Jonah 1:1-3

Talks for Growing Christians

Jonah Disobeys the Lord

Jonah 1:1-3

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Lesson Number 1

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God calls His people to go to Nineveh.
  2. God’s people disobey when they flee to Tarshish.

Practical Application

  1. You can always find a ship going to Tarshish.


  1. Is the book of Jonah just a big fish story?
  2. Why didn’t Jonah want to go to Nineveh?
  3. Why did God call Jonah to go to Nineveh?
  4. How did Jonah respond when the Lord commissioned him to go to Nineveh?
  5. Why do some critics of the book of Jonah have a difficult time accepting the historicity of this account?
  6. What leads us to believe that the account of Jonah is real history?


  1. No. It is the true account of a prophet of God who was called to go and preach to the city of Nineveh, the capitol of the ancient Assyrian Empire.
  2. To preach out against the wickedness of Nineveh.
  3. Because the Assyrians were pagans, the enemies of Israel, and Jonah did not want mercy shown to them.
  4. He tried to flee from the Lord by going in the opposite direction, taking a ship to Tarshish.
  5. Probably because of the miracle of Jonah’s special transport in the stomach of a fish, they conclude that at best it is an Old Testament parable.
  6. Jonah was the son of Amittai, a real person. See Jonah 1:1 and 2 Kings 14:25. The Lord Jesus believed that the account of Jonah was real history. See Matthew 12:38-40 and Luke 11:29-30.


  1. God called Jonah to go to Nineveh to preach against the wickedness of that great city. Jonah knew that God was gracious and might spare Nineveh if the people repented. He wanted to see them judged rather than see God’s mercy shown to them. Ninevehs are the places and people we would like to see undergo the judgment of God. Are you fleeing from a Nineveh?
  2. Jonah tried to flee from God by going in the opposite direction. He was running away in disobedience to God’s call to go to Nineveh. Have you ever bought a ticket to Tarshish, trying to put distance between yourself and a situation the Lord wants you to deal with?


  1. Turn in your ticket to Tarshish. Face your Nineveh.

Key Verses

  • “The word of the Lord came to Jonah, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.’” Jonah 1:1-2
  • “But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord…he paid the fare, and went down into the ship.” Jonah 1:3

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