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Rejecting God's Commission

Jonah  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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What can happen when we feel we know better than God

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God’s Sovereignty

When God calls rejecting his commission for our lives can be a critical error on our part. Sometimes he will place us in uncomfortable situations to see how much we love Him and are willing to obey him. We call this testing of our faith. Our attitudes can also affect the way we approach a situation that God places on us. As we continue to seek the path God is laying out for our ministry we must understand that God has a plan for each of us in the journey He has placed us in.

Believers should revere God and meditate upon His deeds.

1 Samuel 12:24 NIV
But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.
1 Samuel 12:24
It is not always easy to respond to God’s commission, worldly views and attitudes can get in the way of God’s message. This is the sticking point for Jonah. Why did he refuse to do the will of God? First we must understand Who the people of Nineveh were.
The Bible frames Nineveh as a thoroughly evil city and an enemy of Israel. The book of Jonah describes Nineveh, its inhabitants, and its king as so evil that Yahweh threatens to completely destroy them if they do not repent. The Israelite prophet, Jonah, despises Nineveh and is disappointed when the people repent and Yahweh spares them. The book of Nahum describes Nineveh’s destruction at the hands of the Babylonians in graphic detail. It also describes Nineveh as a city of bloodshed.
The biblical authors of Jonah and Nahum believed that Nineveh was evil and deserved the punishment it finally received. This stance was a result of the historical situation of Assyrian dominance throughout Mesopotamia and Palestine. Both Israel (northern kingdom) and Judah (southern kingdom) were subject to Assyrian rule and experienced the harsh treatment with which Assyria maintained control.
Colossians 1:21 NIV
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.
Our own prejudice and hatred can prevent us from obedience to God. So did this make Jonah evil? Or just a sinner? lets look at who Jonah was.
Jonah (Person). Prophet of Israel; Amittai’s son () of the Zebulunite city of Gathhepher (). The historian who wrote 2 Kings recorded that Jonah had a major prophetic role in the reign of King Jeroboam II (793–753 BC). Jonah had conveyed a message encouraging expansion to the king of Israel, whose reign was marked by prosperity, expansion, and, unfortunately, moral decline.
In the midst of all the political corruption of Israel, Jonah remained a zealous patriot. His reluctance to go to Nineveh doubtless stemmed partially from his knowledge that the Assyrians would be used as God’s instrument for punishing Israel
Tarshish (Place). Place regarded as distant from Israel. Many countries have been proposed as the site for Tarshish, from Sardinia to Great Britain. The most commonly accepted identification is Spain, where the name Tartessus hints at Tarshish.
This is the reason Jonah wants to go to Tarshish because he believes distance will separate him from God.
Psalm 139:7–8 NIV
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

God Disciplines All His Children

Now God sent a great storm, so bad that it endangered the the crew as well as Jonah, now maybe you’re thinking right now how can God possibly endanger the Crew they aren't even Jews?
3 things must be considered;
God has to get Jonah’s attention. (Discipline)
God’s Desire that all men would repent. (The Crew)
God’s will be done.
Hebrews 12:7 NIV
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?
Heb 12
God knows Jonah’s heart and how hard headed he is, a storm no matter how bad it is is going to get Jonah’s attention.
Jonah 1:5 NIV
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 1:5
They all began to call on their god’s; pagan Gods, now see here Jonah is a prophet of God, he should be the one to call on God , but it is the Captain of the ship who rouses Jonah to call on God. God uses the crew to get Jonah’s attention.
When has God used someone else in your life or possibly a stranger to get your attention to something he wants you to do?
Proverbs 28:14 NIV
Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.
They drew lots and it fell to Jonah, this is by no means a coincidence casting lots is a common practice in those times.
According to biblical usage lots seem to have been used only when the decision was important and where wisdom or biblical injunctions did not give sufficient guidance. One of the advantages of the casting of lots was the impartiality of the choice. It was held that the Lord directed the lots. The method of casting lots is not specified or described and seems to have varied according to the need of the situation. Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible.
Proverbs 16:33 NIV
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.
After lots have been cast the crew asks Jonah what they should do to him since they know about the God of Israel. Jonah tells them to cast him into the sea, this is the first time we see Jonah acting like a prophet of the Lord ; putting self interest behind and considering those who suffer because of his deeds.
1 Chronicles 21:17 NIV
David said to God, “Was it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted? I, the shepherd, have sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Lord my God, let your hand fall on me and my family, but do not let this plague remain on your people.”

Fatherhood of God

The crew were not willing to sacrifice an innocent man to save themselves, unselfishly they attempt to row back to shore, but God’s will stands and even though what they are attempting is righteous what God has willed is going to be done. After the storm has gotten worse the crew relents and Jonah is cast into the sea, but fear of the almighty God has overtaken them and they begin to call out to the God of heaven and earth. They begin to worship and are now believers in the one true God.
Titus 2:11 NIV
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.
Psalm 103:13 NIV
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
Jonah thought being tossed into the sea would be the ultimate escape from God, he soon learned that Gods plan will succeed. God preserves his servant despite his rebellion.
Joshua 21:45 ESV
Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.

Isaiah 14:24 NIV
The Lord Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen.
god is Active in Human Life

What has God been preparing you for?

Yes we can look at Geneva and see it as today’s Nineveh for our ministry; does our rebellion make us more justified than Jonah? Is our refusal to do God’s will any less a sin? We all want thing to remain the same Jonah was happy to keep his opinion and serve the Lord as he was ; so also was Saul, until Jesus met him on the road to Damascus. God’s overall plan will be completed with or without us the question for us as individuals is how will God judge us at the end.
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