The book of Jonah has always been used for calling people up to missions and evangelism. Which is a great and noble thing and the contents of Jonah makes this possible without changing the meaning of the text.
I however think that missions are just one thread that goes through this short book.
I believe however that Jonah is a great book to teach Theology Proper from. Let me explain. Theology Proper is the dogma of God. How God is.
First let me say this, God cannot be fully explained or understood. God is not a frog that is to be dissected no; He is God the creator to be marvelled at. He is the only true God.
God through His word reveals Himself to the world; He wants us to know Him. How do we get to know someone? Above all other ways, we spend time with them. Quality time is a humanistic myth, nothing replaces a long period of time spend with each other. (I’m digressing that will have to be for a different post.)
Now let us have a quick look at the book of Jonah.
I believe we all know about this book, it has been seen as a myth by some. I’m not one of them there is just too many historical data that corresponds.
Let’s look at why I say that the book of Jonah firstly displays God to us and not the life of a bull headed prophet.
God is the one who takes the initiative to save Nineveh. He witnesses this great city and its sin and His righteousness and holiness demands that they be sentenced. God however is merciful and call upon His prophet Jonah to preach too this city of unbelievers.
The fact that God calls Jonah also shows us that God is not just concern for those who does not know Him but, that He is also concerned with the ones who do know Him. He still has got a plan for Jonah.
God knows everything even before it happened, so He knew Jonah will rebel and run. God could of used a different servant who He knew would carry out the task immediately, but God does not.
God chooses the one servant He knew would rebel, Jonah might have a rebellious streak in Him but, God does not leave Jonah to live in his sin. No, God loves Nineveh and Jonah and He want Nineveh to repent and He want Jonah to repent and grow.
So Jonah runs and his rebellion brings a whole ship and it occupants in danger. God spares them when they decide to throw Jonah over board as Jonah requested.
God chases Jonah down, He throws a storm at the boat, God works with intent, He does everything with intent, with a view of the future and what He wants to accomplish in the lives of people. God is intensely involved in every person’s life.
Through the storm and what Jonah says about God, the sailors who were formally pagans convert and praise Jhaweh the God of Israel as the only living God.
God could have let Jonah drown but, He is merciful and through His sovereign rule over the living creatures, He causes a large fish to swallow Jonah hole.
Jonah repents and now after the fish pukes him up he goes to Nineveh. Still we see Jonah only going out of duty and not out of love. Jonah who experienced God’s love, mercy and long suffering still hates Nineveh and does not want to see them shown the same love and mercy.
The contrast is projected for all to see, the one who does not deserve mercy but, gets it, does not want others to taste it.
God who is infinitely sovereign causes Jonah to preach, even against his will and what he wants and God’s sovereign love and mercy and rule is shown. Displayed for all to marvel at.
God causes the entire city to repent and turn away from their sin and to Him. For a generation the people of Nineveh serves God. This shows God is sovereign and reigns.
This is just some small snip-bits of what the book of Jonah teaches us about God. I believe in the first place the book of Jonah displays God and is attributes to us through His actions and finely designed reaction to things He knew would happen and ultimately made happen.
A book displaying the infinite God doing infinitely great things.