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Some Real Answers 
For Suicidal Thoughts From The Book Of Jonah


    There may be many contributing factors concerning suicide; however, from the book of Jonah we can see three major root causes.
 The little book of Jonah reveals some basic elements toward suicidal thoughts.

Going "down", "down", "down", "down", "down" and "down".

   To begin, we should understand that Jonah was a prophet of God and had committed himself to serve God and do many Christians today.  We also should understand the Jonah knew God and the nature of God.  Last, we should understand that Jonah was an Israelite and hated the pagan people of Nineveh who had oppressed the Israelites. 

    The story begins with God speaking to Jonah and telling him to preach to the pagan city of  Nineveh.  Jonah would have readily gone anywhere but to that city.  He may have feared for his life, but the major issue was that Jonah did not want to preach to the pagan people who had oppressed his own people.  Therefore Jonah ran from God and from the word of God.

    My pastor pointed out that Jonah went "down".  " First, he went "down to Joppa" to catch a ship going to Tarshish (Jonah 1:3).  Second, he went "down" to the ship (Jonah 1:3).  Third, he went "down" into the ship (Jonah 1:5).  Fourth, he was cast "down" into the water (Jonah 1:15).  Fifth, he went "down" into the belly of the fish (Jonah 1:17).  Sixth, Jonah, in the belly of the fish went "down" to the bottom of the mountains (Jonah 2:6).  He not only went physically down, he also went spiritually down.  This is what happens when we run from God and His Word!

Cause And Effect Concerning Suicide

    Suicidal thoughts don't just happen, there is always a cause. There is always a cause where there is an effect or affect.  Anger is one of the major factors in suicide, especially when that anger is turned inward.    Anger is almost always the result of a personal right that we feel that we have that is in danger of being violated or has been violated.  We can easily see this illustrated in the story of Jonah.

    Jonah got angry when God told him to go to Nineveh and "cry against it".  Although, Jonah had committed himself to be a prophet of God, he was unwilling to go to Nineveh because Jonah knew that God was a gracious and merciful, and  slow to anger, and of great kindness (Jonah 4:2)  Therefore, Jonah knew if Nineveh repented, God would not destroy it.   He wanted God to destroy Nineveh.  Therefore,  Jonah took up offense for God.  Jonah felt that Nineveh didn't deserve to to be warned.  Jonah took up and offense concerning fairness.  He felt that he should have the right not to go to peach against Nineveh.

    The results were that (1) Jonah ran from God, (2) he ran from the Word of God, and (3) he asked for death.  He said, "Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea" (Jonah 1:12).

    Next, Jonah got extremely angry when Nineveh repented and God did not destroy them. "But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry" (Jonah 4:1).  The reality was that Jonah had only partially repented when he was in the belly of the fish.  Although Jonah knew of the mercy, grace, and forgiveness of God, he preached only a message of destruction without  preaching anything about God's grace, mercy, or forgiveness.  This time Jonah's word was at stake.  What if God turned from the destruction of Nineveh?  Of course God did turn from the destruction of Nineveh.  Jonah pride was on the line.  A prophet's word is to always to come true.

    The results  were (1) Jonah was exceedingly displeased, (2) he was very angry, (3) he wished that he was dead (Jonah 4:3) and (4) he isolated himself from everyone (Jonah 4:5).  Here we see an increase of anger.  He being a prophet of God, couldn't honestly get angry at God; therefore, he turn the anger inward toward himself.  Isolation is another step toward suicide.

    Next, Jonah was exceeding glad for the gourd that was to shade his head from the sun, but became angry again when the worm ate the gourd.  Jonah had felt like the gourd had become his possession.  Jonah again is holding on to his personal right.  He felt he had a right to have a shade and now he had lost his protection.

    The results were that (1) "anger" had become Jonah's friend, (2) he felt he had a right to be angry, and (3) the suicidal thoughts increased. "And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death" (Jonah 4:9).  When anger becomes a "buddy", thoughts of suicide are usually not far away.


    1. Jonah should have seen God working through the story.  God was working all the time to minister to Jonah and also to save the people of Nineveh.  First, God sent his word to Jonah.  Second, he sent a great wind.  Third, he prepared a great fish.  Fourth, he answered Jonah's prayer and caused the fish to vomit up Jonah on dry ground.  Fifth, he spoke to Jonah a second time.  Sixth, he turned from destroying Nineveh when Nineveh repented.  Seventh, he tried to reason with Jonah.  Eight, he prepared a gourd.  Ninth, he prepared a worm to eat the gourd.  Tenth, God again tried to reason with Jonah.  If you are having suicidal thoughts, God is working in your life right now to reason with you and encourage you. Suicide is NEVER the best way out! God's grace is always available so that you can walk through the situation.  "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it"  (I Corinthians 10:13).

    2. Jonah needed to get his priorities straight!  He needed to yield his personal rights to God.  He needed to yield the right of fairness (or righteous indignation), the right of personal self-esteem, and  the right of his personal possessions.  God word says, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:7-8).  Our "cares" are what we consider to be our personal rights.  If you are angry and suicidal, stop and examine what personal right you to which you are clinging and yield it to God.  Do it now so that you don't have to face the roaring lion (the devil).

    3. Jonah needed to look beyond himself.  Suicidal thoughts are selfish thoughts.  Jonah needed to see that God wanted to show his mercy and grace toward Nineveh.  God said, "And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?"  (Jonah 4:11).  If you commit suicide, then you have cut your ministry short.  Furthermore, people will miss the ministry that God would work through you in their lives.

Additional Truths

    1. You are not an accident no matter the circumstances surrounding your birth.   "Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture" (Psalm 100:3).   God created you.  "For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.  I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!" (Psalm 139:13-17).  God knew you even before you were born.

    2. Other great men of the Bible struggled with suicidal thoughts.  Elijah the prophet had such thoughts. "But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers" (I Kings 19:4).   Job wished that he had never been born. "After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day.  And Job spake, and said,  Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived" (Job 3:1-13).

    3. Jesus was even tempted to consider committing suicide.   "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrew 4:15).  He knows what you are experiencing.

    4. Our bodies are meant to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. To the Believer, the Word says, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (I Corinthians 3:16).  "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" (I Corinthians 6:19).  Therefore, you don't have the right to destroy God's temple (your body). 

    5. As a Believer, you are not alone.  "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Hebrew 13:5).  God has not left you no matter how bad things my seem.  Furthermore, God has other people available to help you.  Just ask Him! 

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