A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales and how she had heard in Sunday School about how a whale had swallowed Jonah.
The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small.
The little girl remained steadfast in her position and reiterated that indeed, a whale had swallowed Jonah.
Irritated, the teacher again stated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically impossible.
The little girl said, "I'm not sure how it happened, but when I get to heaven I will ask Jonah."
The teacher replied smugly, "What if Jonah isn't in heaven?"
The little girl replied, "Then you ask him."
“The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.’” Jonah 1:1-2
1. God’s call can be disturbing.
1. Jonah is a popular, well known prophet (full time ministry)
“He was the one who restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Dead Sea, in accordance with the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, spoken through his servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher.” 2 Kings 14:25
2.This was a call to help save his enemies.
Story: Phil Tucker the bully.
Bottom line: God told Jonah to do something he didn’t want to do.
“But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.”
Map to Tarshish
Jonah might have said he was flexible…
Most of us, if asked, “Are you flexible and willing to do what God tells you to do?” We say, “Sure, of course.”
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
2. God’s call exposes motives of the heart.
Actions speak louder than words.
Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. Jonah 1:4-5
“Saying yes (I am a prophet of God), and doing no (I disobey God’s orders).”
BUT God doesn’t move on… he is chasing Jonah.
3. God cares more about people than projects.
God is more into redemption than starting over… David & Peter
God cares more about YOU than the WORK you’re doing for him.
Do you believe that God cares more about you than what you do for Him?
Do you care more about people than work you are doing for them??
Jonah is sleeping. (spiritually, sleep represents death or complacency.)
The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep” Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish. Then the sailors said to each other, “Come let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity,” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him,
“Tell us who is responsible for making all this trouble for us. What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?” He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” Jonah 1:6-9
Chaos happens… for everybody.
4. Sin always effects others.
Example: I used to think my drinking didn’t effect others.
It is possible Jonah thought could do plenty of good ministry in Tarshish.
Sin has a ripple affect.
Application: How do my decisions affect others?
11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”
13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm.
Ceasing to manage and control.
Jonah’s plan stopped and God’s plan resumed.
16 At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him. 17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Jonah 1:16-17
5. Surrender brings God’s provision.
Application: Can I see interruption as provision?
Did you know that the book of Jonah points to Jesus?
The Pharisees asked Jesus to perform a sign as if he was a clown.
Jesus answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
God “provides” the sign that’s needed. The sign of salvation for the world.
The Book of Jonah highlights the sometimes unstable relationship between two religious needs: comfort and truth.
6. The good is the enemy of the best.
Maybe you are Jonah. Maybe you know a Jonah.
If you become a necessity to someone else’s life, you are out of God’s will. As a servant, your primary responsibility is to be a “friend of the bridegroom”. When you see a person who is close to grasping the claims of Jesus Christ, you know that your influence has been used in the right direction. And when you begin to see that person in the middle of a difficult and painful struggle, don’t try to prevent it, but pray that his difficulty will grow even ten times stronger, until no power on earth or in hell could hold him away from Jesus Christ. Over and over again, we try to be amateur providences in someone’s life… Beware of rejoicing with someone over the wrong thing… You may often have to watch Jesus Christ wreck a life before He saves it… ~ Oswald Chambers (March 24 Devotional)