Posted by: The Simple Guy | February 9, 2015

Parallels between Moses and Jonah

Recently I have been contemplating the hot dry wind in Jonah 4.

Jonah 4:8 (ESV) 8 When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”

As I thoughtfully prayed about this, asking God for wisdom, I thought about a statement I heard recently on a series by Ray Vanderlaan. He said God uses the desert as a tool to test and teach His people.

To support this claim, he quotes the following:
Deuteronomy 8:2 (ESV) 2 And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.

Deuteronomy 8:3 (ESV) 3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

Deuteronomy 8:15 (ESV) 15 who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock,

Deuteronomy 8:16 (ESV) 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end.

Deuteronomy 8:17 (ESV) 17 Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’

I especially noticed the pattern in verse 16. To humble you, to test you, to do you good in the end.

Now I don’t know if Nineveh was in a desert. I kind of doubt it. But the desert imagery is there for sure.

So that is the backdrop against which I saw these parallels.

1) Both Jonah and Moses were reluctant prophets who argued with God.

2) Both Jonah and Moses spoke of judgement to the most powerful pagan kingdom in their time, at the risk of their own lives.

3) God brought both Jonah and Moses through the water miraculously.

4) Both were tested in the wilderness, and did not pass the test. Jonah with the hot wind, Moses at the rock.

5) Then God speaks.

The (unspoken) answer to the question at the end of Jonah is the lesson of the book. God took Jonah to the wilderness, to the end of himself, to make a point. A point he wanted his people to ponder for 600 years until the Prophet who fulfills the type comes.

The Prophet who is NOT reluctant but says “never the less, not my will but Thine be done”

The Prophet who speaks judgment but also mercy, and is the Judge of the nations.

The Prophet revealed miraculously as he came up out of the water. Also who does not need to go through the water. He walks ON the water.

The Prophet who was tested in the wilderness and succeeded. He proved that He loved God with all of His heart, soul, and strength. (His answers to the tempter all came from the same Deuteronomy context by the way)

The Prophet who went up on the mountain, sat down and spoke to them the very words of God (Matt 5,6,7)

And when Jesus spoke of Jonah in Matt 12, he tied the Jonah story to the story of Hosea by saying:
Matthew 12:7 (ESV) 7 And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.

I think this quote is the answer to the question at the end of Jonah.

Your thoughts?

The Simple Guy



  1. Thanks for the earlier discussion on this 🙂

  2. Enjoyed the discussion. Thanks for helping me think out loud. Love you lady.

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