Looking through the book of Jonah, an overarching theme is that Jonah grossly misunderstands the Lord. By examining three main failures in his understanding of God’s character and His steadfast, gracious, enduring love, we see that Jonah’s understanding of the Lord he claims to serve is shown up as seeing God as too small, God’s compassion as too limited, and God’s worship as too pagan. What about ours?
Before we move on to Jonah and the fish, there’s an important lesson for us yet to be learned. The sailors take up a significant portion of chapter one. Their response to the storm and Jonah is very instructive. The lessons there will help us to ask questions today like, “What do the people around me believe about God?” and “How do they respond to evil?”
Jonah is a little book with a big lesson. It teaches us the truth that God’s people aren’t just supposed to know the truth; they’re expected to share it with those who don’t. In this first chapter, we’re introduced to Jonah, a prophet who rejected God’s calling. His rejection was rooted not in fear, but in a disdain for the people he was called to preach to.