Jonah 4:5-11 (The Law and Grace – An Object Lesson)

Jonah 4:5-11
The Law and Grace – An Object Lesson

Last week, as we closed out the sermon in verse 4, I noted that out of more than twenty translations which I check for each sermon, one read differently in that verse from all the others. Most versions are exceedingly similar to that of the NKJV which said, “Is it right for you to be angry?” Only Young’s correctly translated it as, “Is doing good displeasing to thee?” The verb is active, not passive.

The same sentiment is found in verse 9 which is tied directly into the death of the plant that was made by the Lord. While discussing this verse with Sergio, he said, “It doesn’t seem to make sense. How could it be good to destroy something the Lord had just made?” His question immediately resolved the enigma of Jonah 4 for me, and thus the intent of the whole book.

I spent that entire night laying on the couch and thinking through chapter 4, verse by verse and word by word. The next day, I called Sergio back, we talked, and I asked him to read verses 5 and 6 and see what problem might be perceived in them. He read them out loud as I listened, and then he said, “I never noticed that before.” He had made the realization that there is a seemingly contradictory thought in them. I needed to tell him nothing.

From there, I simply asked a few questions, not intending to reveal the mystery, but to see if he could figure it out on his own. If he could, then my thoughts would be confirmed. He did, and they are. His face lit up, and he said, “This is amaaaazing” the way that only Sergio can. Today, you are going to hear a completely different translation of several key verses than you have probably read before, but they are in line with the Hebrew. Why is this so?

Text Verse: A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
To understand a proverb and an enigma,
The words of the wise and their riddles.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:5-7

A man of understanding will attain wise counsel, to understand a proverb and an enigma, I often seek Sergio’s wise counsel. He understands Hebrew far better than I, and he has valuable insights into many things.

But the question for us today is, “Why has this passage not been evaluated before as we will evaluate it today?” Well, there are a few reasons. First, translators translate passages with the intent of them making sense. A translation that makes no sense… well, it makes no sense. Translators are not always commentary scholars.

Scholars on the other hand look for facts, figures, and details, and will often override translators through a process of explanation, but not normally through a process of translation. What they say may take pages to explain a single verse that translators are limited to. However, what they say must make sense or it is just vain rambling. And there is a lot of that among scholars.

In the case of Robert Young, his translation is correct, but it makes no sense, and so it has been overlooked. It doesn’t explain anything, and it doesn’t even clear up anything. It complicates things. Despite his accurate translation, he does nothing with the rest of the passage, and so the enigma remained.

And finally, there are presuppositions as to what is being said. Concerning verse 11, the final verse of the chapter and the book, there are biases by Jewish commentators which have to be overlooked, and then there are presuppositions about what is being said that have to be ignored.

And so, unlike a translator who is looking to make quick, clear sense out of something maybe cumbersome, and unlike a scholar who is trying to give facts, figures, and historically relevant commentary, and unlike those with biases or presuppositions, there is a fourth group. It is those who use translations as far as they can be used, and who ponder the words of scholars for background information, and then they add in a final element.

This element is the key to all of Scripture; it is “How does this point to Jesus and what He is doing in redemptive history?” Jesus told us that He is what Scripture speaks of, and therefore Jonah chapter 4 is included in that.

And so in order to understand what this chapter is saying, we have to step out of a comfortable translation, and go beyond the logic of scholars. Biases and presuppositions also need to be quashed. We have to look for the key; we must look for Christ. This is how to understand an enigma.

Chapter 4 of Jonah has been so misunderstood, because people have inserted their presuppositions into the text. Because of this, it is a book which ends in a seemingly odd way. Many people say it ends anticlimactically. The Lord goes into great detail preparing object lessons for Jonah, and these object lessons have been misunderstood, leaving the chapter ending with one impression when a completely different one is intended.

I am thankful to Robert Young for having the integrity to translate several verses without presuppositions. And, I am grateful to Sergio for being Sergio. I am blessed that there is someone who also likes to think outside the box. He has helped confirm the intent of many other passages we have looked at together over these past six years. Wonderful things are to be searched out in the Lord’s superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. Jonah’s Object Lesson (verses 5-11)

So Jonah went out of the city

va’yetse yonah min ha’ir – “And went Jonah from the city.” With his prayer complete, with his petition made, and with the question from the Lord now asked, Jonah departs from the city. He has accomplished his mission, even if it was unwillingly. And he went out of the city to see how the Lord would act upon the prophetic utterance he made. The Lord’s question to Jonah was, “Is doing good a reason for you to be furious?”

This leaves just one possibility – Nineveh will be spared. But he does not leave the area and head back to Israel. His hope is that Nineveh will not be spared, and that only he, a picture of the people of Israel, will alone share in the blessings of Yehovah.

5 (con’t) and sat on the east side of the city.

va’yeshev mi’qedem la’ir – “…and sat on east to city.” There is an importance in identifying the east side of the city. If there wasn’t, it would simply say, “…and sat outside the city.” North, south, east, or west – what difference does it make? However, the east is specified. Jonah willingly goes to the east side.

The word is qedem. It is the place of exile, as in the exile from Eden. It is the place of wandering and the place of disobedience to God, as in the time of Cain and in the building of the Tower of Babel. It is the place where destruction comes from, as in the east wind which brought in the withering drought upon Egypt during Joseph’s time, and the plague of locusts during Moses’ time.

It is also the front, or absolute forepart of a place, as in the entrance to the tabernacle. And, it is the time before, the past times, the ancient times as known to the Lord, such as in the prophecy to the King of Assyria in 2 Kings 19. In Habakkuk 1, the prophets asks –

Are You not from everlasting (mi’qedem),
O Lord my God, my Holy One?” Habakkuk 1:12

The richness of the word qedem, or “east” in Scripture concerns a study of no minor significance, and the word calls out for thought concerning Jonah’s place of sitting.

5 (con’t) There he made himself a shelter

va’yaas lo sham sukkah – “…and made to there tabernacle.” The people of Israel are famous builders of tabernacles, because they were instructed to build them annually during their feast of Sukkoth, or “Tabernacles.” The sukkah is a place of shelter and protection. It can be for livestock, people, or even metaphorically of the sukkah of the Lord in the heavens. Jonah built one for himself there, outside of Nineveh.

5 (con’t) and sat under it in the shade,

v’yeshev takh-teiha ba’tsel – “…and sat under its protection.” Sitting implies abiding and being set. There in his sukkah, he abides, and the purpose of Jonah building the sukkah is confirmed now in that it provides tsel, or shade. The word comes from tsalal which indicates “shadowing” as in hovering over. Thus, he is covered and shaded. However, shade in Scripture is used metaphorically to indicate protection. This is seen in Psalm 91 –

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.” Psalm 91:1, 2

5 (con’t) till he might see what would become of the city.

ad asher yireh mah yiyeh ba’ir – “…until which might see what will come to pass in city.” There, protected by the covering of his sukkah, Jonah watches and awaits what will come to pass. He is safe, but what will happen to the city? Because what happens to the city is what will happen to its inhabitants.

And the Lord God prepared a plant

Vay-man Yehovah Elohim qiqayon – “And appointed Yehovah Elohim qiqayon. So far, Yehovah, or the Lord, has been referred to in verses 2, 3, & 4. Elohim, or God, has been referred to in verse 2. Now Yehovah Elohim or, the Lord God, is referred to. It is He who does the preparing. Why the change? And what indeed has He prepared? A qiqayon?

It is a word which is referred to for the first of five times, but all will be in this passage. It is found nowhere else, but rather it is unique to this passage of Scripture alone.

It is variously translated as “plant,” “leafy plant,” “vine plant,” “gourd,” “little plant,” “vine,” “pumpkin,” and “ivy.” It is even footnoted as a castor oil plant. I asked Hideko to see what the Japanese version said. It said togoma, and she had no idea what that meant even in Japanese. So she read the margin note and then said, “Aaaaahhhhh, I know what it is… it’s the gourd.”

Which is correct? The answer is, “Any of them and none of them.” Nobody knows what a qiqayon is. Every translation is speculation. However, translators need to put something, and so they make a best guess. And so, the proper translation would be to simply say qiqayon. It is a name, and therefore a transliteration is all that is needed. However, qiqayon comes from the word qayah, or “to vomit.” In fact, when I asked Sergio to read it in Hebrew, the first thing he thought was, “Why is this speaking of vomit?”

The word qi means “to vomit” (the action). The word qa means “vomit” (the thing), and yon is a suffix which signifies a process, or denoting action or a condition. It is where our suffix –ion comes from. Lexicographers say that –ion goes back to the Latin, but they missed that it goes back further… to Hebrew. An example of this suffix is found in Amos 4:6 –

“‘Also I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities,
And lack of bread in all your places;
Yet you have not returned to Me,’
Says the Lord.” Amos 4:6

The word “cleanness” comes from naqah, clean. Adding –yon to it causes it to become niqayon, the state of being cleaned, or “cleanliness.” As Sergio noted, “A great example where you add “ion” and it transforms the verb into a noun that describes the result of that verb!” And so with qiqayon, you have a word which, in essence, says “This is the condition of vomiting vomit.” What on earth is this referring to?

6 (con’t) and made it come up over Jonah,

va’yaal me-al l’yonah – “and caused to ascend over to Jonah.” This process of something undesirable now covers over Jonah. How do we know it is undesirable? Because every instance of vomiting in Scripture is taken in a negative sense, with the exception of the result of Jonah being vomited onto shore in Chapter 2. However, for the fish, it was certainly undesirable. After Jonah’s shower, he was probably OK with it though.

6 (con’t) that it might be shade for his head

lih-yot tsel al rosho – “…that it might be protection for his head.” When I asked Sergio to read verses 5 & 6, it was with an understanding that it seemed there is a contradictory thought in them. Without explaining that to him, when he read these words he said, “I never noticed that before.”

He had clued into what was otherwise skimmed over by him in the past. Why does Jonah need shade for his head when he just built a sukkah for the purpose of, and which was realized in the last verse, giving him shade. Verses 5 & 6 are last two uses of tsel in the Old Testament. What is being relayed to us with this repetition of tsel?

6 (con’t) to deliver him from his misery.

l’hatsil lo me-raato – “…to deliver from his wickedness.” The word ra here is variously translated as grief, discomfort, misery, evil, fatigue, evil case, etc. Translators choose based on what they believe the intent of the passage is expressing. The correct word for Jonah may be “misery,” but for us, it is “wickedness.” This is an object lesson for Jonah in which he is miserable, and yet an allegory for us to consider and understand concerning that which is evil. The qiqayon is given to deliver him from his wickedness.

6 (con’t) So Jonah was very grateful for the plant.

Yonah al ha’qiqayon simkhah gedolah – “Jonah of the qiqayon joyful whoppingly.” Despite having built a sukkah which was for the purpose of shading himself, he is whoppingly elated at having the qiqayon which is providing protection. What about this vomiting of vomit makes him so happy?

Can it merely be coincidence that in verse 2:10 there was the fish which vomited Jonah out onto dry ground and then there is this descriptive word being used in an object lesson for him to see and understand? The Lord has used him in this story to teach himself, and thus Israel, a lesson. Will he learn? Will they learn?

But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm,

vay’man ha’elohim tolaat baalot ha’shahar la’makhorat – “And appointed the God a worm as arose the dawn to next day.” Now another thing is prepared. But this time it is not by Elohim or Yehovah Elohim. Instead it is by ha’elohim, or “the God.” As not one of the 21 translations I referred to includes this, I assume neither does yours. Therefore, please place the word “the” in front of “God” in your Bible. We are being told something.

The God” appointed a tola, or a crimson grub worm, at the shakhar or dawning, of the mokhorath, or “next day,” to do something. This is, as Albert Barnes notes, “…in the earliest dawn, before the actual sunrise.” Three words are used for the last time here. It is the last of 25 times for the shakhar, the last of 43 times for the tola, and the last of 32 times for the mokhorath.

Why is it so specific about the time of the day? It could have just said, the next day, couldn’t it have? But a specific type of worm is named, and a specific time of day is too. These are specific for a reason. This is some object lesson!

7 (con’t) and it so damaged the plant that it withered.

va’tak eth ha’qiqayon va’yibash – “…and struck the qiqayon and withered away.” This was indeed some tola! That worm didn’t just damage the vomiting vomit, it completely destroyed it until it was dry. What on earth is the God telling Jonah here?

And it happened, when the sun arose,

vay-hi kizroakh ha’shemesh – “And happened as rose the sun.” The word “rise” is zarakh, which indicates to shoot forth beams, appear, and thus to rise. At this moment something new occurs…

8 (con’t) that God prepared a vehement east wind;

vay’man Elohim ruakh qadim kharishit – “…and appointed God wind east deafening.” Now we return to the word Elohim without the article. He appoints an east wind, but it is an east wind which is described by a word, kharishi, used only here in the entire Bible. It is so obscure that the great Hebrew lexicographers, Brown-Driver-Briggs denounce the meanings provided by other scholars as unacceptable, and then they say, “…meaning wholly dubious. We make no attempt to explain.”

I, however, have translated it, as did James Strong, from the word kharash, a word bearing several meanings. He chose “scorching” to which I disagree. It means “deafening.” This is connected to the word kheresh, or “deaf.” And this is exactly what is being pictured, as you will see. In the Middle East, the east wind is known as the khamsin. It is an extremely hot wind that is described in the book River God by Wilbur Smith as follows –

The king’s voice was frantic, but I paid it no heed, for there was a mighty roaring in my ears, like the sound of the khamsin wind…”

Concerning the word manah, translated here as “prepared.” This is the last time it is used in the Old Testament. It means “appointed.” It was used four times in Jonah – 1:17, 4:6, 4:7, and 4:8. He appointed the dag gadol or “fish whopping” to swallow Jonah. He appointed the qiqayon, or “state of vomiting vomit” plant. He appointed the tola, or “crimson grub worm.” And He appointed the ruakh qadim kharishit, or “deafening east wind.”

8 (con’t) and the sun beat on Jonah’s head,

va’tak ha’shemesh al rosh yonah – “And struck the sun on head Jonah.” Without the protection of the qiqayon, Jonah is now struck on his head by the direct beating of the sun. It is an extremely sad state of affairs for Jonah, who has received pain and anguish while waiting for what he thought would be the destruction of the Gentiles there before him.

8 (con’t) so that he grew faint.

va’yitalaph – “so that he veiled himself.” Every single translation of this verse except Young’s says “fainted,” “grew faint,” etc. But, Young’s says, “…and he wrappeth himself up.” He did this because the same word, alaph, is used in Genesis 38:14 this way –

So she took off her widow’s garments, covered herself with a veil and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place which was on the way to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given to him as a wife.”

The word alaph is used here for the last of only five times in the Bible. It comes from a primitive root which means to veil, or cover.” Jonah did not faint; he veiled himself as an Arab would in the oppressive khamsin.

8 (con’t) Then he wished death for himself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”

va’yishal eth naphsho la’mut va’yomer tov mo-ti me’khaiai – “…and begged with his soul to die, and said, ‘Good my death than my life.’” Jonah came to the point where his misery had overcome him. Life had become so miserable, that death was preferred over life itself. It is a repetition from verse 3 even before the object lesson was presented.

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

va’yomer Elohim el yonah ha’hetev kharah lekha al ha’qiqayon – “And said Elohim unto Jonah, ‘The correct, burning anger to you for the qiqayon?’” As we saw in verse 4, all translations except Young’s say something like, “Is it right for you to be angry.” But this is incorrect. Young’s translates this verse “Is doing good displeasing to thee, because of the gourd?”

However, this seems to make no sense. “Why would the destruction of the qiqayon be good, and why would it seem evil to Jonah?” This is what Sergio asked. Unless one understands the object lesson, it seems mistranslated, but it is not.

Notice here that in contrast to verse 4, which this verse parallels, it says Elohim instead of Yehovah; God instead of the Lord. Why would this be? The answer lies in who God is in relation to the people of the world, and who the Lord is in relation to Israel. The destruction of the qiqayon is what is right, and it is even necessary. Jonah, however, disagrees…

9 (con’t) And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!”

va’yomer hetev kharah li ad mavet – “And said, ‘good, burning anger to me, unto death.’” He stubbornly confirms that in the case of the good of what he is being presented, he is furious about it. He would rather die than see this good come to pass. It is a sentiment seen to this day with the people of Israel – 2000 years later.

This verse contains the last time Jonah’s name is mentioned in the Old Testament. He was the son of Amittai from Gath Hepher. In picture, he is Dove, the son of Truth of the Lord, from the Winepress of Shame. The dove, the symbol of “mourning love,” is perfectly realized in Jonah here. With the death of the qiqayon, the object lesson is ended. Now the Lord speaks again…

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. 

va’yomer Yehovah atah khasta al ha’qiqayon asher lo amalta bow v’lo gidalto sebin laylah hayah u-bin laylah abad – “And said Yehovah, “You pitied on the qiqayon that no did perform, and no magnified, which a son of a night was, and a son of a night perished.’” Only Young’s gives a literal translation of this verse. It says “son of a night,” to indicate lasting only one night.

The qiqayon, the state of vomiting vomit, came up and Jonah did not perform or fulfill in that process. Instead, it came as a son of the night and it was destroyed as a son of the night. This is the last of 11 uses of the word amal, or “labor,” in the Bible. It is used only by Solomon except this one time. Each time he uses it, it is in relation to futile labor, except when it is in relation to what God has done.

11 And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city,

va’ani lo akhus al Nineveh ha’ir ha’gedolah – “And I, no pity over Nineveh, the city the whopping.” Jonah is worried about the qiqayon, even to pity. But the Lord contrasts that pity to His pity over something of true value. The great city whose name means “Offspring’s Habitation,” has human inhabitants; people whom He created who He feels are far more worthy of His pity. Verses 10 and 11 have the last two of 23 times that khus, or pity, is used in Scripture. And what a marvelous use of them to show the contrast between man’s priorities and that of the Lord!

11 (con’t) in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons

asher yesh bah harbeh mishtem esreh ribo adam – “which exists in greater from twelve myriads man.” The translation as 120,000 is to be rejected. The term here is “12 myriads.” In 1 Chronicles 12:37, 120,000 people are noted as meah v’esrim aleph. Here the number is mishtem esreh ribo. Obviously they don’t sound the same because they are not the same. Instead of 120,000, it says “12 myriads.” The word ribo indicates an indefinitely large number. Again, only Robert Young rightly translated these words.

What I will propose to you now is, as far as I know, without precedent. No scholar that I am aware of has come to this conclusion, and yet it is exactly what is being relayed. One has to presuppose that this is speaking of the people in the city. It is not. Scholars have struggled over the number, knowing it is not correct. The size of the city does not justify this amount of people.

And so they back-interpret the words to mean “innocent people” meaning children who have not participated in the sins of the city. That is without basis, and it is not supported by Scripture which teaches inherited sin in all people. When the Lord destroys a city, he makes no distinction between young and old. But how else to explain the obviously incorrect number and translation?

Rather than referring to those in Nineveh, it is speaking of the twelve tribes of Israel. As soon as Sergio said, “This doesn’t say 120,000, but 12 with a descriptor attached to it, the entire passage fell into place. The phrase is comparative, not descriptive. In other words, the city of Nineveh, capital of, and thus emblematic of the great Assyrian Empire, is greater than the 12 tribes of Israel. This comparison continues in the final words of the book of Jonah…

*11 (fin) who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?”

Asher lo yada ben yemino lishmolo u-behemah rabbah – “…which no discern between their right hand and their left; and many ignorant fools.” This verse is set in contrast to Jonah 3:7. It is speaking of the people of Israel, not those in the city. In the giving of the law, the term “to the right hand or to the left” was spoken to Israel, indicating that they were to know what is right and to do it –

Therefore you shall be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.” Deuteronomy 5:32

This is repeated again in Deuteronomy 17 –

According to the sentence of the law in which they instruct you, according to the judgment which they tell you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left from the sentence which they pronounce upon you.” Deuteronomy 17:11

And it was repeated to them in the chapter of promised blessings and curses as well in Deuteronomy 28:14 –

So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right or the left, to go after other gods to serve them.”

The people in the city were given the word of the Lord, and they discerned what was right immediately. Israel had been given the word of the Lord for hundreds and hundreds of years, and the record shows their continual failing to discern right from left.

And the record also shows one more thing about them which is realized in the words u-behemah rabbah, or “and beasts abundant.” This is speaking of the foolish people of Israel, not the animals of Nineveh. The entire passage is speaking metaphorically. The animals in Nineveh were adorned in repentance along with the people of the city. However, time and again, in the psalms, Ecclesiastes, and the prophets, the ignorant and foolish of humanity are compared to beasts –

was so foolish and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.” Psalm 73:22

The passage in Isaiah 30 concerning the “beasts of the South” is speaking of the foolish people of Israel, and Peter uses the same term, “beasts,” in 2 Peter 2 when speaking of the foolish and perverse. Paul and Jude likewise use this terminology. Again, this is speaking of those in Israel who were ignorant fools.

The seemingly anticlimactic finish of the book of Jonah is, instead, a strong and resounding rebuke to the people of Israel. Correctly translated, it says, “And should I not pity Nineveh that great city, in which exists more than twelve myriads of man, who cannot discern between their right hand and their left, and many ignorant fools.” Israel failed to heed; Nineveh repented. It is a picture of Israel and the church. One rejected the Lord and His salvation, one quickly and decidedly turned to both.

Now, before we have these verses explained to us, I’d like you to note that in the story, God specially prepared four different things to guide or control Jonah. It says that He “appointed” a fish, a plant, a worm, and an east wind.

Each of these is a different agent of God’s creation – one a sea creature, one a plant, one a land creature, and one form of natural phenomena. In other words, the Bible is recognizing that God is sovereign over each of these aspects of creation. In essence, all of creation is at His bidding in order to accomplish His plans in the process of redemption. With that in mind we are ready to evaluate the meaning of the rather difficult verses found here in Chapter 4.

A fish to swallow a man at sea
A qiaqyon to cover that same man for some shade
A worm to destroy the qiqayon, it withered completely
Thus You destroyed what You once had made

And then a deafening east wind, it rages aplenty
While the sun beat down on the man’s head
There he sat in complete misery
There the man said he was better off dead

But is it right that he should be so upset?
Is it right to be so angry about the qiqayon?
The man says, “Yes!” “Certainly!” And, “You bet!”
But maybe he wouldn’t if he knew what was being shown

And so now we will look into what these things mean
Yes, now we will be shown was is meant to be seen

II. The Object Lesson Explained

Jonah has pictured both Christ and His work and Israel, here he is a picture of Israel, the people. Their history is being depicted in the object lesson given to him. In verses 1-3, Jonah was angry at the repentance of the Gentiles, wishing their destruction. In verse 4, he was asked, “Is doing good a reason for you to be furious?”

In order to wake him up, He is next given a snapshot of their entire history. Jonah, picturing Israel, went out to the east of the city. As I said, it is the place of exile. It is the place of wandering and the place of disobedience to God. It is the place where destruction comes from. Israel stems from Adam as do all people. All are in exile and are separated from God, Israel and Gentile alike.

There Jonah built a sukkah, a tabernacle. It is a dwelling place. Abraham was brought into Canaan by the Lord and lived as pilgrim, as did Isaac, and Israel. They established themselves as a people. Canaan the land, and Israel the people, became their own dwelling place and place of protection.

While there in the land, and even in Egypt, they dwelt as a people separate from the Gentiles. They simply lived and watched what would happen to the world living around them, just as Jonah did from his sukkah. But the Lord had more for them than a dwelling which they established.

In verse 6, Yehovah Elohim, the Lord God, prepared a qiqayon. It is the Law of Moses, prepared by the Lord God. This is why the full term Yehovah Elohim is used there. It is the covenant Lord who is the Creator God who established and oversaw it for them. He formed it as a protection over them. The Ten Commandments were given from Yehovah Elohim, the Lord God.

However, the name applied to this symbol tells all we need to know. The qiqayon, or state of vomiting vomit, was intended as a means of being restored to God, where life would result from death, if the law could be but fulfilled. The Lord said in Leviticus –

You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 18:5

Paul cites this verse in Romans 10. But nobody could fulfill the law. And so God’s law was only given as a temporary measure, not as a permanent fixture. It was only a protection, a guardian, for Israel. Paul explains this in Galatians 3:23-25 (NIV) –

Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.”

The qiqayon was Jonah’s guardian; the law was Israel’s. This is why the term tsel, or shade, was used in both verses 5 and 6. Israel has built its own protection, but the Lord built a further one for them, there in the east, or in the place of exile and judgment.

However, the law was never meant to last. It was temporary and found an end in the tola. The question is, “Which is greater – the great shading qiqayon, or the worm?” Well, what does the tola picture. I asked Sergio that, and without batting an eye, he said, “Christ.” He had paid attention to the Exodus sermons. In the 22nd Psalm, a messianic psalm written by David which speaks of the work of the Lord, including His cross, we read this –

But I am a worm, and no man; (tola)
A reproach of men, and despised by the people.
All those who see Me ridicule Me;
They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
“He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him;
Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!” Psalm 22:6-8

Concerning the tola, Henry Morris writes the following –

When the female of the scarlet worm species was ready to give birth to her young, she would attach her body to the trunk of a tree, fixing herself so firmly and permanently that she would never leave again. The eggs deposited beneath her body were thus protected until the larvae were hatched and able to enter their own life cycle. As the mother died, the crimson fluid stained her body and the surrounding wood. From the dead bodies of such female scarlet worms, the commercial scarlet dyes of antiquity were extracted. What a picture this gives of Christ, dying on the tree, shedding his precious blood that he might ‘bring many sons unto glory.’ He died for us, that we might live through him!” Henry Morris

This is why the term ha’elohim, or “the God” was used to describe the preparation for the tola. The God, the personal God, personally attended to the preparation of the body for Christ to dwell in and accomplish His work. This is seen in Hebrews 10 –

Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
But a body You have prepared for Me.
In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
You had no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—
In the volume of the book it is written of Me—
To do Your will, O God.’” Hebrews 10:5-7

The tola came forth to do its work with specificity. It said, “as morning dawned.” It was “in the earliest dawn, before the actual sunrise.” That is the resurrection of Christ as seen in the gospels. Matthew says the women went to the tomb as the day began to dawn. John says that it was still dark when they saw the stone rolled away. Christ’s work was finished in His work on the cross, but it was proven so in the resurrection. The law was struck and died in that glorious moment.

From that time on, only judgment can result from remaining attached to the law. This is why vomit is always negative in the Bible with one exception, vomiting Jonah onto the dry ground. Jonah pictured Christ in death and resurrection. The grave could not hold Him and it literally had to spew Him out of its grasp.

However, the law, the state of vomiting vomit, still holds sway over those who rely on it. Peter, speaking of false teachers, including those who would set aside the grace of Christ and return to the law, are like dogs who return to their vomit. When they do so, only judgment can be the result.

This is seen next in the lesson with the east wind. This was prepared, not by ha’elohim, or “the God,” but rather simply by elohim. The personal connection to Israel’s God is lost. Now, they are under God’s judgment, and thus the definite article is dropped from the narrative.

This east wind is described with that exceedingly rare word which nobody has been able to adequately describe, but of which I correctly translate as “deafening.” I chose this because the root implies it, and because the symbolism is realized in Paul’s words to the Jews who rejected Christ. At the end of Acts, he cites Isaiah, saying –

Go to this people and say:
‘Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand;
And seeing you will see, and not perceive;
27 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.”’ Acts 28:26, 27

And again, Isaiah, in a passage speaking of the coming Messiah, says this –

Hear, you deaf;
And look, you blind, that you may see.
19 Who is blind but My servant,
Or deaf as My messenger whom I send?
Who is blind as he who is perfect,
And blind as the Lord’s servant?
20 Seeing many things, but you do not observe;
Opening the ears, but he does not hear.” Isaiah 4:18-20

Further, wind also symbolizes doctrine – both correct and false doctrine. The spirit of God directs proper doctrine, but man directs false doctrine. Paul speaks of this in Ephesians 4:14 –

“…that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting…”

In addition, wind symbolizes that which is temporary and vain. In the 78th Psalm, it is used to show that which is temporary –

For He remembered that they were but flesh,
A breath that passes away and does not come again.” Psalm 78:39

Isaiah shows that the wind symbolizes that which is vain –

Indeed they are all worthless;
Their works are nothing;
Their molded images are wind and confusion.” Isaiah 41:29

The Lord sent His east wind, the wind of judgment upon Israel. It is the time of their being cursed for rejecting Christ. It is the Gentile-led church age, symbolized by Nineveh’s repentance and turning to God. They are the offspring of God through the work of Christ, just as the name Nineveh means. It is a marvelous picture which is being developed for us to pay heed to and to understand.

The word for the east wind, kheresh, is tied directly to the kharishi, or “deafening” wind which Jonah experienced. The people had grown deaf to the Lord’s call because they clung to the law. The judgment of God’s raging and deafening east wind was a self-inflicted wound. And the next judgment follows along with that, the beating of the sun on Jonah’s head.

In the law, the Lord promised Israel to be the head, not the tail if they were obedient to Him. As they rejected Christ, they brought the curse down upon themselves. The Sun of Righteousness, Christ, instead of favoring them, beat down on their head. In response, what did Jonah do? He veiled himself even further. He wrapped himself in the law and added in the Talmud. Paul describes the veil –

Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” 2 Corinthians 3:12-16

After the east wind, Jonah cried out that death was more preferable than life. He had clung to the law, a law which Paul describes as bringing death, because through it sin is made manifest. And when sin enters, death is the result. He explains this throughout his letters, but sums it up with these words –

And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Corinthians 3:4-6

Jonah, typical of Israel, testifies that he would rather die under the law than live under the grace of Jesus Christ. This is why in verse 9 God, not the Lord of verse 4, asked, “Is doing good a reason for you to be furious because of the qiqayon?” The question is not asked from the covenant Lord Yehovah whom they have rejected. It is asked from God the Creator.

They are outside of the covenant and are being asked directly, “Do you find the ending of the law, which was accomplished by My Son, a reason to be furious?” Their answer, to this day, is Jonah’s response, “Yes, doing good is reason to be furious because of the state of vomiting vomit.” They believe they can fulfill the law and reenter God’s presence on their own.

Christ is rejected by them, and they are out of His favor because of this. This was seen in the contrast between Jonah and the sailors before he had his epiphany. The Gentile sailors had said –

We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You.” Jonah 1:14

However, the Jews said this at Jesus’ crucifixion –

His blood be on us and on our children.” Matthew 27:25

The Gentiles had come to fear the Lord because of Jesus; the Jews had rejected Him because of Jesus. And so, they will have to endure many troubles before they are brought, once again, into covenant relationship through the New Covenant. Thus the object lesson ends and the Lord speaks his final words.

Yes, it is Yehovah, the covenant Lord, who completes the words of the chapter. He signifies that His pity has gone out to the Gentiles, represented by Nineveh, or “Offspring’s Habitation.” The Gentile world has become the Lord’s offspring through faith in Christ.

In His last words to Jonah, and thus to Israel, He notes Israel’s pity on the qiqayon, the law, which he says they have been unable to even perform. The word He spoke, amal, is used only by Solomon, and always to indicate the vain labor of man apart from God. His words concerning the qiqayon were that Jonah, representing Israel, was unable to perform, or fulfill. This is why that word was chosen. None could fulfill the law; none but Christ.

He next said that the qiqayon, the law, came up as a son of the night and it was destroyed as a son of the night. This is referring to its effects. It can bring nothing to light. But Christ can. This is why Paul says this in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-5 –

But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.”

Only Christ, not the law, can make one a son of the day. The object lesson of the qiqayon, (the law) the tola, (the crucified Christ) and the ruakh qadim kharishit, (the deafening east wind) there outside of Nineveh, indicates that there are far more souls to whom His pity extends than just the 12 tribes of Israel who have been unable to tell their right hand from their left, and among whom are many ignorant and foolish beasts who willingly reject the grace which He has offered through His completed work on Calvary’s cross.

This is the lesson of the book of Jonah. This is what is revealed in the obscure, and wholly misunderstood, words of this precious, marvelous book. For us, it is either the law which kills, or the grace of Christ which makes alive. God showed grace to the Gentiles, the Jews wanted the law which Christ ended. They were angry at the ending of the law, but God’s grace has been extended to any and all who will receive it. If you do, you also will be vomited out of the grave some wonderful day, all because of the work of Christ Jesus.


But it was evil to [the] Dove (meaning Israel) exceedingly, and he was kindled with anger.

2 So he prayed unto Yehovah, and said, “I pray Yehovah, was not this what I said when I was still in my ground? Because it was so, I hastened to flee to the White Dove (Tarshish); for I know that You, God, are gracious and merciful, slow to get into a huff and abounding in covenant loyalty, and comforting concerning the evil.

3 And now Yehovah take, I pray, my soul. To me, it is for good my death [rather] than my life!”

4 And said Yehovah, “Is doing good a reason for you to be furious?”


And [the] Dove (meaning Israel) went from the city and sat in the place of wandering and disobedience. And there he made a sukkah and sat under its protection, until he might see what would come to pass concerning the city.

6 And appointed Yehovah Elohim a qiqayon (meaning the law), and caused [it] to ascend over [the] Dove (meaning Israel), that it might be protection for his head, to deliver from his wickedness. [The] Dove (meaning Israel) concerning the qiqayon (meaning the law) was joyful whoppingly.

And appointed THE GOD a tola (meaning the crucified Christ) at the dawning of the next morning, and it struck the qiqayon (meaning the law), and it withered.

And happened as rose the sun (meaning the dawning of God’s new economy, the age of grace), and God appointed wind east deafening (meaning Israel could no longer hear). And struck the sun on the head of [the] Dove (meaning Israel), so that he veiled himself (meaning Israel had wrapped itself in the law). And begged with his soul to die. And said, “Good [is] my death than my life.

9 And said God unto [the] Dove (meaning Israel), “Is doing good a reason for you to be furious concerning the qiqayon (meaning the law)?

And [he] said, “Doing good is a reason for me to be furious, even to death.”

10 And said Yehovah, “You pitied the qiqayon (meaning the law) that you were unable to fulfill, and did not magnify; which a son of a night was, and a son of a night perished” (meaning the law brought nothing to light).

11 And I? No pity over the Offspring’s Habitation? The city, the whopping? (referring to the Gentile world). Which exists more than 12 myriads of man (meaning the twelve tribes of Israel), which cannot discern between their right hand and their left (meaning transgressors of the law); and many ignorant fools (meaning the willfully disobedient).”


The book of Jonah, the Dove typifies the “mourning love” which God feels for the people of the world. So much so, that He was willing to step out of His heavenly abode and come walk among us. Let us cling to the grace of God which is found in Jesus Christ our Lord, and may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Closing Verse: “For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” Hebrews 7:18, 19

Next Week: Leviticus 1:1-4 We hope you will find this new book fun… (The Burnt Offering, Part 1)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean rages against you and is ready to swallow you up, He can send delivery to you in the most remarkable of ways. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Law and Grace – An Object Lesson

So Jonah went out of the city and sat
On the city’s east side
There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade
Till he might see what would become of the city
What would the Lord decide?

And the Lord God prepared a plant
And made it come up over Jonah assuredly
That it might be shade for his head
To deliver him from his misery

So Jonah was very grateful for the plant
But as morning dawned the next day
God prepared a worm
And it so damaged the plant that it withered away

And it happened, when the sun arose
That God, a vehement east wind prepared
And the sun beat on Jonah’s head
So that he grew faint; thus he fared

Then he wished death for himself, and said
It is better for me to die than to live; I’m better off dead!”

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! So, Jonah continued his rant

But the Lord said
You have had pity on the plant, an insignificant plight
For which you have not labored, nor made it grow
Which came up in a night and perished in a night

And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city
In which are more than a giant herd or flock
One hundred and twenty thousand persons
Who cannot discern between their right hand and their left
And much livestock?”

Lord God, thank You for grace; glorious grace
Thank You for fulfilling what stood opposed to us
Thank You for turning towards us Your marvelous face
As we behold our Savior, our precious Jesus

And Lord, we pray for those who still choose
To cling to the law which is dead; withered away
Open the eyes of Israel, all of the Jews
Call them back to Yourself, this we pray

And for any others who have left Your grace
Clinging to the law in a hope it will please
Turn them away from that terrible place
And to reconciliation through Christ
Who alone can Your wrath appease?

Lord God, thank you for this wonderful book
Jonah! What a marvel to have studied it
Into every detail possible we took a look
And to You our thanks and praise we now submit!

Hallelujah to Christ our Lord!
Hallelujah for Jonah, a marvelous part of Your superior word!

Hallelujah and Amen…

Jonah 4:1-4 (A Gracious and Merciful God)

Jonah 4:1-4
A Gracious and Merciful God

A story is told about when George Bush senior was in office. His wife Barbara and George W. were talking about religion. George W. held the view that Jesus is the only way to heaven and that apart from Him, no one can be saved.

Barbara, not understanding the nature of God, or the fallen state of man, remarked that surely God in his grace would have a plan for the sincere followers of other religions. Eventually she said to one of the White House staff, “Get me Billy Graham.”

The operators got hold of him and Barbara told him what they were discussing. Billy’s answer was that as a believer in the New Testament, he had to agree that Jesus is the only way to heaven and that is through personal faith in Him.

The amazing part of this to me isn’t Billy’s response – it ought to be obvious to anyone who’s ever even skimmed the New Testament. What I find hard to believe is that Barbara Bush was unaware of this – and for several reasons

First, she was supposedly raised in a Christian setting. That means that for her entire life, no one properly explained to her either the message of Jesus, or the doom of those who fail to accept Him. And secondly, having consulted with Billy Graham, she must have been familiar with his sermons. Her disagreement with George W. shows that despite hearing him, she never listened to his words.

Let there be no mistake, here at the Superior Word, we boldly and unapologetically proclaim that the Bible is true, and it says that there is one way and one way only to be reconciled to God, and that is through Jesus Christ. The Bible is abundantly clear on this.

One needs to dismiss the entire premise of the Bible to come to any other conclusion. If you’re struggling with this, or if you’re unsure that this is what the Bible teaches, please meet with me, and we’ll go through the verses which clearly and unambiguously state this.

So far in chapters 1 thru 3, we’ve seen Jonah called to preach, he fled, he was punished, and he was restored. After this he got about the business which he should have done when God first called him to preach to the Ninevites.

Today we’ll see a typical troubled human being – filled with self-pitying, animosity, and selfishness. But by using a person like Jonah, we can better and more clearly see the contrast between man and God. He is patient, giving, and abundantly merciful.

Text Verse: “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, to you, O Baruch: ‘You said, “Woe is me now! For the LORD has added grief to my sorrow. I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest.”’ Jeremiah 45:2, 3

Baruch’s self-pitying is similar to that of Jonah, but God responded firmly and yet tenderly to both Baruch and Jonah. Baruch was Jeremiah’s scribe and is one of the people in the Bible whom archaeology has actually substantiated as being a real, historical person. In 1975, a clay bulla containing his seal and name was excavated at the “burnt house” – a site of archaeological research. In 1996, a second bulla was found with the same seal, but it also had a fingerprint, possibly of Baruch himself, just imagine that…

In our text verse today, Baruch was completely despondent over the tragedies occurring around him as Jerusalem was being destroyed by her enemies. So much so, that he cried out in misery. The Lord responded that because the nation was being punished collectively, he couldn’t expect that he would lie in roses while everything else was falling apart around him.

The Lord said to him, “And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring adversity on all flesh,” says the LORD. “But I will give your life to you as a prize in all places, wherever you go.” Jeremiah 45:5

I bring this up because whether it was Baruch, or Jonah, or you, or me – we are all subject to weakness and despair and we are also all subject to whatever ill comes upon our land. When the ball drops, and eventually it will, we need to not seek great things for ourselves. It very well may be that the rapture won’t happen until some point long after a complete economic collapse. And so we need to be prepared to keep our eyes on the Lord through good times and bad.

This is one of the constant messages that we find in the pages of the Bible. It is a book of hope, but also a book of warning – always to be prepared. Such are the lessons which are found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

There is no way I could fit all eleven verses of Chapter 4 into one sermon, and so I had to divide them up. And so today’s sermon is a few pages shorter than normal, and verses 1-4 comprise our only section today.

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. 

va’yera el yownah raah gedowlah va’yihar lo – “And it was evil to Jonah, displeased whoppingly, and he was kindled with anger.” The timing of the entire fourth chapter is argued over by scholars almost ad nauseum. What appears to be the case is that Jonah preached his message throughout the forty-day period and then left the city only to see that his words of pending destruction did not come about. Verse 1 follows after that thought, and so Chapter 4 is a description of what occurred between the Lord and Jonah after the fortieth day. Of this first verse, many scholars cite John Calvin who erringly states –

He connected his own ministry with the glory of God, and rightly, because it depended on His authority. Jonah, when he entered Nineveh, did not utter his cry as a private individual, but professed himself to be sent by God. Now, if the proclamation of Jonah is found to be false, the disgrace will fall upon the author of the call himself, namely on God. There is no doubt, therefore, that Jonah took it ill that the name of God was exposed to the revilings of the heathen, as though He terrified without cause.”

Calvin is wrong. Jonah cared far less about the glory of God at this point than in his own personal condition. This is perfectly evident from the context of the story. From his run upon his original calling by the Lord, to the coming words of this chapter, he has demonstrated that it is he himself, and not God, who is the center of his thoughts. Remember how we ended last week –

Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it” Jonah 3:10

Some years ago, one of my friends posted on her Facebook wall “It’s OK to get angry with God, he can take it.” Is it ok? It depends on how you translate “with.” If it indicates being angry “at” God, then the answer is, “No.” If you mean, “along with,” then the answer is, “Yes.” What angers God should anger us. As long as our anger is not vented so much at Him as it is to Him or along with Him, then we do not err.

If you’ve ever see the movie “The Apostle” with Robert Duvall, then you might remember a scene where he was up late in the night venting at the top of his voice, “Lord, I’m angry. I don’t understand why this is happening. I’ve been your servant since I was a little boy and I’m angry, Lord.”

His mother, played by June Carter Cash, just lay in bed enjoying his rant. When a neighbor called to complain about the yelling, she just smiled and said that her boy was venting to the Lord and then she hung up. Venting, as long as it does not call into question the Lord’s right to conduct His affairs as He sees fit, is perfectly fine.

Jonah was angry at the Lord because he felt foolish that he’d been called to preach that Nineveh would be destroyed. But if the people repented, he’d knew he’d look like he was a false prophet and a buffoon.

Questioning God’s wisdom isn’t unique to the Old Testament. In Acts we read about a skeptic of the Lord’s decision named Ananias. He had a vision of the Lord and was told to go to a certain place and put his hands on Paul to heal him. Instead, he responds as if the Lord didn’t know what he was doing –

“‘“Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”’” Acts 9:10-16

God has no idea what He’s doing… we’re right and He must be wrong. When we get the urge to question His decisions, we need to remember what He said to Isaiah…

For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8, 9

God is infinitely wiser than we are. No matter how much we know or ever can know, it is infinitely less than what He knows. When the Bible instructs us, it’s because He knows what is best for His little creatures.

To Jonah now, what has transpired appears to him to be the highest form of disgrace. At this point, like when he first ran from the Lord, he is completely self-consumed. He has forgotten who commissioned him, and even who it is that created him.

He has become so enraged that he sits there in his own mental pity party. His reputation! Oh, he will look like a fool when nothing happens. Poor Jonah. He must bear that burden. His commission as a prophet! “Oh my! Prophets of Israel will be mocked and scorned by the heathen nations!” Poor Jonah. He must bear that disgrace.

Nineveh gets away with murder while Israel is bound to the minutest details of the law! My great country (oooh, and thus me!) carry such a torch. We have to be the shining example, but it is all for naught apparently. Poor Jonah.

And worst of all… “I am a Hebrew! I carry with me the fathers, the oracles, the traditions, and the name. These are just unworthy Gentiles who need to be eradicated as vermin, not spared like wayward children.” Poor Jonah.

In his attitude, he is treating the Lord’s mercy, not as a divine attribute, but a divine failing. What should radiate out in perfection, is seen to him to radiate out in fault. How could the Lord, who had given such noble and strict guidelines to Israel, forgive such terrible and weighty transgressions?

He is looking at a very small part of the picture, and he is failing to see Israel, the law, and the office of prophet in their proper context. And above all, his attitude, in essence, places his personal emotions and feelings above the sovereignty of God who alone decides the direction of His will towards His creatures.

In fairness to Jonah, we all do this to some extent. Any time we question God’s good intent because of displeasing events which surround us, we assume that we know more, or at least better, than He does. This we cannot do.

The pattern of Jonah’s anger and jealousy is repeated in the book of Acts. The Jews saw the efforts of the apostles in converting the Gentiles to Christ, and they stewed over it, fought against it, and went to the point of physical attacks in order to quench it. They threw a national pity party at the goodness of the Lord in calling the detestable enemy to share in the favor that they alone believed they had earned, and which they alone deserved.

What is surprising about the words here are that Jonah, if he is the true author of the book, does not attempt to hide his state in the writing. If it was some unknown Jew who wrote the book, it still doesn’t change the openness of recording Jonah’s self-consumed state. He, a Hebrew and a prophet of God, is being fully exposed for the attitude he bore at this time.

The desire of Jonah, for the destruction of Nineveh, is not unjust in and of itself. Destruction of sin, and thus the sinner, is what will happen when it is not repented of. Jonah’s sin is disputing with the Lord who intended for Nineveh to repent and be saved. And what an amazing sin considering the magnitude of mercy which has already been monumentally manifested in him. He is a miserable man mired in mourning at the ministry meant to magnify his Master and not merely him.

So he prayed to the Lord,

va’yitpalel el Yehovah – “And he prayed unto Yehovah.” The word “pray” here is palal. It is the same word which was used in Jonah 2:1 when he was in the fish’s belly, and it is the last time it will be used in Scripture. At the time that he realized he was delivered from death, he made his prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord, even from the belly of the fish.

Now, he prays again, but this time, instead of thanksgiving, he is in a state of vexed rage. The vexer is himself now vexed. In the belly of the fish, his words were orderly, calm, and well thought out. Here, his words will be almost the opposite. Instead of thankfulness to the Lord for his deliverance from death, they will petition him for it. John Gill rightly states that –

“…prayer should be fervent indeed, but not like that of a man in a fever; there should be a warmth and ardour of affection in it, but it should be without wrath, as well as without doubting.”

2 (con’t) and said, “Ah, Lord,

va’yomar annah Yehovah – “…and said, I pray, Yehovah,” This is the last of thirteen times that the word annah, or I beseech You, is found in Scripture. It is a contraction of two other words, ahava, meaning “love,” and na, meaning “please.” In essence, “I beg of you.” It is a begging which would come from the soul of the man in a deep and heartfelt petition.

It was used by the sailors in Jonah 1:14 when begging for the Lord to not hold them guilty for Jonah’s blood when they cast him off the boat. Now, it is used by Jonah in exactly the opposite manner. They had asked for life in exchange for taking life. He is asking for death because of the granting of life.

The level of mental confusion because of his perception of the world around him is astonishing, and yet not uncommon. To this day, the Jews in general cannot perceive of the Lord granting His mercy to the Gentiles through a mere act of faith, while at the same time holding them accountable for their own infractions against His law.

2 (con’t) was not this what I said when I was still in my country?

ha-lo zeh debarti ad heyoti al admati – “the not this I said while I when I was in my ground?” Exactly what he said is not recorded, but it can be inferred from the story. He had spoken to the Lord exactly that which came about. He understood that the word of the Lord he was asked to speak would result in the repentance of the people.

This shows quite clearly that John Calvin’s assessment which I cited above is wholly incorrect. Jonah was not concerned about the glory of God, except possibly in its display through divine judgment. It was certainly not in whether His word might fail. The call was one expecting repentance, not expressing assured judgment.

In what seems a curious choice of words, Jonah uses the term adamah, or ground, instead of eretz, or land, here. Adamah is generally used to indicate the soil, coming from the word adom, or red. It is the same word from which adam, or “man” is derived. It is the word used in the early Genesis account to indicate the adamah, or ground, from which adam, or man, was taken when he was created.

The word is deeply intertwined with man, creation, and redemption. It is used by Ezekiel almost exclusively in his book. He speaks to a people who are in exile and out of favor with the Lord, but the Lord time and time again promises a restoration to them, to the adamah.

On the other hand, when Cain was punished for killing Abel, he was cursed in the adamah which received his brother’s blood so that the adamah would no longer yield its strength to him, and he was driven from the face of the adamah. What was originally intended to bring forth life, would not.

It is in Genesis, as in Ezekiel, as in Jonah, all pointing to the Adam, or Man, who would come from Adam, the first man, who came from the adamah or red ground; it is referring to the Messiah. Jonah’s choice of words is purposeful.

He is conveying an understanding that while he was in his adamah that life would be the result of his cry unto Nineveh. But how could they be given life when they were not of the adamah that he was derived from. He could not understand the spiritual connection that these Gentiles could have to the Lord. The Messiah was of and for the Jews, was He not?

Surely he knew better than God about His plans and intentions for the people of the world, and these Gentiles were NOT a part of that plan. Duh! They, like Cain, were not destined for Eden, but for banishment and exile from the Lord’s presence. Had the Lord forgotten such a simple thing!

2 (con’t) Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish;

al ken qidamti livroakh tarshishah – “Because so I hastened to flee (to) Tarshish.” As we saw in Chapter 1, the meaning of the name Tarshish is debated, but to a Hebrew audience, it might have appeared to indicate two words which together mean “white dove,” or “dove white.” Jonah flitted about to find a place to flee to and his eyes alighted on a place which bears the traits of who he is.

As I explained then, Tarshish was a descendant of Japheth, the second son of Noah, and the one who was given a like-blessing to Shem with the words –

May God enlarge Japheth,
And may he dwell in the tents of Shem;
And may Canaan be his servant.” Genesis 9:27

In contrast to this, Nineveh was a city built by their ancestor Nimrod, a descendant of Ham, Noah’s youngest. He received no such blessing. He had done something perverted to his father, and so his father withheld any blessing upon him, and instead cursed Ham’s own youngest son, Canaan.

Jonah saw it better to flee to one who would dwell in the tents of Shem, than to preach repentance to a line of such disgraceful people as those in Nineveh. Surely the Lord had forgotten such a simple thing!

2 (con’t) for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness,

ki yadati ki attah el khannun v’rakhum erek apayim v’rav khesed – “For I know for You God gracious and merciful slow of nostril and great covenant loyalty.” These words, though not a quote, are closely reflective of the words of the Lord Himself to Moses in Exodus 34:6 –

And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…’” Exodus 34:6

Jonah acknowledges that Yehovah is el, or God; the mighty One. From that, he then says that He is gracious. The word is khannun. It is an adjective used for the last of 13 times. In all instances, it is only used when speaking of the Lord. When it is used, it gives the sense of hearing the cries of those who are vexed and cry out to Him. It is as if He is unable to hear such cries without responding to their need.

Next he says, v’rakhum, “and merciful.” It is an adjective which is also seen for the last of 13 times. And again, it is only used when speaking of the Lord. It is from the same root as rekhem, meaning “womb.” One can see how just as a mother cares for the child in her womb, so the Lord is compassionate, and thus merciful.

He next states that He is erek apayim. It is at times translated as “longsuffering,” or as here “slow to anger.” He is willing to put up with the grief His people give Him without immediately destroying them. The word arek is almost always used of the Lord’s slowness at being aroused to anger.

The word apayim means “nostrils.” This gives a more vivid description for us to understand. He is slow to getting in an angry huff where the nostrils flare and snort. It is His nature to retain a calm composure even when anger is what should be anticipated. Jonah himself was the recipient of this divine favor. Instead of a raging Lord, he was shown great compassion and mercy.

After this, He proclaims v’rav khesed, “and abounding in goodness.” The word khesed is deep and rich. It is a word often translated as “lovingkindness.” It indicates favor, merciful kindness, and even pity. Jonah notes that He doesn’t just possess this, but He possess it in abundance.

2 (con’t) One who relents from doing harm.

v’nikham al ha’raah – “…and comforting concerning the evil.” The word nakham means to conform or to console. It comes from a primitive root and it properly means, “to sigh.” When one is angry at someone else and they apologize, if the apology is accepted, the one forgiving will sigh. “Ahhh, ok, I forgive you.”

Jonah says that the Lord bears this quality and will sigh concerning the evil when repented of. There is an article in front of evil which almost personifies it. The people are infected with it, but when the infection is cast off, the Lord sighs and stands back from destruction.

In Exodus 32, the Lord waxed hot against Israel for the sin of the golden calf, but through Moses’ mediation, He was said to relent, or sigh, concerning their destruction. Jonah knew the story as did all Israelites, and he understood this amazing quality of the Lord.

Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me,

v’attah Yehovah qakh na et naphshi – “And now Yehovah take, I pray, my soul.” This particular verse shows the perverse nature of us when we’re despondent, but not suicidal. Think this through – “Please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

Jonah asks the Lord to take his life. Here he is practically blaming the Lord for his calamity and so in maybe a spiteful revenge, he asks Him to take his life. If things were really bad, he’d simply just jump off a cliff, but because he’s unhappy with what the Lord has done, he puts the onus on Him to end his life… as if that would make everything alright.

In being honest, how many of us do this almost constantly, say two or three thousand times a week. We tell the Lord how nice it would be if the rapture were today, as if what He’s given us here is so bad that we deserve – out of the billions of people on earth, to be granted a fate-sealing relief from our woes.

What I mean is, if the Lord comes today, millions and even billions of people will enter the tribulation period without ever knowing God’s wonderful gift. For me, I won’t to have to spend the many hours it takes to type up another sermon. For any of us, we won’t have to worry about what we’re going to do to make a living in the years ahead.

How many of you feel the same way? “Oh, I wish you’d come today Lord Jesus.” In essence we’re doing exactly what Jonah did – please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live. In our case, it may be true, but it shows that our priorities are not geared towards where we are right now, and this is where the Lord has us… right now.

3 (con’t) for it is better for me to die than to live!”

mimeni ki tov mo-ti me’khaiai – “To me than me for good my death than my life.” Jonah’s message has brought about the sparing of an entire city of people, but that means less to him than saving face in the eyes of the very people who have been spared. He was given a commission, and he carried it out grudgingly.

Instead of rejoicing that he had performed his task obediently and successfully, he moans over the very success the Lord had determined to come about.

The words of Jonah now cannot be left without seeing in them a contrasting comparison to those of Elijah. In 1 Kings 18, the great victory of Elijah, the prophet of the Lord, over the 450 prophets of Baal had come about. With no more than a quiet call upon the Lord, fire was sent down from heaven to consume the offering he had laid upon the altar.

With that, the hearts of the people were turned back to the Lord with the mighty cry, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” After that, the prophets of Baal were seized and executed, and the rains returned to Israel after a three and one half year drought.

But no sooner had the victory been won, than Jezebel had threatened to take his life. Upon hearing her words, he fled for his life into the wilderness where he sat down under a broom tree, praying that he might die –

It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” 1 Kings 19:4

Elijah’s prayer for the Lord to take his life was because he perceived that he had failed in his task. The wicked queen who directed the prophets of Baal still lived and had not repented of her wicked ways.

In contrast to this, the king of Nineveh had stepped down from his throne in humility before the true God. Jonah’s warnings had turned the wicked from their wicked ways, but this was of less moment to him than his own perceived superiority over these heathen people.

Martin Luther in his words concerning Jonah’s flight states, “…he was hostile to the city of Nineveh, and still held a Jewish and carnal view of God.” This is exactly what the story is telling us. It is a picture of the larger world where the Jews do not look for repentance from sin and salvation for the Gentile world as something the Lord would offer.

Nor do they consider repentance from sin as necessary for themselves. As the people of God, they believe that sin sticks to the Gentiles and cannot be cleansed off, but sin does not affect their righteousness in His eyes because of His selection of them as His people. Like a Teflon coating, sin supposedly slips right off of them.

The story of Jonah tells us exactly the opposite is true. God’s mercy can cleanse the vilest sinner, but God’s law can make none perfect apart from One who is already perfect under God’s law.

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

va’yomer Yehovah ha’hetev kharah lakh – “And said Yehovah, the good, burning anger you?” These words are variously translated, but almost all of them give the sense of the NKJV – “Is it right for you to be angry.” However, only Young’s gives a completely different view by asking, “Is doing good displeasing to thee?”

There is a mile of difference between the two translations, and it would be tempting to ignore the one rebel-translated version, but it is haunting to do so for a multitude of reasons. The coming seven verses finish the book of Jonah, and they have some interesting things going on in them which tell us that there is more to the story than meets the eye.

After struggling with my own limited translation which leaned towards Young’s and away from the majority, I spent an hour with Sergio going over these few words. In the end, translating hetev as “doing good” is correct, and so the words are to be translated as “Then the Lord said, ‘Is the doing (of) good a reason for you to be furious?’”

That is the question the Lord asked Jonah, and it is the question I leave you with today. “Is doing good a reason for you to be furious?” Ask yourself this as if the Lord Himself is asking you. The reason why, is because He has shown you what is good, O man. And He asks you to be obedient in it.

For Jonah, he was asked the question, and his response is, at this time, left unsaid. When we return for our final verses next week, we will enter into one of the most enigmatic passages in the entire Bible. Far too often, we are left asking, “Why does the story end as it does?” The answers are in the words, and the words give us a picture of Christ and His work. We’ll hope you will join in for one last taste of this masterpiece of literature and wonder.

And as I do each week, I’d like to take a moment to explain to you the overall message of Scripture, a portion of which is found in the sparing of Nineveh. It is God’s grace to the undeserving souls which have risen up and offended Him in a countless number of ways. That grace is found in the giving of His Son for our transgressions. It is found in Jesus Christ.

Closing Verse:  “If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? 24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” John 7:23, 24

Next Week: Jonah 4:5-11 The enigma will keep you guessin’… (The Law and Grace – An Object Lesson) (Our 10th and final Jonah Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean rages against you and is ready to swallow you up, He can send delivery to you in the most remarkable of ways. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

A Gracious and Merciful God

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly
And he became angry

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 previously to Tarshish fled

For I know that You are a gracious and merciful God
Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness
One who relents from doing harm
Instead, You would turn and bless

Therefore now, O Lord
Please take my life from me
For it is better for me to die than to live!”
This I feel assuredly

Then the Lord said
Is it right for you to be angry instead?”
How is it Lord, that our hearts are bent on evil and away from You
We turn to the left rather than to the right

We follow after wickedness, searching out what’s new
We pursue it rising early, and late into the night
But when grace is found, we rejoice on that day
We raise our hands in victory and sing our song to You

Through the cross of Calvary, our sins are washed away
And upon us comes true life, wonderful and new
But when we see others, caught in their sin
We turn away as if it was never true with us

We smile upon the day when they will be done in
Forgetting that we once were cleansed by the blood of Jesus
Help us Lord to learn the lesson of Jonah as well
That we should have pity on the lost and wayward soul

Better to share the love of Christ than see them cast into hell
Better to see that sinner added to heaven’s roll
Grant us a heart to remember where we once were
Help us to remember this throughout all of our days

So that by our words many, many souls will be safe and secure
And together we can all sing to You songs of joy and praise

May it be so, may we speak openly about Jesus
Who came to die not for some, but for every one of us

Hallelujah and Amen…

Jonah 3:5-10 (From the Greatest to the Least)

Jonah 3:5-10
From the Greatest to the Least

Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day

Washington, D.C.

March 30, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation.

And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.

And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th. day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer. And I do hereby request all the People to abstain, on that day, from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.

All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty seventh.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward, Secretary of State.

Text Verse: “So shall He sprinkle many nations.
Kings shall shut their mouths at Him;
For what had not been told them they shall see,
And what they had not heard they shall consider.” Isaiah 52:15

When I first read this proclamation, I wept openly. To imagine that a people would humble themselves in this manner, or in the manner of ancient Nineveh, is truly stirring to the soul. But such is the state of a nation when it realizes it has offended the Power which ultimately directs it.

Time and time again, the people of Israel went through cycles of turning to the Lord, and then turning away from Him once again. Until times of great distress were upon them, they went about their merry way, ignoring Him, and even actively mocking Him through their actions.

During all such times, the Lord sent prophets to call them back to Himself. But their words fell on deaf ears, and often the dead bodies of the prophets witnessed to the rejection of the Lord’s message to His disobedient nation.

What does a nation need repentance for when they already believe they are God’s chosen, and who are also deemed as righteous because of who they are? Such a smug attitude negates any such need for repentance.

America of 1863 had come to such a point, but the leader of the nation, Abraham Lincoln, realized that their many blessings had become their curse, and so he called on the people to repent, to turn from their arrogance, and to humble themselves before the God of the Bible; the God who had established them.

Such a call is needed once again, and we should hope it won’t be long before it comes. If it does, will we respond? Only time will tell. One thing is for sure, Nineveh was given their warning, and even before it had been fully proclaimed throughout the land, the people were receiving it and acting upon it.

And when the leader of the great city heard it, he sent forth the word to repent, just as Lincoln did. The city as a whole responded, and the great destruction which was anticipated, was held back from happening. Humility before the Lord is of great value in His eyes. Let us pray that we as a people will demonstrate this most admirable quality, once again, before it is too late.

Such lessons as this are to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. So the People Believed (verses 5-6)

So the people of Nineveh believed God,

v’yaaminu anshe Nineveh b’elohim – “And believed men Nineveh in God.” These words are based on the proclamation of Jonah which was given in the previous verse, that which ended our journey last week, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” It is of note that the same term for “believed” is given here that was given of Abraham in Genesis 15 –

And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”

And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” Genesis 15:4-6

There is, however, a difference between the two. In Genesis 15, Abraham is said to have believed Yehovah, the covenant-keeping Lord. So it was also with the salty sailors of Chapter 1. In this account, it says the people believed, Elohim, or “God.”

Therefore this is a clue that it is probably not to be considered justifying faith as it was for Abraham or the sailors. It does, in fact, picture this though. The turning of the Gentiles in Nineveh is a picture of the greater turning of the Gentiles to Christ the Lord in the dispensation of grace. Having said that, Jesus’ words of Luke 11 must be considered –

The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.” Luke 11:32

He does say that they will “rise up in the judgment.” Whether this means they were saved, or whether they will simply be able to highlight Israel’s faithlessness at the same judgment must be left to God’s eternal counsel in matters of final judgment.

Here, there is no promise or covenant established with the Ninevites as there was with Abraham, or as in Christ’s New Covenant. Rather, there was simply a proclamation that destruction lay ahead. Instead of justifying faith, it is probably a faith grounded in the mercy of God in this earthly existence. There is an expectation that if they act, He will relent from His designs against them.

The entire account is showing a contrast between the Ninevites and the Jews. The Ninevites believed in God and were quick to respond to His word; the Jews had an intimate covenant relationship with the Lord, and they were slow to believe, slow to respond, and slow to repent.

The story of Jonah is a prophetic look to the future when God would do something new through Jesus Christ. For the Gentiles, there would be a massive turning to the Lord; for the Jews, there would be a pathetically small group who faithfully turned to Him; a mere remnant.

5 (con’t) proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth,

Va’yiqre-u som va’yilbeshu saqim – “and called out for a fast and put on sacks.” It is unknown if this verse really follows in thought to that of verse 6, or if it actually occurred before it. The writer seems to indicate that as the word spread, the people responded to it immediately, humbling themselves and fearing what they heard. Each was intent on proclaiming a fast and putting on sackcloth, both of which were external signs of an inward repentance.

Fasting was intended to deny oneself food in order to be reminded of a devotion to God. If one is hungry, they will be continually reminded of their hunger. If this is voluntary, it will then remind one of why they were hungering.

Likewise, sackcloth was poor quality cloth, it would be itchy and unsightly. The garments would be both a physical reminder to the body and to the eyes of their on-going repentance. Both actions speak of a state of humility, not arrogance, before God.

5 (con’t) from the greatest to the least of them.

mi’gedolam v’ad qetanam – “From the most whopping and unto the least.” From the throne of the king, to the smallest child of the least servant, all participated in the fast and in the humble adornment of clothes. None felt excepted for none was above the word of the Lord. And this was either because, or it was followed by, the actions of the king himself…

Then word came to the king of Nineveh;

va’yiga ha’davar el melek nineveh – “And reached the word to king (of) Nineveh.” This may explain the “why” of what occurred in the previous verse, and so the words would then be in the past-perfect – “For the word had come to the king of Nineveh.”

Or the words may show an elevation of the message of Jonah which finally reached the ears of the king, who felt he was not above the actions of the people over whom he ruled. Either is possible, but the order of the verses seems to argue for the latter. The entire city had cumulatively humbled themselves which was then followed by even the king himself.

6 (con’t) and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe,

va’yaqam mi’kiso va’yaaver addarto me’alav – “and arose from his throne and laid his robe from him.” The throne is the place of power, and the robe is a symbol of authority. By leaving his throne and laying the robe aside, the king is essentially acknowledging that in comparison to the call of the prophet, he has no authority and no power.

It would be comparable to the surrendering of the sword by the defeated general. The king so firmly believed the word that he stepped aside from his own place of nobility, and demonstrated what one would think was the greatest act of submission that he could possibly perform. But he went even further…

6 (con’t) covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes.

vay’kas saq va’yshev al ha’epher – “and covered sackcloth and sat upon the ashes.” The garment of the king would have been resplendent and beautiful, and it would have been extremely comfortable. He would have stood out from all others, both in physical appearance and in physical comfort.

And yet, he put on the same lowly garments as all of the people had done, placing himself on their level, even to the point where none could tell if he were king or pauper. And even more, we are told that he sat upon ashes. It was a sign that he understood that the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah was due.

When one sits on a throne, it is because they have a right to that throne. To sit in ashes then implies that being reduced to ashes was his just due. In assuming this position, it was then a petition for mercy. “I understand what I deserve, the fiery judgment of God, and I acknowledge that. Thine will be done.” The actions of the king are the greatest acts of humility that he could perform.

In the Bible, we read about another such occasion. Jesus laid aside His own garments in the most incredible demonstration of humility ever performed in the stream of time… time that He created. In the first, He set aside His glorious garments of divinity which He bore from eternity past, coming in the appearance of a Man. His divine splendor was hidden from sight. But He went further. At the last supper, He set aside His earthly garments to serve in the lowest manner of all…

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.” John 13:3-5

The symbolism of the King of Nineveh setting aside his robes was prophetically realized and yet outmatched by the King of kings setting aside his own robes to humble Himself. In the first instance, an earthly king set aside a beautiful robe before the King of the universe. In the second instance, the King of the universe set aside His divine robes, and then even His common garments in submission before the beings He created.

Garments so rich and beautiful; those of a King
Radiant in splendor and in majesty
To this One, all hearts should joyfully sing
Robed in glory and of divine pageantry

And yet, they were set aside by this marvelous God
The robes common to all men, He did don
And among the sons of men, this One did trod
Yes, in the garments of flesh which he put on

And in those garments, He came to serve
The lowest position of all He took upon Himself for us
From His duties assigned by the Father, never did He swerve
And so all understanding souls hail the Name of Jesus

II. The King’s Decree (verses 7-9)

And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh

va’yazeq va’yomer b’nineveh – “And cried and spoke in Nineveh.” These words are in response to Jonah’s cry. Jonah cried out, and the king responds with his own cry. It would be in the form of proclamation and an edict in writing. The proclamation would be for all ears to hear, and the published edict, for all eyes to see. It was to be done so throughout all of Nineveh so that no person could be exempt from the word.

Despite having humbled himself before God and having stepped away from his throne and his robe for humility’s sake, he still bore the authority of the kingship over the people. And so it was with Christ. Despite having humbled Himself and having stepped away from both His throne and His divine appearance, He still bore the authority of His kingship. It makes His actions all the more remarkable when this is properly considered.

7 (con’t) by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying,

mi’taam ha’melek u-gedolav lemor – “by the taste (of) the king, and the whopping ones, saying…” The word taam indicates a taste, and thus it extends to what is tasteful to a person. And so it can indicate a mandate, a decree, and the like. The use of the word in Hebrew to mean a “decree” is unique to this verse. However, the cognate word in Aramaic is found in both Ezra and Daniel with this same meaning.

Therefore, it shows that the author was acquainted with this personally. It is a beautiful touch of confirmation that Jonah was indeed the person who was called to Nineveh, and the person who recorded the account for us. This is also the last use of it in the noun form in the Old Testament.

Another confirmation of sorts concerning the truth of the account is that the decree is sent out, not merely by the king, but also by his nobles. This corresponds to how the functioning of these eastern governments issued edicts, unlike those in Israel which were issued solely under the king’s authority. Again, it is a nice touch of the reliability of the story.

7 (con’t) Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything;

ha’adam v’ha’behemah ha’baqar v’ha’tson al yitamu me-umah – “the man and the beast, the herd and the flock, no taste anything.” The noun taam used above to indicate the taste, or decree, of the king is a variant of the verb taam, or taste, for man and beast here. His taam forbids their taam. The tasting of food and water, for both man and beast is forbidden.

This verse has been called ridiculous, extreme, and even comical by liberal scholars. They tear apart the story of Jonah over verse after verse, but they really tear it apart with certain verses. This is one of them.

Here is a portion of the less than insightful commentary in the preface to Jonah in the liberally biased translation, The New Oxford Annotated Bible –

The book of Jonah is also uncharacteristic, when compared to other writings in the prophetic tradition, in its use of humor to make its points. Humorous qualities, such as exaggerated behavior (running away from God); never mind that the apostles did this – “inappropriate actions (sleeping through a violent storm); – never mind that Jesus did that too – outlandish situations (offering a prayer of thanksgiving from inside a fish’s belly); what better place to pray? ludicrous commands (animals must fast and wear sackcloth); and emotions either contrary to expectation (anger at mercy) or out of proportion (being angry enough to die because a plant has withered) appear throughout the story.” (Crummy scholars at Oxford).

However, even those who accept the Bible for what it is, and not just a ludicrous story, have trouble understanding the words of this verse. But what seems extreme to us, doesn’t really seem extreme if we just pay attention to our own habits.

When a president or former president dies, or when any great dignitary or wealthy person dies, family and friends are not the only ones covered in mourning cloth. Instead even the animals are. The presidential horse, Sergeant York, is adorned in black, and the shoes of the dead president are hung backwards over it.

What brute beasts cannot learn of God’s judgment through reason, they are still expected to learn at the hand of the master through the wearing of the sackcloth and the withholding of their food. And the words are all-encompassing. The animals mentioned include every animal possessed by the people. None were to be exempt. The king understood the people’s customs always included their animals, And so how much more should their repentance include them.

7 (con’t) do not let them eat, or drink water.

al yiru u-mayim al yishtu – “no do feed and water, no drink.” 

It is clear from the Bible that the beasts of the earth share in the sins of man, and they thus share in the mercies that God shows towards man. If a city is to be destroyed, the beasts were not exempt. If the city was to be saved, the beasts would share in that salvation.

But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God;

Va’yitkasu saqim ha’adam v’ha’behemah v’yiqre-u el elohim b’khazeqah – “And be covered sacks the man and the beast and cry unto God with might.” The verse is clear that both man and beast were to cry unto God. This is the last of six uses of the word khozqah in the Bible. It indicates with strength or force. Their cries were to be sharp and strong, even so that the city would resound with the wails.

It is also the last time that sackcloth will be mentioned in the Old Testament. There is a call to repentance which is being answered by a pagan king which is being remarkably used by the Lord to show His erring people, Israel, how they too should act, or to relay to them that the consequences of their own failure to act lie solely with them.

The words of this verse are directly contrasted to what Isaiah records concerning the people of Jerusalem during the time when destruction lay ahead. Nineveh is donning sackcloth, and is in a state of complete repentance, even to the covering of their animals in sackcloth. Isaiah records exactly the opposite in Jerusalem –

““And in that day the Lord God of hosts
Called for weeping and for mourning,
For baldness and for girding with sackcloth.
13 But instead, joy and gladness,
Slaying oxen and killing sheep,
Eating meat and drinking wine:
Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
14 Then it was revealed in my hearing by the Lord of hosts,
Surely for this iniquity there will be no atonement for you,
Even to your death,” says the Lord God of hosts.”” Isaiah 22:12-14

They not only failed to mourn and repent, they held a party and feasted on the animals that were left to them. Nineveh, instead of feasting on their beasts, covered them and had them cry out to God. On the surface, though, this doesn’t seem to make sense. How can beasts be trained to cry unto God? However, it naturally follows from the deprivation of food and water. The Bible will explain itself on this. In the book of Joel, for example, it says –

The beasts of the field also cry out to You,
For the water brooks are dried up,
And fire has devoured the open pastures.” Joel 1:20

The fasting was to continue until the beasts themselves raised their voices and cried out to God. The king understood that the beasts would either cry along with the humans in involuntary restrained feeding and directed humility, or they would cry along with man in destruction imposed upon them by the judgment of God.

8 (con’t) yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.

v’yashuvu ish mi’darko ha’raah u-min he-khamas asher b’kapehem – “and let turn man from way the evil, and from the violence that in their hands.” Again, these words are given in direct contrast to the words of Isaiah concerning Israel. He uses the exact same term to describe them as the king of Nineveh uses –

Their webs will not become garments,
Nor will they cover themselves with their works;
Their works are works of iniquity,
And the act of violence is in their hands.” Isaiah 59:6

Where the king of Nineveh was concerned about the violence in the hands of the people, the hands of those in Israel were filled with it and yet they were unconcerned over it.

In this verse, it specifies the evil ways and violence of the people rather than the animals. But this doesn’t mean that the animals were not involved in those acts of wickedness. In at least two ways, they were probably implicated, and the king knowing this, would have been all the more desirous of their being brought into the same state of humility as the people.

First, they were used in sacrifices to the false gods of the people. The king, hearing the proclamation from Jonah, would have come to understand that the true God was calling them to account.

Secondly, what is contrary to nature itself, and that which is ingrained in the human psyche, is the wickedness of bestiality. At least five times in the Law of Moses we read about this crime –

Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion.” Leviticus 18:23

Mandating that the animals wear sackcloth makes total sense when one realizes that Nineveh’s wickedness surely included this crime along with the crime of sacrificing their animals to false gods. In order to show complete humility at their actions, even the animals, which participated in the people’s wickedness, were clothed in sackcloth. Such perversions, along with all other acts of violence and wickedness, were to be mourned over and repented of.

Who can tell if God will turn and relent,

mi yodea yashuv v’nikham ha’elohim – “Who can know will turn and sigh the God.” The king of Nineveh saw that there would be nothing to lose in abasing himself and his kingdom in order to be saved. The simplicity of the message, the Hebrew foreigner who cried it out, and the weight of the conscience in his mind all spoke to the fact that there was no other option than turning away from the course they had followed.

In this verse, we have the second use of the term ha’elohim, or “the God” in the book of Jonah. In this chapter, in verse 5 and verse 8, it simply said “God.” However now the king specifically states, “the God.” It is an acknowledgment that even if there are lesser gods, there is One true God. This supreme God has called for destruction on Nineveh, and so it is to Him, that his words are directed. This is in the proclamation which has been sent to all the people of the kingdom.

It is astonishing to me that no Bible translation properly translates this article when it is used. It is showing us a fundamental truth that is found in every culture on earth. Man may not have a right understanding of who God is, but man understands enough to know that there is “the God” above all other gods.

Although the Ninevites didn’t have the prophetic word other than five words uttered from the mouth of Jonah, God’s general revelation of Himself is still written on the hearts of men. We can deduce things about Him without ever having His full revelation.

And so, with just these five words to convict them and to speak to their hearts, the people have – as a whole, and as directed by their highest leader – demonstrated that they understand enough about this One God to know that He is not only a God of wrath.

They had rain for their crops, they had flowers with countless colors and smells to delight their senses. They had the familiarity of the sun passing over their heads to warm them and illuminate their way during each day. They also had the twinkling of the stars above their heads at night, and the cool breezes to ease the trials of the work day which was behind them.

From these, and ten thousand other hints of His divine grace, they knew that He must be loving and that He must then also be merciful. Each undeserved blessing of creation spoke to them of these things, and so the five terrifying words of this prophet were expected not to be their end, but rather their turning point. And in their turning, hope for another such turning was laid forth…

9 (con’t) and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?

v’shav me’kharon apo v’lo noved – “and turn from burning away, and no perish.” It is no small thing that the words of this pagan king are almost identical to the words of the Lord Himself as directed to the people of Israel.

Now, therefore,” says the Lord,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
13 So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.
14 Who knows if He will turn and relent,
And leave a blessing behind Him—
A grain offering and a drink offering
For the Lord your God?” Joel 2:12-14

The Lord, demonstrating his nature in the words of Joel, was confirming that same nature to Israel as His words were passed on to them. Even though Nineveh only received words of assured judgment, the very fact that the words were uttered showed that mercy could be found.

Thus, He is a hoped-for God of mercy to the pagan world, and He is an avowed God of mercy to His people. If we can know that we are violating His standards and are worthy of condemnation, just as the book of Romans tells us, then we can also know that He is capable of forgiving those transgressions and showing mercy. The people of Nineveh figured this out and called on the true God to turn and relent.

Gracious and merciful is the unseen God
How surely this is evident to all people if they will but look
Radiant flowers adorn the paths that we trod
And tender grass is to be found by the brook

The summer brings crops in abundance from the earth
And the fall brings relief from the summer’s heat
Even winter is never a time grace is in famine or dearth
The winter to every youthful heart is a wonderful treat

Each meal we have comes from His gracious hand
In abundance or lack, can we then complain?
Why is it so hard for the sons of man to understand?
That God has ordained it all – both joy and pain

He does this so that we will seek Him while He may be found
In all ways, if we but look, we see His goodness does abound

III. Then God Saw Their Works (verse 10)

10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way;

vayar ha’elohim eth maasehem ki shavu mi’darkam ha’raah – “And saw the God the works of them that they turned from the way the evil.” The king had pondered if “the God” would relent of his destructive intent. They had set forth their works of repentance, and they had turned from the evil path which they had trod for far too long.

Their path was evil, but their turn was more than just to another wayward path. Instead, it was a full turn to one which was directed to God and to His throne of mercy. How unlike Israel whose necks continuously remained, and which to this day still remain, stiff-necked toward this same God.

The contrast of what is placed before us is as clear as the finest crystal. The wine in the cup which was mixed for Nineveh on this day was one which was intended for salvation, not destruction. The cup of which Israel would drink after hearing of the sign of the prophet Jonah, on the other hand, would be just the opposite. They would reject the good and receive the bad.

The name of Jonah, being intimately connected to the word yayin, or wine, is showing us exactly what wine signifies in Scripture. It is the merging together of grapes which is intended to result in the thing that ought to happen, symbolized by wine. Jonah spoke, and that which ought to happen has come about. Jesus spoke, and the thing that He prophesied would occur likewise came about.

The final words of the chapter confirm that “the God” did, in fact, relent towards Nineveh. They acted; He responded. Salvation, even if just temporal in nature, came to Nineveh.

*10 (fin) and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.

va’yinakhem ha’elohim al ha’raah asher dibber la’asot la’hem v’lo asah – “And sighed the God of the evil that he had said to do to them, and no did.” Again, the term “the God” is used in this verse. This is speaking of the true God, and the wording is anthropomorphic. The Bible, at times, ascribes human traits to God so that we can understand what has occurred.

God did not relent from the destruction that He had purposed to carry out. Rather, He did not do what He had threatened to do. The threatening was conditional based on the actions of the people. He knew what their actions would be and therefore, there was no change in Him, except from our perspective.

Finally, it is to be noted that the term “God” alone has been used in relation to the Ninevites in this chapter. Unlike chapter 1 where the sailors did call on the Lord, Yehovah, these people have only been placed under the mercy of God. They have not come to understand the covenant name of Yehovah as the sailors did.

This repentance then, even if it was temporary, showed a willingness by the Gentile peoples to accept the Word of God as it was minimally revealed to them. Through that word, they turned from their wicked ways, thus allowing God to demonstrate mercy towards them.

It is an anticipatory picture of the time when Israel would wholly turn from the true God as He revealed Himself in the Person of Jesus, and that this covenant of grace would be directed away from Israel and towards the Gentile people of the world.

He is proving, here and now, that He is the God of both Jew and Gentile. Any who will accept His word, and His revelation of Himself, can be called into a covenant relationship with Him. And this is exactly what occurred in Christ. A New Covenant was established through His shed blood. It is a covenant based on grace alone.

Even with a minimal understanding of the work of Jesus Christ, one can be saved. The gospel is for the neurosurgeon and for the numbskull alike. Whatever level of education, or lack of it, that we possess, we are all welcome by a mere act of faith. So don’t muddy the waters when witnessing. Keep the gospel message simple, and keep it understandable.

The Word of God has come. He has walked among us, and He asks us to believe that He is capable of saving us, not because we deserve it, but because He is the God of grace and mercy. If nothing else demonstrates this to us, surely the cross of Christ must.

God was willing to turn from the destruction of Nineveh because they turned from their evil ways. How much more will God save us from His wrath when we accept the punishment which He has already carried out in His own Son for those who believe? Let us not fail in calling out to Him and receiving the greater salvation which comes from the shed blood of Calvary’s cross.

Closing Verse: “Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10

Next Week: Jonah 4:1-4 Never think that His goodness is odd. He is… (A Gracious and Merciful God) (9th Jonah Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean rages against you and is ready to swallow you up, He can send delivery to you in the most remarkable of ways. So follow Him and trust Him, and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Repentance of Nineveh

So the people of Nineveh believed God
Proclaimed a fast; sackcloth they put on
From the greatest to the least of them
These garments of humility they did don

Then word came to the king of Nineveh
And he arose from his throne
And laid aside his robe
Covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes
His humility was openly shown

And he caused it to be proclaimed
And published throughout Nineveh
By the decree of the king and his nobles, saying
Yes, these are the words he did say

Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything
Do not let them eat, or drink water
Nothing to your lips you shall bring

But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth
And cry mightily to God; we know He understands
Yes, let everyone turn from his evil way
And from the violence that is in his hands

Who can tell if God will turn and relent
And turn away from His fierce anger
So that we may not perish; so that mercy can be sent

Then God saw their works
That they turned from their evil way
And God relented from the disaster that He had said
He would bring upon them, and He did not do it that day

Lord God, how gracious You are to save those who will but turn
If we abandon the reckless path which we are on
Help us to think on this, and then to learn
Before the number of our days is expired and gone

Now, yes now is the time of salvation
And to You with hearts grateful and full we turn
Praises to You, O God, from the grateful nation
Of people from all lands, whose hearts for You burn

Thank You for Christ Jesus our Lord
And for the gospel message found in Your superior word

Hallelujah and Amen…

Jonah 3:1-4 (The Sign of Jonah)

Jonah 3:1-4
The Sign of Jonah

Why did Jonah decide it was better to just go to Nineveh?
A: He learned that he couldn’t trust the ocean. There was just something fishy about it.

I’m sure you’ve heard the term, “God is a God of second chances.” Although it sounds a bit cliché, it really is the truth. I know I’ve been given second, third, and fourth chances in my life, and I’ll bet that in eternity I’ll see where the Lord intervened in my on-going trek in a million ways I never realized. Surely we all will see it the same way.

Things surround us that we don’t even know are there, and which would otherwise be where we meet our end. This kind of thing is seen in movies all the time. In the movie Next with Nicolas Cage, he plays the part of a Las Vegas magician, and he has a secret which others are unaware of.

He can see a few minutes into the future. By seeing what is coming, he can the make adjustments in the surrounding events so that what would have happened would then be prevented and a new course in time would occur.

Although well into the realm of science fiction, it is not at all improbable that events in our lives are also affected by those who know what an outcome would otherwise be. They then work to ensure that the plan God has laid out is what will ultimately happen. Does that sound improbable?

Well, it may sound fantastic, but it is in accord with the word of God. We read in Hebrews 13:2 “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” What is that verse speaking of?

Well, as a sort of pun, I gave an idea to a Christian artist who used to do a daily comic on things in the Bible. My suggestion was to draw a guy named Harold who is so clumsy that the angels would follow him around. They would laugh at him always tripping, or flubbing up, and thus they would be entertained by him. Poor Harold.

However, that is not what is being spoken of here. Instead, it is speaking of us, our conduct, and how it is being monitored by angels. It may be as tests of our faith and character, not in the sense that God needed to know about that. Rather, it is in the sense of building up our faith and in strengthening us in our spiritual lives.

It may also be in the sense of redirecting our very actions in order to effect a change in what would otherwise have occurred. If we unwittingly entertain angels, it means that they have entered our presence for a reason which we were otherwise unaware of, and this entry has now redirected the fabric of what our lives would have been.

We’re not alone, and God is actively working to save many people alive. He works through nature, He works through angels, and He’s worked personally in other ways for each of us – whether we acknowledge it or not.

In my case, at least as far as salvation is concerned, He sent a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses to me in the store I owned. Regardless of the source – they were certainly not angels – He was able to use people not even in His own fold to bring me to the point where I determined to read the Bible and find out whether its claims were true or not.

They are, and I was graciously not only granted salvation, but also relief from the clutches of those who would keep me from it, meaning the very people who came to tell me of their twisted version of His word. Surely angels were there in that store, directing me unwittingly toward the Lord and away from the deception of the JW’s. I was given a second chance at life that day. In the case of Jonah, he was given a second chance too. In his opening commentary to Jonah chapter 3, Matthew Henry says –

See here the nature of repentance; it is the change of our mind and way, and a return to our work and duty. Also, the benefit of affliction; it brings those back to their place who had deserted it. See the power of Divine grace, for affliction of itself would rather drive men from God, than draw them to him. God’s servants must go where he sends them, come when he calls them, and do what he bids them; we must do whatever the word of the Lord commands.” Matthew Henry

We will get a bit of repetition from a previous sermon today concerning what is, in fact, the sign of Jonah. I’ll explain a couple of reasons for repeating this at that time, but if for no other reason, repetition helps solidify things in our memory bank. Also, repetition helps solidify things in our memory bank. I hope you will remember that .

Text Verse: Take words with you, And return to the LORD. Say to Him, “Take away all iniquity; Receive us graciously, For we will offer the sacrifices of our lips. Assyria shall not save us,
We will not ride on horses, Nor will we say anymore to the work of our hands, ‘You are our gods.’ For in You the fatherless finds mercy.” Hosea 14:2, 3

Whether a fatherless child, a disobedient nation of covenant people, or a great city filled with pagans who have filled their lives with wickedness and idolatry, the Lord can and will be merciful to those who turn away from their wickedness. This is the lesson to be found in the 10 verses of Chapter 3, and it is a lesson which permeates all of Scripture. Yes, it’s all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. According to the Word of the Lord (verses 1-3)

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying,

vay’hi devar Yehovah el yonah shneit lemor – “And came word Yehovah unto Jonah second saying.” The words are practically identical to Jonah 1:1. Only the words “son of Amittai” are replaced with the word “second.”

We know now which Jonah is being referred to, and so the relationship to his father is unnecessary. And we have been with him on his wayward journey, and so the word “second” reminds us that he could have avoided all of the misery of the previous chapters if he had simply been obedient at the first.

There would be no stink of fish guts on him, there would be no need for fresh clothes, and the guilt of the memory of having been first disobedient to the Lord and to his calling would not haunt his memory in the years to come.

But these things were necessary in order to give us the pictures of Christ which we have so far seen. They were also necessary to bring about the salvation of those pagan salty sailors who had now found the one true God and had received His grace.

It should not be without note that a later apostle had also been out of the Lord’s favor and was eventually restored. Peter, or Simon son of Jonah, had followed a wayward path, but he too was reinstated into a right relationship with Christ. In both cases, the name Jonah has been introduced to show this, and to teach us a lesson concerning God’s sovereignty and His mercy.

Whether Jonah himself, or Simon bar Jonah, meaning the Apostle Peter, the vacillating of the dove’s flight was seen in both, and yet, they both met the end which was determined by the Lord. What marvelous pictures of Gentile redemption are seen in Jonah of the Old Testament, and what marvelous truths of Israel’s final redemption are seen in Simon bar Jonah’s of the New Testament!

Between the writings which surround these two men, both Jew and Gentile are shown a great and enduring hope which is realized in the Messiah of the Jews, and who is also the Christ of the Gentiles. In Him, there is hope enough for all.

Concerning this verse now, some scholars go into great detail, speculating that Jonah went down to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord and pay his vows in order to be restored before going to Nineveh. Such commentary is completely unnecessary and is without any merit. The record is left simple and direct.

The narrative goes directly from the end of chapter 2 with the vomiting of him onto the dry land right into the second call of the Lord for him to get about his business in Nineveh. Jonah had been given a commission, he was disobedient to it, he suffered because of it, and he has now been given the commission again. The insertion of such comments only detracts from the simple and beautiful narrative which we have been presented.

“Arise, go to Nineveh,

qum lek el Nineveh– “Arise go unto Nineveh.” It is the exact same words as Jonah 1:2. As we saw, Nineveh was founded by Nimrod and was located on the east bank of the Tigris River. In and shortly after the time of Jonah, it was at its zenith in power and glory.

The name Nineveh, to a Hebrew, would mean “Offspring’s Habitation.” It is to this city, filled with Gentiles, that Jonah is directed once again to go to. If you remember, on his first call, he opted instead to go to Tarshish which means something like “White Dove,” or “Dove White.”

The characteristics of Nineveh, or “Offspring’s Habitation,” seemed unsuitable to his tastes, whereas Tarshish had at least a semblance of familiarity to him. Why would this be? Aren’t they both just Gentile nations who are equally unworthy of his presence as a Jew? Well, not exactly. Tarshish was a descendant of Japheth, the oldest son of Noah, and the one who was given a like-blessing to Shem with the words –

May God enlarge Japheth,
And may he dwell in the tents of Shem;
And may Canaan be his servant.” Genesis 9:27

On the other hand, Nineveh was a city built by Nimrod, a descendant of Ham, Noah’s youngest. He received no such blessing. He had done something perverted to his father, and so his father withheld any blessing upon him, and instead cursed Ham’s own youngest son, Canaan.

Jonah saw it better to flee to one who would dwell in the tents of Shem, than to preach the Lord’s repentance to a line of such disgraceful people as those in Nineveh. Surely the Lord had forgotten such a simple thing!

Jonah had been confident that it was better to go to Tarshish than to Nineveh. Tarshish, being a son of Japheth, was far more tolerable to him than was a descendant of Ham. Like the Jews decisions about meals even today – anything but Ham. However, he is now, once again, directed to be on his way, even if it means dining with Ham – perish the thought!

2 (con’t) that great city,

ha’ir ha’gedolah – “the city, the whopping.” Again, these are the exact same words as Jonah 1:2. It may appear superfluous that such a descriptor would be used a second time, but it is not. One might think the Lord would simply say, “Arise, go to Nineveh” and leave it at that. However, the repetition is given to highlight several things.

First, it is intended to accentuate the superlative greatness of the city. In so doing, and in the message that is being sent to it, the surpassing greatness of the Lord is then actually highlighted. If this city is so great, and the Lord is calling it to repentance or destruction, then the greatness of the Lord is actually what is on display.

Secondly, it is a reminder to Jonah of the importance of his message. Within a city are people. If the city is to be destroyed, the people will, likewise, be destroyed. The care of the Lord for these Gentiles then is being highlighted by the greatness of the city itself.

Thirdly, highlighting the city’s greatness is intended to bolster Jonah’s resolve in what lies ahead. The magnitude of the commission he has been given could be a source of fear within him, but because the Lord has highlighted it in advance, Jonah is given the assurance that the way has already been paved for him. It is the Lord and His word which will break open that which should be broken open.

And fourthly, if such a great city is to be called to repentance and it does not respond and is destroyed, why would the lesser cities of Israel be spared for their similar waywardness? And if such a great city is to be called to repentance, and if it then responds and is not destroyed, then how much greater should the judgement upon the cities of Israel be when they fail to likewise respond? Remember these questions, because they bear directly on Chapter 4.

Israel had been given the law, and with that law came greater, not lesser, responsibility towards the Lord. The law which they possessed was not a buffer from destruction, but it rather highlighted that destruction was due if they ignored it. As Jesus said in Luke 12:47, 48 –

And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”

Repeating the term, “that great city” is not superfluous at all. Instead it is key to understanding much of what is going on elsewhere in Scripture. And in connection with that key is the fact that all of this story actually centers on Israel, even though they are never once mentioned in the entire book. Israel is the focus.

How marvelously evident that will be when we come to the final chapter, the final paragraph, and yes – even the final sentence of the book of Jonah. Israel was, is, and will be the overall focus of God’s attention in redemptive history, and yet due to their actions, all highlighted by disobedient Jonah, the Gentiles are graciously given the chance at repentance and entry into the commonwealth of Israel. Marvelous! Marvelous indeed!

2 (con’t) and preach to it the message that I tell you.”

viqra eleha eth ha’qeriah asher anokhi dober elekha – “And cry to the crying that I am about to speak unto you.” There is a change in the words here from Jonah 1:2. There it said, u-qera aleha. Now it says viqra eleha. The first cry, aleha, is against Nineveh, this now is a cry, elehah, or unto Nineveh. Why has the Lord done this?

The reason for the change is not stated, and commentators, if they comment at all, give no valid reason. The Greek translation of the Old Testament translates them both the same. Either way, the words of the Greek Old Testament use close parallel words to those of the Hebrew which are then given their full weight and understanding in the New Testament.

The word qeriah, or “cry of proclamation,” is used only this once in the entire Bible. However, its root, qara, meaning to call or proclaim, is a commonly used word. Jonah, was to be a herald with a specific message, one of repentance. I would suggest that the new and unique terminology is based on what has already occurred.

He is to cry unto, rather than crying against Nineveh, and he is given this special type of crying unto them because of the sudden and complete change in the sailors of chapter 1. Unlike the covenant people of Israel, who were given a continuous crying from countless prophets, and yet they continuously rejected the word, the Gentiles had been given a short and succinct message… and they had accepted it.

If they were so quick to respond, the pattern might surely be expected for other Gentiles as well. Could it not? And so instead of crying out against Nineveh, Jonah is now instructed to cry out unto Nineveh. And the cry will be one of expectation in a positive change in the people.

John the Baptist was such a crier, as was Jesus Himself. And Jesus, while instructing the people, brought up the very cry that He had given to Jonah to proclaim many generations before. In Luke 11, we read His words –

And while the crowds were thickly gathered together, He began to say, “This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. 30 For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation. 31 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.” Luke 11:29-32

Jonah’s qeriah here in the Hebrew, or kerygma, as it is called in the Greek, was a “cry of proclamation” for repentance. The response to his cry, is set in stark contrast to that of Jesus’ greater cry to the people of Israel.

In both instances, it is the word of the Lord which is proclaimed. In the case of Jonah, he is to call out the words which the Lord would put into his mouth. In the case of Jesus, they are of the same Source. The words He spoke are the words of the Lord, because He is one and the same Lord who first sent Jonah to speak by putting His words into the prophet’s mouth.

Again, we are seeing this remarkable contrast between Israel and the Gentiles being highlighted in these subtle nuances which one would never see unless we really took the time to evaluate every word and every detail.

So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh,

va’yaqam yonah va’yelek el Nineveh – “So arose Jonah and went unto Nineveh.” The words are in direct contrast to Jonah 1:3. “So Jonah arose to flee,” is now, “So Jonah went.” The Lord told him to arise, and he arose.

He was instructed to go to Nineveh, and he had fled to Tarshish. Now he is instructed to go to Nineveh, and to Nineveh he goes. The smell of the inside of the great fish was probably still clinging to him, and he wanted no more of that.

What the Lord wills is what will be. Jonah had learned a lesson that many of us still stubbornly refuse to learn. We can buck against the word of the Lord, but it is we who will ultimately pay the price for doing so. In the end, His will is what will be realized. Jonah’s willingness to disobey is turned into a willingness to obey.

3 (con’t) according to the word of the Lord.

kidbar Yehovah – “according to word Yehovah.” This is the last of 33 times this phrase is used in the Bible. It is usually associated with obedience, but it is occasionally used in conjunction with the fulfillment of a prophecy based on the consequences of disobedience. Sometimes it’s used in conjunction with the necessity to obey difficult issues, such as destroying life.

Again, the words are directly contrasted to Jonah 1:3. There it said, “from the face of the Lord.” Now it says, “according to the word of the Lord.” The words of these opening verses in each chapter are precisely stated to show us the contrast between futile disobedience, and resolute obedience.

Yehovah has spoken, and Jonah understands that His word is to be accepted and acted upon. Though Jonah is a prophet of God, receiving the word of the Lord directly, he is no different than Israel who was directly given the word of the Lord. Like Jonah, they bucked against the word, and they were exiled in order to bring them into conformity with that word.

Here Jonah is Israel being called from disobedience to obedience. And so, astonishingly, his rebellion and time in the fish is not only a picture of Jesus and His cross as we saw in the past two sermons, but it is also a picture of Israel while under punishment for rejecting the word of the Lord.

They were cast among the sea of chaos, meaning the stirred up Gentile nations and they were counted as dead to the world. And yet, they were sovereignly protected as a people during that time, keeping them alive despite their disobedience, just as Jonah was protected in the fish’s belly.

They were kept safe for two days, or two thousand years, and they were restored to the dry land, meaning Israel, at the dawning of the third day, or at the beginning of the third millennium. This is seen pictured in the words of Hosea where a day is reckoned a thousand years –

Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.” Hosea 6:1, 2

And yet now, Jonah is also a type of Christ who had to do the calling of the Gentiles Himself, because Israel refused to do it as was their duty. Only the true Israel, Christ, performed according to the word of the Lord without wavering.

As far as obedience to the word, can we expect any less from the Lord today? We have the entire body of Scripture speaking out to us, asking us to be obedient to it. It is the same word, having come from the same Source. Such directed actions as exile or being swallowed by a fish may not happen to us, but consequences for failure to heed are no less sure to come in their due time.

3 (con’t) Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city,

v’nineveh hayetah ir gedolah l’elohim – “And Nineveh existed as city whopping to God.” Most translations follow the Hebrew as indicating this in the past tense – “Nineveh was an exceedingly great city.” This is not incorrect, but it leads to the impression that the account may have been written after the time of Jonah when it has already declined in power, or even after it was destroyed.

However, the past tense in Hebrew is not expected to be taken in that way. The word used simply means “to become” or “come to pass.” It was a great city, not because it once was, but because it had come to pass that it was so. The past tense expresses the reality of the city’s nature from the time that it became great.

The meaning of the term the Bible uses to describe the city, gedolah l’elohim, or “whopping to God,” is debated, but it is not really difficult to determine. Greatness before God, as the Bible states it, can be divided into two categories.

Terms like, “the mountains of God,” or “the cedars of God” give the idea of the greatness of what God has created. Such mountains or trees are examples of the handiwork of God which demonstrate His immense ability to create.

And then there is that which is under the eye and attention of God. Even today, we hear terms like, “He is a great man of God.” We understand that such a person bears the scrutiny of God, and excels before Him. Nineveh was this way as a city. It wasn’t just a great city in the eyes of men, but it was a great city in the eyes of God.

In Revelation, Jerusalem is called a great city – both the earthly and the heavenly Jerusalem. Likewise, Babylon is termed a great city numerous times. Both are great before God, because they bear His scrutiny. Nineveh is not merely a great city before men, but it is also such before God. Its size and its status brought it to His eyes…

3 (con’t) a three-day journey in extent. 

mahalakh sheloshet yamim – “Journey three days.” The word mahalakh, or journey, is used but four times in the Bible. Two of them are in Jonah 3:3 and 3:4. It indicates a passage or a distance. In the case of Nineveh, Matthew Poole states that it was…

“…the greatest city of the known world at that day; it was then in its flourishing state greater than Babylon, whose compass was three hundred and sixty-five or three hundred and eighty-five furlongs, but Nineveh was in compass four hundred and eighty, her walls a hundred feet in height, and broad enough for three coaches to meet and safely pass by each other; it had fifteen hundred towers on its walls, and these towers two hundred feet high; and one million and four hundred thousand men employed continually for eight years to build it, if our author be not mistaken.”

If it was 480 furlongs, or about 60 miles in circumference, and a day was about a 20 mile walk, then the Bible is saying that it would take three days to walk around it. The city is known for its size in this manner, not in regards to what will be said in the next verse.

Yet forty days and you shall see your last
I have stated that your wickedness is at an end
On you, my fiery coals I will cast
Upon you my fury and wrath I will send

Your wickedness has come up before me
It stands and confesses against what you have done
You will be destroyed for this; so shall it be
You have exalted yourself, but you are the lowly one

Be prepared, for it comes soon enough
Unless you repent; yes I will grant you reprieve
But your heart is hard, your stubborn will is tough
Turn now and repent; turn now and believe

I long to have compassion upon you
If you repent, so I shall do

II. A Word to Nineveh; A Sign to Israel (verse 4)

And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk.

Va’yakhel yonah lavow ba’ir mahalakh yom ekhad – “And entered Jonah into the city, journey day one.” If the city’s walls were a three-day walk, one could walk its diameter in a day. But it would make no sense to enter the city and walk right to the other side. Instead, his walk within the city would be according to the size of the city, walking around it and proclaiming his message.

The words then basically mean, “Jonah entered the city, walking through it for a day.” Wherever he was, that was where his proclamation was made. The word “journey” mentioned in verse 3 is simply given to explain the great size of the city. The journey of verse 4 is not expected to be tied into the size of the city, but into the time of Jonah’s proclamation.

*4 (fin) Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”

va’yiqra va’yomar owd abarim yom v’nineveh neh-paket – “And cried and said, ‘Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown.’” Just five words; words of terror… but also words of grace. There is no reason to think that Jonah said anything more than these five words. He simply called it out as a statement of fact. And what could have more of an effect than this?

A Hebrew had come all the way from a foreign land to walk around the city and make a single proclamation to the people. If he wanted to die, it would have been a lot easier to just jump off a mountain. If he wanted security, he could have simply stayed in Israel. If he was a Jew, then he wasn’t an Assyrian, and therefore he had no reason to proclaim a lie to the people.

If he had stopped to debate, they would have had a reason to harden their hearts. If he had said more, the message would have become confused. The chosen person is the perfect person to carry the message, and the chosen words are exactly what was needed to effect the change in the hearts of the people. The call itself was all that was needed to prompt them to consider the truth of the message. It is a lesson for us to keep the gospel simple.

The word he uses is the same as that which was recorded for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is a story that permeated Hebrew culture as the epitome of what it represented. If any in Assyria knew the culture, they would then also know the meaning of the word.

As far as the allotted time-frame, forty days is given as a time of probation. If the message took hold, then there would be a turning to God and, hopefully, no destruction. If the message failed to stir the people, only destruction could result.

This then is the sign of Jonah. I explained this in an earlier sermon. The sign is not Jonah’s time in the belly of the fish. There is nothing in Scripture to even hint that they knew of what happened to Jonah, and what Scripture says is all that matters. Rather, as Jesus clearly states in the Gospel of Luke, the preaching of Jonah is the sign, just as Jesus’ preaching to the people was the sign.

Jonah preached and promised destruction in 40 days. Jesus preached and promised destruction as well. It was realized in a year-for-day based on Jonah’s words, of which Jesus alluded to. This also happened in Moses’ time with the spies who returned with a bad report. They rejected the word of the Lord, and they were sentenced a day for a year of punishment.

As I said in the earlier sermon, it appears that Matthew is saying that the sign of Jonah was that of him being in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. And all along, almost all scholars have passed this along as being the case. This is because after saying this, He said He would be likewise in the belly of the earth.

In other words, with a cursory look at the narrative, the sign seems to be is His death and resurrection. But Luke leaves out both the timeframe and the entire account of the fish. When he does this, he clears up the context – that the sign of Jonah is his preaching, and what that preaching stated… that destruction was decreed in 40 days. Looking at these verses in their proper light clearly shows that the preaching to the Ninevites was the sign. We saw that in Luke 11 which I cited earlier.

The sign of Jonah is the preaching, which if rejected, would lead to destruction after 40 days. The resurrection simply bears witness to the truth of Jesus’ preaching, which was to an already unbelieving people.

Jesus’ words of the kingdom and of repentance to “this generation” are the ultimate sign to them. Other prophets spoke in the name of the Lord, but Jesus spoke in His own name, and under His own authority as the Son, and so – “indeed a greater than Jonah is here.”

The warning to repent or be overthrown turned out to be a day for a year, just as it was in the Old Testament. When Israel disobeyed in the wilderness, they were given a day for a year punishment for every day that the spies were gone. It was 40 days, and thus 40 years of punishment.

In Ezekiel chapter 4, he was told to lay on his right side for 40 days signifying a day for a year of punishment for Judah. He was told to do the same for his left side, but for 390 days. It was a day for a year for the house of Israel. Together, they form the basis for the return of Israel in 1948.

In forty years after Jesus’ words, a day for a year, Israel was destroyed and carried away exile. The Romans came in and did what Nineveh will be spared of. God’s judgment would fall heavy upon them for failing to repent, receive their long-awaited Messiah, and conform to the will of God which is found in the finished work of Jesus Christ. For this reason, Jesus said to the people –

Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.” Matthew 23:34-36

The word of God, spoken to Israel in fulfillment of Scripture, and under the full authority of the Messiah who had been promised since the very beginning of man’s time on the planet, was the sign. The resurrection simply proved it.

Now with having heard this explanation for the second time, hopefully it has sunk into your mind in several ways. First, we are to know what the sign of Jonah is – in a predictive sense, in a literal sense, and in a fulfilled sense.

Secondly, if the sign of Jonah which Christ Jesus spoke of occurred more than 400 years before His coming, and it was then fulfilled 40 years after His warning, exactly as He had stated – and as recorded history, both biblical and extra-biblical – has borne out, then shouldn’t we be confident in all of the other words which the Lord has spoken?

Shouldn’t we be willing to accept the full counsel of Scripture as literal and true? The Lord promised destruction and exile for Israel, yes – it is true, but He also promised return and restoration for them as well. Is it too hard to accept that just as undeserving Nineveh was given a warning leading to repentance, that Israel could likewise be restored to God’s favor?

Should we so adamantly speak against the rebellious Jewish people simply because they are rebellious? Or should we look to God’s longsuffering nature as an amazing testimony that He is willing to go to even the greatest lengths of all to restore those He has called and placed His name upon?

While we stand, pointing our fingers at Israel and railing against them, can’t we look back on our own time before Christ and realize that we too were His enemies – cut off and condemned? We too were without hope, and we weren’t even of His promised people. How much more then should we be willing to praise God for His mercy upon us, and upon Israel – both equally undeserving before His eyes!

For the undeserving, there are just two avenues that can be taken. The first is to accept God’s provision as He determines, or to face God’s wrath as He has proclaimed. In the end, it is the wrath that all deserve. Nobody deserves mercy, and grace is out of reach except as offered by the one who bestows it.

How unfair God is that He would dare to judge the world! But no! How undeserved is not being a part of that judgment! And that time of judgment is at hand. First, it is at hand for every person who is but one heartbeat away from their end. Not one of us knows our pre-appointed hour, but it is on its way.

Secondly, it is at hand for the world as a whole. I am sorry to tell those who mock at God’s right to judge, but the book is written, the word stands firm, and the great Day of His wrath is at hand. The prophecies of restoration to Israel have begun.

Their arrival in the long desolate land is the key to both the destruction and the restoration, and by God! – they are back in the land, setting the stage for each to come about. And so be warned, whether through death of natural cause, or through an explosion of God’s wrath on humanity not seen since the flood of Noah, we are all going to meet our Maker.

Before our day arrives, we have been offered… grace – unmerited favor – just as Nineveh has been offered. Destruction is prophesied, but peace and restoration is available. And it is found in the righteous Judge of all mankind, Jesus Christ. Let us not be found with a verdict of “guilty” on that day. But rather, let us accept the grace and be pardoned of every misdeed through the blood He shed, which alone can purify and restore the guilty soul.

Closing Verse: “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:8, 9

Next Week: Jonah 3:5-10 This coming sermon will be a wonderful feast… (From the Greatest to the Least) (8th Jonah Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean rages against you and is ready to swallow you up, He can send delivery to you in the most remarkable of ways. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Repentance of Nineveh

Now the word of the Lord came
To Jonah the second time, saying
Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city
And preach to it the message that I tell you; one I am relaying

So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh
According to the word of the Lord
Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city
A three-day journey in extent for it to be explored

And Jonah began to enter the city
On the first day’s walk, the Lord’s word he made known
Then he cried out and said
Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”

God has shown us in His precious word
That being obstinate towards Him can only harm us
Instead, we need to bow to our glorious Lord
Giving honor and respect to Christ Jesus

Help us in this Lord, this we implore
Our hearts are so easily turned away
Give us of Your Spirit to overflowing and even more
So that we will bring honor to you always, yes every day

And to You we give all of our highest praise
And to You we shall look for eternal days

Hallelujah and Amen…

Jonah 2:5-10 (Salvation is of the Lord)

Jonah 2:5-10
Salvation is of the Lord

  1. Why should we be encouraged by the story of Jonah and the great fish?
  2. Because Jonah was down in the mouth, but came out all right.

We’ll finish chapter 2 in our sermon today. When looking back on all that has happened, and what is coming today, we can see a pattern repeated many times since. Jonah was called, he fled, he was punished, and he was restored.

If we take a careful look at our own Christian lives, we can probably find many times where this same pattern has been played out in us, and so let’s not be too hard on either Jonah or ourselves as we read his story. We generally follow a course on whatever motivates us.

I didn’t really pursue an education until I was 36. And the reason I did so was because I was motivated towards a desire. I wanted to become a preacher, and the pastor of the church I was at would not ordain me until I got a degree. That is what motivated me. Since then, I’ve followed that course because I am still motivated by it.

Jonah previously followed one course because he was motivated in a certain direction. He, like a dove, will change his course and follow another direction because he is properly motivated to make that change. And so we should, even before looking at today’s verses, think on what motivates the Lord.

Really, think about it. He set out on a course of action because He was motivated to do so. God was under no obligation to save anyone. However, if He was to save anyone, His perfect attributes necessitated that He follow a certain course of action in order to accomplish this task.

That course of action could only end in one way, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Believe it or not, He chose this path because he was motivated to do so. God willingly chose to create man, and then to pursue a path which led to uniting with his creation and dying on a cross in order to redeem the man He had created. That is true motivation! And that is what is pictured in all the rest of the verses of Jonah today.

If that doesn’t humble you… I mean if you are unmoved by the fact that God did what He did because of His love for you, then I can’t imagine what else could ever stir your soul. Jesus Christ is called the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world because God was motivated to redeem the man who He knew… He knew would rebel from Him.

And the entire process of this redemption is centered on one thing and one thing alone, that.precious.Lamb. Jesus Christ was waiting in the wings from the first utterance of creation to accomplish His mission. Fallen man must be saved, and only a Man who is not fallen could do the saving. Thank God for Jesus Christ.

Text Verse: “The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.” Psalm 118:14

The psalmist said that the Lord is his strength and his song. That is fantabulous. He rejoices in the Lord which is a great thing to do. But he also says that the Lord has become his salvation. It’s a play on words because the word “salvation” is a variant of the name of Jesus, which means “salvation.” We were being given a clue as to what God would do. He would become our Jesus, our salvation.

Jonah will tell us the same thing today as well. He was a goner and the Lord rescued him. When there was no hope at all, the Lord stepped in and saved the day. If you think that somehow you merit God’s favor, or that He is under some type of an obligation to save you, think again.

The Lord did not need to send a fish to save Jonah, but once He did, nothing could prevent Him from safely reaching the shore. The symbolism of the fish is an integral part of the plan of the Lord, and the motivation of the Lord is what made it possible.

Personally, I can’t wait to see what it all means. Just what is being pictured in these final six verses of Jonah chapter 2? Well we won’t find out unless we get started. It is all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. Death and Resurrection (verses 5-8)

The waters surrounded me, even to my soul;

aphaphuni mayim ad nephesh – “Compassed about me waters to soul.” Jonah 2:5 and a portion of 2:6 provide us with more vivid descriptions of the danger and distress which he faced. These will then be followed again by a note of deliverance.

The word translated here as “surrounded” is a completely different one than that used in verse 3. There it was savav, a much more common word. Here it is aphaph. This is the last of five times that the word aphaph is used in the Bible. It means to surround or encompass. Whereas the waves of verse 3 surrounded Jonah, swirling about him, the intensity of his situation has now increased greatly. The waters themselves have hold of him and fully surround him, to his very soul.

He is, as the old saying relays, “going down for the third time.” His end is at hand. To draw in a breath would have meant his final end because the waters had fully encompassed him. The precious air which sustains life was no longer to be found, and just one inhale would mean the termination of his life.

Being confined to such a torture is the most terrifying sensation. If an animal is caught, it will chew off its own leg to get free. In 2003, Aron Ralston was climbing the canyons of Utah and got so stuck that he couldn’t free himself. After five days of trying every other possible solution, he carved his epitaph into the sandstone.

But then… in desperation he cut off his own arm in order to free himself. Eventually, he was rescued and taken for medical care. But Jonah didn’t have a knife and there was no helicopter flying overhead. At this point, he was probably considering his own obituary.

Interestingly, the first time the word aphaph was used was in 2 Samuel where David used the word metaphorically, but in a parallel way to Jonah’s words of this chapter. In David’s words, aphaph and savav are reversed to show the plight of his situation, which, though similar to Jonah, was not identical –

“When the waves of death surrounded me, (aphaph)
The floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; (savav)
The snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called upon the Lord,
And cried out to my God;
He heard my voice from His temple,
And my cry entered His ears.” 2 Samuel 22:5-7

These words of David are then used again in the 18th Psalm. It is with certainty that Jonah used the words of the psalm to describe his own pitiful plight which literally came to pass, and which was similar to that which David had faced.

Along with that plight of David, he records another time where he faced such troubles, and which he metaphorically uses to describe his plight. Jonah certainly referred to these words as well –

“Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
Where there is no standing;
I have come into deep waters,
Where the floods overflow me.” Psalm 69:1, 2

Because these words were written by David, they can thus be attributed to the work of Christ. The waters which surround are typical of the world of chaos, hemming Him in. That they came even to His soul is reflective of the very termination of His life as it ebbed away on the cross.

5 (con’t) The deep closed around me;

tehom yesoveveni – “Abyss closed around me.” The tehom is the great deep, or abyss. It was first seen in Genesis 1:2 –

“The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

Jonah’s words are an indication that he was no longer going down for the third time, but that he had gone down and was not coming up again. He had succumbed to the inevitable and had given up any chance of rising to the surface for another breath.

The words here are not intended to say that he sank to the bottom of the great deep. Such a depth would have crushed him. Rather, he began the descent and the waters of the abyss simply closed around him. There was no longer any connection to the surface. If we were watching a movie, this would be where the stretched-out hand quietly slipped under the waters… and disappeared.

5 (con’t) Weeds were wrapped around my head.

suf khabush l’roshi – “End is bound to my head.” To be daring, I am going to be at variance with every single translation of Scripture available, and all scholar’s commentaries as well.

According to Charlie’s Literal Translation of the Bible, which is being compiled and which will be on sale at a marked up prices someday, the verse does.not.say that weeds wrapped around Jonah’s head. It says that his “end is bound to his head,” meaning that he has met his end. It is a phrase that any Hebrew speaking person would understand.

First, the word translated as “weeds” is suf. It is the same word used in Exodus when speaking of yam suf, or the Red Sea. The word suf is translated as “reed,” because so many scholars call it the Sea of Reeds, implying that is was a fresh water lake, and not the Red Sea.

However, the word suf also carries the meaning of “end.” And so, this verse is not speaking of “reed,” but “end.” The Red Sea is the ending of the land of Israel, and so it is the Sea of the Ending, or the Red Sea, not the Sea of Reeds. The New Testament bears out the name, Red Sea.

Therefore, the term “reed” being retranslated here as “weeds,” meaning “sea weeds,” is an unnecessary stretch of the Hebrew, especially because there are no reeds in the Mediterranean Sea.

Secondly, khabash, or “wrapped,” comes from a primitive root which means “to wrap firmly, especially as a turban, a compress, or a saddle.” Thus, a Hebrew phrase is being given to us. The end, meaning death, has wrapped tightly to the head. Jonah had expired. This clause then further defines the previous clause. Taken together, they confirm that Jonah claims he had died.

As I said, this is at variance with all translations and scholarly comments, but when I proposed it to my Hebrew-speaking friend Sergio, without a hesitation he said that any native speaker would immediately understand the symbolism and the phrase. Death had bound itself to the man. Score one point in a growing bottle of points for Charlie’s Literal Translation.

Even the Greek translation of this verse clearly shows that it is not speaking of sea weeds. It says, “went down my head.” If taken symbolically of the cross, as it is intended to be, this would be the moment where Christ uttered his final words and then exhaled, thus confirming my translation –

“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” Luke 23:46

I went down to the moorings of the mountains;

l’qitsve harim yarad-ti – “To the cuttings [of the] mountains I descended.” The word translated as “moorings” is qetsev. This is the third and last time that it will be seen in Scripture. It indicates something cut or shaped and so Jonah is saying that he descended to the place where the mountains are shaped.

His words here indicate that his lifeless body slipped down into the depths. However, this has to be taken metaphorically. He has already acknowledged that he was dead. A dead person doesn’t know where his body has descended to. And so, he has made the poetic note that he had descended as far as a body could descend, even to where the mountains were cut out. His words then translate directly to the tomb of Christ which was cut from the rock and into which His body was laid.

6 (con’t) The earth with its bars closed behind me forever;

ha’arets b’rikheyha vaadi l’olam – “The earth her bars behind me to the vanishing point.” Here Jonah speaks of himself as a prisoner in a dungeon. He is closed in with no chance of releasing himself from his predicament. His death could now not be undone and only the prospect of corruption lay ahead. This then translates into the burial of Jesus as is reflected in the words of Matthew 27:59, 60 –

“When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.”

For Jonah, it seemed that all hope was lost. For the world who did not understand who Jesus truly was, the same is true. But the passage of time reveals the glory of the Lord’s handiwork…

6 (con’t) Yet You have brought up my life from the pit,

Va’taal mishakhat khayay – “And yet brought up from corruption my life.” Jonah’s cry of deliverance now resounds through the cavernous belly of the great fish. As we saw in the last sermon, most, if not all, scholars attribute the words we have been looking at as occurring during the time in the belly of the fish. This is wholly inaccurate.

The words are those prayed from the belly of the fish afterwards, and are referring to his time in the sea before the fish swallowed him. The fish is not his place of death, but rather his mode of delivery from death. Jonah died in the midst of the sea of chaos.

In the midst of the sea of chaotic humanity is where Christ died. We are being asked to look for and find Christ, not a fish tale. Now that the sea has claimed his life; now that the chaos of humanity has taken Christ’s life… only now are the words to be attributed to those from within the fish’s belly.

Jonah, upon being swallowed by the fish, realized that he had been brought up from the inevitable corruption which would follow his death in the sea. The fish was ordained by God to save him, and likewise, the power of God was used to restore Christ Jesus to life. These words of Jonah are reflective of the words of David –

“I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up,
And have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried out to You,
And You healed me.
O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave;
You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.” Psalm 30:1-3

The words of this psalm were cited by Peter in Acts 2 to prove that the resurrected Christ was who David was referring to. Word by word, and in complete and exacting detail, Jonah is being used as a type of Christ.

6 (con’t) O Lord, my God.

Yehovah elohai – “Yehovah my God.” In the introduction to Jonah’s prayer in verse 1, it says that he prayed to Yehovah. His words reflect what occurred, and the triumph which resulted. His words now reflect the confidence he possessed in Yehovah, the self-existent and all-powerful Creator.

He is the One Jonah had called out to, and He is the One who responded and saved Him. Therefore, Jonah acknowledges that He is “my God.” Likewise, the messianic psalms say the same thing as they relate to Christ. He called out to His God, the eternal God from whom He issued, and His God responded. As the Man Jesus, the Lord is His God.

“When my soul fainted within me,

b’hitateph alay napshi – “Had covered itself within, my soul.” Jonah’s prayer now returns to the period outside of the fish once again. Though he is praying from within the fish, he is yet again recalling his ordeal before being rescued.

This is the 16th and last time that the word ataph is found in Scripture. It comes from a primitive root meaning “to shroud,” as in “to clothe.” From this comes the idea of darkness, and thus to faint or be overwhelmed.” In the case of Jonah, he is remembering the very moment his soul was dying away in him. He was covered in darkness and there he had met his end.

His words are again a look into the future work of Christ. From the 16th Psalm, and speaking of Jesus, we read the parallel thought of what occurred in His burial –

“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.
10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:9-11

Christ’s soul was shrouded in death, but like Jonah, there was relief from that place of darkness. At that very moment of His death…

7 (con’t) I remembered the Lord;

eth Yehovah zakarti – “Yehovah I remembered.” It is a marvelous inversion in the Hebrew. “Had covered itself within, my soul; Yehovah I remembered.” As his life ebbed away, his dying thoughts were those of the Lord.

It is, in essence, the triumph of the spirit over the flesh, and the place where faith reaches beyond reason. Though the words cannot be condensed into a shorter thought without destroying the integrity of the passage, Jonah’s words here are reflective Psalm 22:1-21. The words point to Jesus’ time on the cross.

From the first words, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”, to His words of victory in verse 21, “You have answered Me,” Jonah’s words briefly sum up that torturous time Jesus faced, and yet which ended with His remembering His God, even while His life ebbed away.

7 (con’t) And my prayer went up to You,

va’tavo elekha tephil-ati – “And came in unto You my prayer.” Again, though these words are being prayed from the fish’s belly, they are words which reflect Jonah’s state while still in the open waters. There in his dying gasps, he remembered the Lord and his final breaths issued forth a prayer which rose to the Lord, even to the place where He dwells. It is almost as if the prayer itself is personified. It leaves his mind, takes flight on a path to its intended destination, and there it stands before its Recipient…

7 (con’t)  Into Your holy temple.

el hekal qadshekha – “into temple Your holy.” As a prophet of the Lord, and one who had come to realize that there was no place that he could flee from the presence of the Lord, Jonah is certainly not speaking of the temple in Jerusalem. Rather, he is referring to the heavenly place where the Lord dwells in all His splendor.

Jonah’s prayers rose though the waters, and through the realms of matter, even into the spiritual dwelling place of the Lord. In the foxhole of battle, when our finances are lost, when a loved-one is in a hospital bed clinging to life…then – it is then that we remember the Lord.

As Jonah’s descent continued and his life ebbed away, he remembered the Lord and said his prayer and it was then that the Lord received his words, even in His holy temple.

Why? Why do we wait so long to call on Him? How much more pleased will the Lord be with us when we send prayers and praises when things are going well? In both testaments of the Bible, we see that God actually treats this as a sacrifice and accepts those prayers as a sweet savor. As it says in Hebrews –

“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15

“Those who regard worthless idols

meshamerim havle shav – “Those who observe vanities lying.” The translation of the word hevel as “idols” is a bit unfortunate. It is true that all idols are vanities, but not all vanities are idols. The word hevel signifies vapor, or breath. Thus, it is that without value, or which is meaningless.

To pursue breath is futile, and to chase the wind is a foolish venture. Jonah is reflecting on himself and on his own previous condition. He was not bowing down to idols. Rather, he was running from the true God.

He is thinking of his own actions, but after contemplating them, his words then indicate anything which is vain. It could be predictions, absurd fears, rejecting the fear of the Lord, or refusing to adhere to the word of the Lord. This is what Moses had in mind when He spoke to Israel the words of the Song of Moses at Horeb –

“They have moved me to jealousy with that which is no God;
They have exasperated me with their vanities;
And I will move them to jealousy with that which is not a people;
With a foolish nation will I provoke them to anger.” Deuteronomy 32:32 (Darby)

Jonah now realizes that his actions were vain, but he had come to his senses. He now warns those who follow him that there are consequences for vain pursuits. Such people who regard vanities…

8 (con’t) Forsake their own Mercy.

khasdam yaasovu – “Benefactor they forsake.” The word khesed means “lovingkindness,” “favor,” “mercy,” and the like. In Psalm 144:2, David calls the Lord, “my lovingkindness.” In other words, the Lord is the Source and Fountain of mercy. Therefore, the NKJV did a good job in this verse of capitalizing the word “Mercy.” They have directed the words not to what is bestowed, but to the One who bestows.


Jonah’s words look to what happens when a person follows after vanities. In such pursuit, they forsake He who provides from the fountain. This is exactly what Jonah had done, and now his words call out for others to follow the wisdom he has attained.

Pursuing that which is vain sets up a wall between us and God because we forsake the One who created the thing we are pursuing. Whether gold, silver, sex, drugs, fame, or fortune, our attention is caught up in vanity and the Lord leaves our hearts and minds. The Westminster Shorter Catechism begins with this precept –

What is the chief end of man?
Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

We cannot glorify God if we chase after, or grant glory to, something less than God. And we cannot enjoy Him, if we spend our time pursuing idols. The Apostle John closes his first epistle with these words –

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” 1 John 5:21

Let us follow this advice and not forsake our Source of mercy.

My heart is glad, and my glory rejoices, O my soul!
My flesh also will rest in hope with no interruption
For You will not leave my soul in Sheol
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption

You will show me the path of life, of this I am sure
In Your presence is fullness of joy, a wondrous path I will trod
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore
And so I put my trust in You, O my God

You have brought me up from the pit and set me in a broad place
You have set me on high and my soul has found rest
Here in Your presence and in the light of Your face
Here in the land where your saints are eternally blessed

II. A Simple Truth (verses 9 & 10)

But I will sacrifice to You
With the voice of thanksgiving;

va’ani b’qol todah ezbekhah lakh – “And I, with the voice thanksgiving will sacrifice to You.” This is the last time that todah, or “thanksgiving,” is seen in the Old Testament. It essentially means “an extension of the hand.” Thus, it is as if an offering is being sent out. However, it is said to be “with the voice of thanksgiving.” Therefore, the voice of thanksgiving is considered as an acceptable offering to God, and so it is further explained as “a sacrifice.”

As I said earlier, in the Bible, praise is called a sacrifice and that is what Jonah was referring to here. It is something we can all do and it costs us nothing. But God accepts it as a sacrifice because it is something most people will never do. Even believers fail to take time to simply glorify Him.

We have all kinds of time for cell phones, TV, movies, family, and friends, but we just don’t take a few moments a day to stop, contemplate the goodness of the Lord, and then give Him praise. In the future, let’s make a commitment to praise Him in all we do. Let our every breath and action be of praise and worship to Him.

9 (con’t) I will pay what I have vowed.

asher nadarti ashalemah – “that I have vowed will pay.” These words come as a promise to what he just said, and they include any vows not recorded here as well. He has offered to make a sacrifice with the voice of thanksgiving, and now he confirms that he will follow through with that promise. In Deuteronomy, the people were told quite directly –

 “When you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay to pay it; for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and it would be sin to you.” Deuteronomy 23:21

This sentiment is repeated quite a few other times in various ways. But Jonah’s words are not just for us to see a man who has come to his senses. They reflect the sentiment of the 22nd Psalm as well –

“I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.” Psalm 22:22

The author of Hebrews then uses that same verse and ties it directly into the oath of the Lord to God the Father. The Lord had promised that after His ordeal on the cross, He would follow through with the vow He had made.

Like Jonah who is a type of Christ, and like the Lord who we are to emulate, if we are going to commit to something, we need to remember to follow through with it – “I will pay what I have vowed.”  This is what the Bible expects. When we promise, we are to live by our promises. In the 15th Psalm, the Bible says that a person who swears to his own hurt will never be moved. Surely God will reward such faithfulness.

9 (con’t) Salvation is of the Lord.”

yeshuatah l’Yehovah – “Salvation to Yehovah.” Jonah’s words are a realization, a confession, and a praise all tied up into one. He was dead, but now alive. He thought there was no hope, and yet he was saved. And where his lips were seemingly silenced forever, they were now able to sing out to Yehovah with a resounding voice.

But more than just words of acknowledgment from Jonah, they sum up the entire theme of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation – Salvation is of the Lord. Man is condemned; the Lord has fixed the problem. The process is wholly His, and we are merely the recipients of what He offers.

In considering the words, they tell us that He is the Source of salvation; he is the Bestower of it; and He provides the means by which it will occur. The noun yeshuah is used 77 times in the Old Testament. It specifically means, “salvation,” and the form used by Jonah is intensive – yeshuatah. In essence, “mighty salvation.”

When converted into a proper noun, it is Yeshua, the Hebrew name of Jesus. Thus, we are given an insight into the work of the Lord here in Jonah 2:9. Yehovah the Father is the Source of salvation – the plan and the form to come. Yehovah the Son is the one who came to execute the plan. Yehovah the Holy Spirit is the one who applies that salvation to those who are to be saved.

The Lord, Yehovah is the Source, Means, and Bestower of man’s salvation. Yeshua, or Jesus is the key to it coming about. Acts 4:12 sums up the thought quite well –

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

What is veiled in the Old is now revealed in the New. What was concealed is now open for us to see. It is Jesus from whom comes all salvation.

*(fin)10 So the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

va’yomer Yehovah la’dag va’yaqe eth yonah el ha’yabashah – “And spoke Yehovah to fish and vomited Jonah onto the dry.” The account is to be taken literally. The Lord gave the command and the fish followed through with the orders as given. He was spewed out of the belly and onto the dry land. It is the last use of the word qo, or vomit, in the Old Testament, but it is not the last time that vomit will be referred to. It is also probably the least offensive, and even most glorious use of the word vomit in recorded history.

The symbolism though is what is important. First, there was a command from the Lord. This was followed by an action. The fish symbolizes the means of delivery, not the state of death. Jonah had died in the waters and was caught up into the belly of the fish where he then made his prayer.

Christ was cast among the great sea of sinful people, symbolized by the chaos of the ocean. There he died for the sins of the world. However, His delivery was already prepared based on His sinless life, pictured by the fish. His sinless state is what delivered Him from the ordeal. It is what rescued Him from inevitable corruption. Peter mentioned this in Acts 2 –

“I foresaw the Lord always before my face,
For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;
Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your presence.” Acts 2:25-28

As the fish is the means of Jonah’s delivery, and as Christ is the means of salvation, a picture is formed in the words “it vomited Jonah on to the dry.” Christ was, can we say, spewed out of the grave. It simply could not stomach Him. The grave is the devourer of that which is unclean from sin. He was spewed out of the fish, but the fish lives in the sea. Therefore, he was spewed out of the sea – the place of sin, chaos, and death – and onto dry land. The fish for Jonah, Christ for the sinless Man Jesus, both merely provided safety from the sea.

This passage was anticipating the symbol of Christianity, ICTHUS, or “The Sign of the Fish.” It is an acrostic – ISEOUS CHRISTOS THEO YIOS SOTER – JESUS CHRIST SON OF GOD, SAVIOR. His sinless perfection is what is seen in the fish. The vomiting of Jonah onto the dry land pictures His triumph over the sea of chaos. Again, it is explained by Peter in Acts 2 –

“…whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.” Acts 2:24

And so, from the place of chaos and death, He was restored to a place of stability, harmony, and assurance – the dry land. Right on the first page of the Bible, a distinction was made between the waters and the dry land. When God made the yabbashah, or dry land by separating it from the waters, it was proclaimed good.

In the New Testament, the disciples were told that they would be fishers of men. Christ was the first to be delivered from the chaos of the seas to the dry land, meaning the place of safety. Now, those who follow Him are fished out of the sea and brought to that same place of safety.

The entire episode was orchestrated by God, based on Jonah’s rebellion, to show us a picture of the world of fallen man being rescued by the perfect Man, Christ Jesus. The difference between Jonah and Christ is that Jonah died on account of his own sin, something common to himself and his people. He was delivered from that death by the Lord.

On the other hand, Christ died for the sin of His people, which He willingly took upon Himself. But He died as a member of His people, the nation of Israel, and under the law which was given to them. In His death, He died for sin, and was delivered by God in order to save people from all nations. This is more than a simple fish tale, but a grand, epic story of the workings of God in Christ.

Closing Verse: “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Revelation 7:10

Next Week: Jonah 3:1-4 He is heading to Nineveh, not to Arizona… (The Sign of Jonah) (7th Jonah Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean rages against you and is ready to swallow you up, He can send delivery to you in the most remarkable of ways. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

Salvation is of the Lord

The waters surrounded me, even to my soul
The deep around me closed
Weeds were wrapped around my head; I had no control
My end was near, I supposed

I went down to the moorings of the mountains
The earth with its bars closed behind me forever
Yet You have brought up my life from the pit
O Lord, my God – I shall praise you, ceasing never

“When my soul fainted within me; away it flew
I remembered the Lord
And my prayer went up to You
Into Your holy temple; there you received my word

“Those who regard worthless idols, much is at stake
Surely their own Mercy they forsake

But I will sacrifice to You, this I convey
With the voice of thanksgiving: with my spoken word
What I have vowed, I will pay
Salvation is of the Lord

So the Lord spoke to the fish; He did command
And it vomited Jonah onto dry land

God has shown us in His precious word
That being obstinate toward Him can only harm us
Instead, we need to bow to our glorious Lord
Giving honor and respect to Christ Jesus

Help us in this Lord, this we implore
Our hearts are so easily turned away
Give us of Your Spirit to overflowing and even more
So that we will bring honor to you each and every day

And to You we give all of our highest praise
And to You we shall look for eternal days

Hallelujah and Amen…