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"God Pursues the Ninevites" Gospel Project Lesson for 10-23-16

Jonah 1:1-5, 15-17; 2:7-3:5; 4:1-4

Historical Backdrop

The Book of Jonah is one of the Minor Prophets (Can you name the other Minor Prophets? What are the Major Prophets?)

Jonah prophesied during the reign of Jeroboam II (See 2 Kings 14:25) in the Northern Kingdom (Samaria). Jonah prophesied during a time of prosperity.

The events of this book date between – 786-746 BC

Nineveh was first mentioned in Genesis 10:11 and may have been founded by Nimrod.

Nineveh was the capital city of Assyria

Nineveh was located in modern day Iraq, near the city of Mosul, on the banks of the Tigris River (Mosul, presently under the rule of ISIS, is under assault by the Iraqi government in an effort to retake the city).

Some of the major deities worshipped in Nineveh were Anu, Baal and Ishtar. Nineveh was the Centre of worship for Ishtar, the goddess of fertility, love, war, sex and power.

The wall of Nineveh extended eight miles, with fifteen gates …

The population may have been as many as 150,000 (some have suggested more).

At this time, the total area of Nineveh comprised about 7 square kilometres (1,730 acres), and fifteen great gates penetrated its walls. An elaborate system of eighteen canals brought water from the hills to Nineveh, and several sections of a magnificently constructed aqueduct erected by Sennacherib were discovered at Jerwan, about 65 kilometres (40 mi) distant. The enclosed area had more than 100,000 inhabitants (maybe closer to 150,000), about twice as many as Babylon at the time, placing it among the largest settlements worldwide (Copied).

Jesus spoke of Nineveh’s repentance and used Jonah’s three days and night in the belly of the fish to illustrate His resurrection (Matthew 12:38-41).

Pastor’s Notes:

God said go east and Jonah went west

Even though the message he was to preach to Nineveh was judgment, he knew the heart of God, God’s compassion and realized the possibility of Nineveh’s repentance and God’s response of mercy.

Jonah’s hatred for Nineveh may have resulted from Assyria’s invasions, conflicts, and cruel, barbaric treatment of Israel. Assyria would eventually take captive Israel 722-721 B C. How does bigotry and prejudice prevent someone from sharing the Gospel.

Notice that God sent the storm and God sent the great fish. You may run but you can never out run God. You may try to hide but God always knows where you are.

Interesting that the sailors recognized the judgment of God (even though they didn’t know what god).

Discipline is meant to lead to repentance which leads to restoration.

God responded to Jonah’s repentance and renewed commitment with forgiveness and restoration.

God instructions to Jonah were to say what He told him … Remember that the Gospel of God (wht we are told to share) is the power of God unto salvation.

What should motivate us to share the Gospel is not how we feel about a particular person or people group, but how God feels about them.

Theological Theme

“The Lord … is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Christ Connection

Even though we did not deserve God grace and mercy, Christ came to us, to seek and to save … (Also see Romans 5:8).

Missional Application

Everyone needs to hear the Gospel, no matter who they are or what they’ve done. And if we, who have experience God grace, refuse to share the Gospel, who will? See Romans 10:14.

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