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(Jonah 1:1-16 Part 1) A Calling to Big for a Prophet

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Jonah 1:1-16 introduces us to a literary masterpiece. It is rich in irony both poetically and theologically. Jonah, a prophet, is commanded to call Nineveh, the seat of Assyrian culture, to repentenance. However, this divine act of mercy was repulsive to the prophet. So we read of the only prophet who ever tried to run from God. His fleeing the presence of God become illogical and suicidal as he endured loving chastisement through a storm that nearly destroyed his boat. As we learn about Jonah, we begin to understand the sinfulness and smallness of people in conrast to the might, wisdom, and mercy of God. We are left considering whether our faith is big enough to consider the mercy of God?

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INTRODUCTION:
We often sing the Song, Fill My Cup Lord. (Majesty, 105)
ILLUSTRATION:
Read the Hymn
Like the woman at the well I was seeking For things that could not satisfy; And then I heard my Savior speaking: "Draw from my well that never shall run dry".
Fill my cup Lord, I lift it up, Lord! Come and quench this thirsting of my soul; Bread of heaven, Feed me till I want no more Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole!
The song is a picture of the Samaritan Harlot Women at the well who is offered the Living Water of the Gospel of Christ in .
But I want ask a question about that hymn.
We sing that song asking for God to fill us with the living water - that is the Truth of the Gospel.
But is our Faith big enough to have our cup filled up with the waters of mercy?
I challenge you,
Is your faith big enough to hold God’s mercy?
ILLUSTRATION - Possibly add examples of difficult proclaiming the goodnews.
That was what Jonah was challenged with. We won’t understand that until we get to , but that is what is going on.
CLARIFICATION:
The author has intentionally left us wondering why a Prophet of God would run from the will of God.
So we also will allow the suspense of the story
by waiting until chapter 4 to discuss why Jonah was running from God.
Until then,
Let’s just enjoy the story by simply considering.
Is your faith big enough to hold God’s Mercy?
Let’s read .
Jonah 1:1–16 ESV
1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” 3 But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. 4 But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. 5 Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep. 6 So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.” 7 And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, “Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” 9 And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” 10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. 11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. 12 He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” 13 Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they called out to the Lord, “O Lord, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.
Our text this morning teaches us,

Proposition: We ought to Conform to the Will of God

{And In the case of Jonah, that means being merciful to who God called him to be merciful - a task that was difficult for him}
But for us in application,
In General,
we ought to conform all of our heart and mind around the will of God.
Perhaps there is an area in your life you are struggling to surrender to God.
Perhaps there is an area about who God is; that makes you question God.
Our text this morning teaches us,

Proposition: We ought to Conform to the Will of God

TRANSITION: And this text gives us 5 ways God can help us with that.

The first way is:

1. By listening to God’s Word.

Notice
Jonah 1:1–2 ESV
1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.”
Jonah 1:1 ESV
1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
ILLUSTRATION:
At family reunions,
how significant and life-altering is the conversation.
It is often filled with catching up on how people are doing, such as -
How Uncle Bob’s new job is going.
How Great Aunt and Uncle are enjoying their travel around the country in their motor home.
How big little cousin Julie is getting …
which of course leads to the reminiscing about the past.
and reminiscing about the past.
For Example,
Do you remember when your cousin at Disneyland squeezed a ketchup packet as hard as he could - until it bursted in the middle of lunch all over everyone.
(that was a real
It is not to say that it is not enjoyable conversation,
but it also was not the kind of conversation that changes your life.
But when God speaks, it is not the same.
The Word of God came to Jonah.
That is no small matter.
In Jonah’s case,
the Word of God is Expressing his will for Jonah
and
at the same time - his will for the Nineveh.
He was charging Jonah to give a warning to Ninevites of impending judgement -
Yet at the same time was giving divine mercy by warning them to repent and seek God’s Mercy.
APPLICATION:
We as NT Christians have also have received the Word of God - that is our Bible.
And every word is like what Jesus told the Samaritan women in - Living Water.
We need to listen intently to God’s Word - because it the living water that satisfies our soul.
It is the Living Water that establishes God’s divine rule in this world
It is the Living Water that answers life’s Greatest Purpose.
And It is the Living Water that provides the greatest help for life’s issues.
We need to conform to the Word of God by intently, intensely listening to His Words. - realizing they are the living water we so thirst for.
To easy we can reject
Are you spending time listening to the Word?
I challenge you to faithfully listening by reading and studying the Word of God - the Christian life is a studious one because we realize we have the Words of Living water.
But listening is not enough.
ILLUSTRATION:
We are not simply consumers of God’s Word - like mere entertainment.
God’s Word isn’t like watching a movie.
We are not simply consumers of God’s Word - like mere entertainment.
God’s Word always has a purpose in mind.
God
To Encourage us.
To Strengthen us.
To rebuke and transform us.
We ought to conform to the will of God not only by listening,
Jonah listened to God’s Word, but did Jonah obey God’s Word.
But

2. By Doing God’s will.

Notice Jonah’s error was not a failure to listen,
but a failure to obey the Word of God.
Jonah 1:3 ESV
3 But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.
Jonah 1:
When you hear a Prophet has heard the Word of God - what do you almost always expect?
Obedience -
The normal expectation is that a Prophet does what God has commanded.
declares that Jeremiah received the Word of God - and we read that he obeys it.
declares that Jeremiah received the Word of God - and we read that he obeys it.
declares that Ezekiel received the Word of God - and we read that he obeys it.
We read of no other prophet outright defying the Wo
We read of no other prophet who outright defies the Word of God.
But Jonah is the exception!
According to this passage,
Jonah did arise like God commanded.
But he did not go to Nineveh.
Instead, he literally went exactly opposite to God’s command
But he literally went exactly opposite to God’s command
VISUAL AID - The Map
Thus,
Are text declares that he fled from the presence of the Lord.
Now what was so terrible about preaching to Nineveh that a prophet runs from the presence of the Lord?
The book doesn’t give us an answer yet
and so we will not either.
But I want to emphasize the importance of obedience.
APPLICATION:
When God gives the Word of God - the expectation is that we heed to it.
But the reality is we are equally capable of rejecting the Word of God as we are to accept.
In what small ways do you reject the Word of God?
In what big ways do you reject the Word of God?
EXHORTATION:
May I suggest that only the most brazen sits down and declares - I will reject the Word of God.
None of us sit down and declare -
I am going to immeasurably destroy my marriage today.
OR
I am going to give Satan a foot hold to destroy my family
We just don’t do that -
Instead, we knievely believe we can avoid doing God-s will.
We think that if we simply hide our sin,
or
we justify our sin as best or necessary.
And by doing so we have declared that our way is better than God’s way.
But in our way we find ways to flee from the presence of the Lord.
Isn’t that what Jonah did.
He fled from the from the presence of the Lord.
Think about that?
By Jonah he fleeing he decided Nineveh did not deserve mercy from God.
Who is Jonah to decide who receives mercy or not?
Vengeance is mine saith the LORD
Deuteronomy 32:35 ESV
35 Vengeance is mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly.’
In other words; - That is God’s place; not Jonah’s place.
- That is God’s place; not Jonah’s place.
And in the same way - when we run from the will of God - we also become the deciders of what is right or wrong.
Yet who are we to make the judgments when the all-wise God has declared his.
Therefore, let’s do the will of God,
being truth declarers rather than truth deciders.
We ought to conform to the will of God by listening to the Word of God, doing the will of God, and 3rdly
Is it possible to flee form the presence of the Lord?
And of Course - the natural answer is of course not.
V. 9 declares Why, but we will save that for in a few minutes.
Instead, lets look at a verse that talks about our inability to escape the presence of God.
Jeremiah 23:23–24 ESV
23 “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? 24 Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.
So as a prophet, he clearly in v 9, know that you cannot escape an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present God
So why did he run?
Because he justified in his mind - if I run; then I can avoid what God has called me to - and so he became the only prophet who rebelled against God’s commands.
But he justified in his mind - if I run; then I can avoid what God has called me to - and so he became the only prophet who rebelled against GOd’s commands.
Maybe we think that our way is better.
Or that G
We ought to conform to the will of God by listening to the Word of God, doing the will of God, and 3rdly

3. By heeding to God’s suffering.

Why does God allow suffering?
We could actually spend a long time discussing different ways that God uses our suffering for the good of ourselves and others,
but declares how God uses suffering to transform us. (Hand motion to myself)
1 Peter 1:6–7 ESV
6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
And as we consider that God uses suffering to expose our blind spots - and lovingly help us to change, let’s reflect on the story of Jonah.
And as we consider that God uses suffering to expose our blind spots - and lovingly help us to change, let’s reflect on the story of Jonah.
Jonah 1:4–6 ESV
4 But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. 5 Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep. 6 So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.”
Jonah shows the depths of his selfishness, anger, and bitterness by his illogical refusal to obey God.
Watch the chronology of the story and note the hardness of his heart to God working in his life.
Watch the chronology of the story and note the hardness of his heart to God working in his life.
We get a birds eye view at what is going on in v. 4.
God bears suffering on Jonah’s life like a cosmic chess player - who hurls (Motion like a baseball) wind and therefore a great storm upon the sea.
CAVEAT:
Now I want to caveat.
We many times do not know when suffering is because of sin. It can be for other reasons.
So,
When a disaster hits; there is no way to know why God allowed it.
So we can never say;
God allowed September 11th because of Americas sin - because we don’t know.
We can never say,
God allowed a hurricane to go through X - because we don’t know.
But we do know in the case of Jonah - Because Gods word says so.
Notice the sequence of events here -
God hurls the storm onto the Mediterranean - and what happens?
The sailors try everything to survive
The ship is so sea tossed, like a big ball of salad, that it could break any minute.
Should we ever doubt God’s rule over our life - and his abiltiy to guide us in it.
As we consider the ease that God brought suffering upon Jonah’s life - should we ever question whether God is shepherding our souls?
May I declare you are completely engulfed in God’s love, care, and blessings - even when we are on our knees, tears running down our cheeks, in the midst of a storm.
Should we ever doubt God’s rule over our life - and his abiltiy to guide us in it.
May we praise God that by His might he is able to shepherd our souls like only God can.
How would you react if God hurled a storm at you?
You might panic - that is exactly what is described in the next few verses.
We see the Sailors pleading to their idols.
Joppa was not an Israelite port at this time in history.
The ship bound for Tarshish in the Western Mediterranean which was probably not a ship full of Jews.
It was probably manned by a pagan crew.
Capture this in your mind -
The sailors are now facing a storm they know they can’t survive.
So they began panicking - Each begins praying to their false God -
Jonah 1:5 ESV
5 Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep.
Jonah 5
So can imagine the pleas and cry’s of mercy to idols such as -
Poseidon - the Trident wielding God of the sea.
Amphitrite - the Goddess of the sea and the wife of Poseidon.
Aegaeus - the God of storms.
Okeanos - the God of Rain.
Triton - the Son of Poseidon - who could still the waves with his trumpet.
I can imagine if you are Pagan sailor facing extreme peril at sea - you are going to plead to every sea God you can think of.
But nothing happens - the storm keeps waging on.
So what do the sailors do next?
They began to hurl their cargo overboard, trying to get their buoyancy higher to survive the waves.
And maybe it helps, but not enough to make them confident they are going to survive.
Remember, this is they are throwing overboard their money to survive. Sailors earn wages by hauling cargo - and they are throwing it over the ocean.
But what is Jonah doing?
Where ESV translates this “but” the NET bible translates meanwhile.
Our ESV translates this “but” which gives us the idea of contrasting.
The way the language works is that the author pauses to make a note about Jonah.
While everybody else is frantically calling upon their idols and casting the cargo overboard - he tells us Jonah is sleeping.
Now that is no small feet - he is on an ancient cargo ship - which isn't near as massive as our modern ships.
Which means to be inside the belly of a ship during this kind of storm would be like being inside a Salad Spinner.
The deck of the ship must have been heaving to and fro at massive angles.
ILLUSTRATION:
Now I have slept in storms similar that, but let me tell I really had to concentrate at sleeping.
You would have to be sleeping while your body is rolling back and fourth.
What does this say about the heart of Jonah?
When this storm occured the first person who should have been praying to God for divine protection should have been who?
The Pagan sailors or the Prophet of Yahweh.
But at this point, he is so dead fast against what God has told him to do - he is willing to die for it.
Otherwise, he would be frantically been praying for mercy from the God he very well knows sent the storm.
In fact, v. 6 demonstrates how irrational Jonah was being.
Jonah 1:6 ESV
6 So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.”
EXPLANATION:
He is saying - this is crazy - we are about to die >>>>and your sleeping.
Pray to God and quit being a fool.
And thus, his selfishness, his anger, and his bitterness are demonstrated by his illogical refusal to obey God.
Now what should that suffering have done?
It should have been a wake up call to Jonah
- you can’t run from the presence of the Lord.
- Your refusal does nothing to alter God’s plans.
- A reminder that he is mere human; and the God who choose mercy is the mighty all-wise God.
At some point, the near death experience should have directed his heart to seek forgiveness from God and to acknowledge God’s majesty.
He is unwilling to budge
But it didn't.
The suffering should have directed his heart to God, but it didnt
He sat there ignoring the warnings; still trying to flee from the presence of God.
Application:
We need to be careful that own wisdom and desires do not make us illogically ignore the suffering that God sent to turn our hearts back to him.
The mistake of Jonah was to ignore the warning signs of suffering - which intended in God’s mercy to bring him back to God.
I challenge - Don’t ignore suffering.
But seek God in suffering.
Every time we suffer - God is trying to move us closer and close to him.
Suffering is not always sin like it is in Jonah’s case. - But suffering is always intended to cause us to become more God-dependent.
Heed to the suffering God sends our way.
CONCLUSION:
We have 2 more points, but we are going to pause here and deal with those two points next week.
If Jonah was a movie, think of us pausing the movie until next week when we com back together.
But for some concluding thoughts to take home today.
As some shows say, “to be continued next week”.
The story of Jonah is often pictured about the miracle of
The story Jonah demonstrates that God is always shepherding our soul.
The story of Jonah also demonstrates how illogical and sinful even believers can be against God.
And as we realize who Jonah is fleeing from; it ought to lead us to realize that are real need is to always conforming our minds and hearts to the will of God.
We do not always understand God - in this case his compassion and mercy.
We may not always want to do the will of God - because of our sinfulness and our smallness
But because we serve a merciful, loving, all-powerful God who rules the sea and the land - we ought conform to his will.
God helps us do that by
Sending His Word.
He gave us his Bible for a reason - so we can know his will. and we can
2. Do his will.
and when he sends suffering.
And w
3. May we heed his suffering.
That is we run to God; which is what he always intends us to do in suffering. To cause to conform to his will.
As believers, I think we always need to be prepared to do what is repulsive or contrary to human understanding - like going to challenge an evil people to accept God’s Mercy.
Hence the question - Is your faith big enough for God’s Mercy.
CAVEAT: This is not mindless following in which we turn off our brains - as some sometimes depict Christians.
But because we know the goodness, mercy, and vast-wisdom of Yahweh - we trust him when we don’t understand.
In that way it is the opposite - we turn our brains on - and realize our smallness and God’s Greatness.
Thus we makes choices that align with his superior goodness and wisdom.
May we leave here today - empowered to exercise the will of our God.
Which means as NT Christians - we worship God by living out the Gospel and by declaring the Gospel.
Nothing extradorinary. Nothing new; but an ancient calling found in the Gospel of Christ.
That is the Word of God for us sent through His son, Jesus Christ, entrusted to 12 Apostles, who ultimately entrusted to churches all around the World.
May we by faith in Christ diligently carry out the will of God - that is the Gospel.

4. By Heading to what we know about God.

Jonah 1:7–15 ESV
7 And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, “Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” 9 And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” 10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. 11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. 12 He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” 13 Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they called out to the Lord, “O Lord, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging.
-15
May I ask another question about this text.
Is it possible to flee form the presence of the Lord?
And of Course - the natural answer is of course not.
V. 9 declares Why, but we will save that for in a few minutes.
Instead, lets look at a verse that talks about our inability to escape the presence of God.
Jeremiah 23:23–24 ESV
23 “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? 24 Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.
So as a prophet, he clearly in v 9, know that you cannot escape an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present God
So why did he run?
Because he justified in his mind - if I run; then I can avoid what God has called me to - and so he became the only prophet who rebelled against God’s commands.
Maybe we think that our way is better.
Or that G

5. By Heading to God’s Sovereignty.

Jonah 1:16 ESV
16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.
CONCLUSION:
The book of Jonah is noted as one of the great classical literatures of the Ancient World. But it is not simply a story, but the real account of a real prophet who struggled with what God had called him to do.
Have you ever struggled with doing the will of God.
His will cost to much
disciples - loose everything.
God has called each of us to a specific task. And our hearts may question the will of God, the wisdom of God - and so we each are faced with the challenge to obey it.
But the lesson of Jonah chapter 1 is that God gives us the Word to obey it - and that might mean doing soemthing I don want to do I hate. But we need to conform our will to God’s will -as expressed by his Word.
ILLUSTRATION:
Do you have enough faith to obey God when it scary - when it defies your logic - when it makes you angry 0 when it makes you think this isnt fair
Pastor’s and Christians testimony of being forced to go to Africa- what does this really teach us about our faith?
Yet, we refuse to God across the street to help the muslim friend and give the Gospel - but we will send lots of money over seas.
How often do we do this
I follow the rules and cause myself twice the work.
It is not fair to ask me to endure again
But is that not what GOd has called us to do in the Gospel?
May we learn from Jonah and conform our will to God’s will
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