Summer Theme – Water
31st July Jonah and the Whale
Notes from which I did my talk
Readings – Jonah 1: 1-6, 15-17; 2:10; 3:1-10 Luke 11:29-32 Psalm 139
God’s sovereignty over all people & nations
Universal compassion of God
Two sets of Non Believers challenged.
Re-birth and change.
He knows us better than we do
- This famous and popular story shows a few things.
1 – “What will God do with a prophet who disobeys God’s command?”
2 – “On whom will God have mercy–just the Israelites, or also Nineveh and other places and people of great evil?”
There are two central characters: Jonah and God.
The basic question with Jonah is whether he can learn to accommodate his own sense of right and wrong to the realities of God’s mercy, how God cared for even those who were at that time not his people and not nice to boot in fact enemies of his people. The people of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, and the sailors both of whom came to know God. It shows God’s sovereignty over all people & nations.
Jonah 1 The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”
This shows Gods love for all of His creation not just a few good people
- It tells us about Jonah who ran from what God asked of him. But God still used him to bring his message to the sailors and Nineveh.
Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.
Can we not also do the same and try to avoid doing what God asks of us?
How would you respond if called upon to go to your mortal enemy and preach repentance? How about being called to go to the center of ISIS control to preach to them, this is what Jonah was being asked to do. He did as many of us would he ran.
This brings on trouble.
But all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold. 6 So the captain went down after him. “How can you sleep at a time like this?” he shouted. “Get up and pray to your god! Maybe he will pay attention to us and spare our lives.”
Out of this situation the sailors recognized Him as a man of God who could do something about the storm.
7 Then the crew cast lots to see which of them had offended the gods and caused the terrible storm. When they did this, the lots identified Jonah as the culprit. 8 “Why has this awful storm come down on us?” they demanded. “Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?”
9 Jonah answered, “I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”
10 The sailors were terrified when they heard this, for he had already told them he was running away from the Lord. “Oh, why did you do it?” they groaned. 11 And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, “What should we do to you to stop this storm?”
Non Christians can often see that we are not obeying God and so bringing suffering on others.
12 “Throw me into the sea,” Jonah said, “and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.”
13 Instead, the sailors rowed even harder to get the ship to the land. But the stormy sea was too violent for them, and they couldn’t make it.14 Then they cried out to the Lord, Jonah’s God. “O Lord,” they pleaded, “don’t make us die for this man’s sin. And don’t hold us responsible for his death. O Lord, you have sent this storm upon him for your own good reasons.”
15 Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once! 16 The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him.
17 [a]Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.
Jonah becomes the sacrifice to save others, does this remind you of anything?
God uses our situation and that of those around us to get His message out, often when we are suffering difficulties.
We might not have to die as Christ did but we will be called upon to sacrifice, even if its only giving up going our own way.
- This is great news for all of us.
As we all fail to do what God asks of us at some point or points in our journey with Him. We feel that the task is pointless or to big for us or that God will do something different even if we do what He asks.
As Jonah 4 says – “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. 3 Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
However as Psalm 139 says he knows everything about us and so can plan for how he knows we will respond.
3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.
5 You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.
7 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!
8 If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave,[a] you are there.
9 If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
Tell about first healing prayer in market.
God can challenge us and change us as we are running away from Him.
Jonah sings out to God as he realises that
7 As my life was slipping away, I remembered the Lord.
And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple.
8 Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God’s mercies.
9 But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows.
For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.”
- People were changed
Jonah 1 14 Then they [the sailors] cried out to the Lord, Jonah’s God. “O Lord,” they pleaded, “don’t make us die for this man’s sin. And don’t hold us responsible for his death. O Lord, you have sent this storm upon him for your own good reasons.”
God will use us so He can reach out to those around us even when we try to avoid it
and more so when we do as He asks, even if it is after a fight.
5 The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow.
10 When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.
Jesus held Nineveh up as a people who have heard the call of God and responded, the same as the Queen of sheba. He compared them to the people around Him who would not see or respond to one greater than Jonah or Solomon.
29 As the crowd pressed in on Jesus, he said, “This evil generation keeps asking me to show them a miraculous sign. But the only sign I will give them is the sign of Jonah. 30 What happened to him was a sign to the people of Nineveh that God had sent him. What happens to the Son of Man will be a sign to these people that he was sent by God.
31 “The queen of Sheba will stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for she came from a distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Now someone greater than Solomon is here—but you refuse to listen. 32 The people of Nineveh will also stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here—but you refuse to repent.
- How will respond to the call of Jesus?
- Will you run away?
- Will you accept Him into your life?
- Will you repent?
- Will you follow His call?
- Jonah did all four, and many others were given the chance of changing as well
- Who will be given the same chances if you also follow Gods Lead?
- Let’s pray