JONAH: Hear and Heed September 9, 2020
The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it because their evil has come up before Me.” [But] Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish from the Lord’s presence. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. He paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the Lord’s presence. But the Lord threw a great wind onto the sea, and such a great storm arose on the sea that the ship threatened to break apart. The sailors were afraid, and each cried out to his god. They threw the ship’s cargo into the sea to lighten the load. Meanwhile, Jonah had gone down to the lowest part of the vessel and had stretched out and fallen into a deep sleep. The captain approached him and said, “What are you doing sound asleep? Get up! Call to your god. Maybe this god will consider us, and we won’t perish.” “Come on!” the sailors said to each other. “Let’s cast lots. Then we’ll know who is to blame for this trouble we’re in.” So they cast lots, and the lot singled out Jonah. Then they said to him, “Tell us who is to blame for this trouble we’re in. What is your business, and where are you from? What is your country, and what people are you from?” He answered them, “I’m a Hebrew. I worship the Lord, the God of the heavens, who made the sea and the dry land.” Then the men were seized by a great fear and said to him, “What have you done?” The men knew he was fleeing from the Lord’s presence because he had told them. So they said to him, “What should we do to you so that the sea will calm down for us?” For the sea was getting worse and worse. He answered them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea so that it will calm down for you, for I know that I’m to blame for this great storm that is against you.” Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they couldn’t because the sea was raging against them more and more. So they called out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, don’t let us perish because of this man’s life, and don’t charge us with innocent blood! For you, Lord, have done just as you pleased.” Then they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging. The men were seized by great fear of the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows. The Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Jonah 1:1-17, NIV
THE LORDSHIP FACTOR
1/ Jonah knew God’s Word.
Jonah’s prayer in the belly of the fish reveals a knowledge of Scripture.
“If you know the words of the Bible but don’t take them to heart, it is practical atheism.” Unknown
2/ Jonah knew God’s will.
3/ Jonah knew God’s ways.
“I knew that You are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.” Jonah 4:2, ESV
4/ But Jonah didn’t know the Lordship factor.
Mary told the servants: “Whatever He says to you, do it.” John 2:5, NASB
“Sometimes, we can’t truly understand the Bible until we obey it.” Eugene Peterson
Our responsibility is not to understand, but to simply hear and heed; to know and do!
After the Passover Meal, Jesus says: “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” John 13:17, ESV
James writes: Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22, NIV
OBSERVATIONS OF OBEDIENCE
1/ When I become a Christian, God calls me to minister.
The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others. 1 Corinthians 12:7, CEV
Jonah was a prophet, but refused to use his gift. He realized it, but ran from it.
2/ When I am called to minister to people, it is for them and for me.
God is trying to purge some things out of Nineveh and Jonah.
Jonah is riddled with sinful selfishness: a) Jonah runs from God’s compassionate call, b) he doesn’t confess his sin until the lots fall on him, c) he chooses death over obedience, and d) he doesn’t throw himself overboard, but places the burden on the sailors.
The storm and the whale were more to redirect Jonah, not rebuke him.
God’s purging is a pruning, not a punishment. God wanted Nineveh to purge sin to prevent judgment.
“…every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:2
When it seems God is pushing me away, He is likely pulling me close.
3/ When I am in a storm, it may be the result of disobedience…or obedience.
Jonah and Jesus (Matthew 8) both find themselves in a ship about to sink from a storm.
Jonah’s storm is the result of disobedience. Jesus’ storm is the result of obedience.
4/ When I obey, I can be sure of God’s blessing.
Blessing may come in the form of God’s pleasure, earthly reward, or eternal reward.
The richest treasures of the Kingdom are buried deep in fields of obedience.
5/ When I disobey, I can be sure of frustration.
Notice the metaphor: Three different times Scripture says Jonah goes “down”.
We can never flee the presence of the Lord, but we can lose a sense of His presence.