourd vine.

Why doesn’t the book tell us what this prophet did or what became of him?

That problem was not the writer’s, it is the reader’s problem.

The problem is ours, yours and mine.

The question is, Are we willing to face the embarrassment of real religion?

Are we willing to allow the battle for spiritual values to be a real war within ourself?

If not, what then?

Until next time

Stay in the Blessings

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

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When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

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Gary Hoban

Refinery Life Church Australia

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