Introducing the Prophets: God's Mercy to all Nations (Jonah) Intro: Not generally difficult to understand but to face. "It ain't those parts of the Bible that I don't understand that bother me, it's the parts that I do understand" (Mark Twain). Yet see Ps 30:5-7, cf. 1Co 10:11.
Exposition 1. The disobedient prophet (ch1) 2Ki 14:23-27
2. God's mercy to the prophet (ch2) Sinful, undeserving Jonah at hour of judgment crying out to the Lord & finding not judgment, but deliverance & blessing.
3. The obedient prophet (3:1-5) God brings Jonah from disobedience to obedience through judgment & mercy.
Application: How to understand prophecy, or What you don't know. 1. What King of Assyria knows that you don't: Who knows? (3:5-10) Jer 18:7-11, see 1Ki 21:29
2. What Jonah knows that you don't: God intends mercy through a message of judgment (4:1-2) Jonah from the first understands purpose of message of judgment. This is how God will show them mercy. It's through God's messages of judgment that God's mercy is going to be known by the whole world (see Mt 12:41).
3. What God knows that you don't: Salvation of the world is much more important to God than to God's people (4:4-11) Not a story about a big fish, but about bringing God's people to embrace God's compassion & purpose for the nations. See "sign of the prophet Jonah" (Mt 12:39-41).
God's people want blessings & comforts; no judgment & forgiveness when they disobey. When other people hurt us & mistreat us, we want them to get what they deserve. We want to be comfortable while we sit & watch the world perish in judgment. But that's not God's heart. And this is why God sends us prophets.