We are in our 4 week in our series Unlikely Heroes and how God used them. Up to this point we have look at three different people in the bible. That played different role in Gods plans.
The first person we look at was Enoch. Enoch was a man that walk with God. When everyone else was going astray he try his best to follow God. To follow all that God had lad out.
The second person we look at was Mordecai. Mordecai was Jews man in the exile group during the Persia rule over the know world. This man played a key role in the story of Esther. He adopted Esther as his own daughter. He was allowed God to use him by being the right place at the right time. To help save a king of Persia. Also to help guide Esther in saving the Jews people for Haman evil plot to kill all of the Jews.
Finally last week we look at lady named Esther. Esther s wrist her life to save her people the Jews. She didn’t have to go in front of the king she could have keep quite about who she was. But she didn’t she shared with the king and was able to save the jews people.
This week we are going to look at another well know person in the bible. At first this person doesn’t seem to be a hero. In fact, He runs from what God was telling him to do. We are going to be looking at a man named Jonah today.
if you have your bible please turn to Jonah chapter 1. If you not you can follow along on the screen in a few.
I have a question again for you this morning. You do not have to answer this question in the comment but if you want to fill free to.
Close your eyes and think for a moment.
Have you ever tried to run from God?
How did that go for you?
I have and it didn’t go very well. I was called into ministry when I was in the 8 grade. I had no clue how that would come in to play. I went through the rest of my high school and college year not really think much about the calling. I guess you could say I was running from God because I afraid to get in front of a group of people. The only why that I would lesson to God was for him to pull a job I love out from under my feet. Which then God used to call us to Canada. Then to me doing what I am doing now.
Running from God is never a good thing to do. He will always find away to get us to come back to him. It didn’t work out for Jonah very well either.
Jonah tried to run from God but it literally bite him in the butt. He was swallowed by a big fish.
The book of Jonah is the only one of the minor prophet that is told in a narrative. So there is two ways this story can be taken. The first being a
This was it story is look at has a really happened and that Jonah was a really person that try his best to run from God. The historical narrative is how most view Jonah. There is proff to this see Jonah name in other books of the bible.
He restored Israel’s border from Lebo-hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word the Lord, the God of Israel, had spoken through his servant, the prophet Jonah son of Amittai from Gath-hepher.
Also that the places mentioned in the book are really place of the day and time.
the other way of looking at it is
This is a different view in the fact Jonah did not really get shallowed by a large fish but that it told to help believe see that God can move in many different ways.
It really doesn’t matter which way you look at it. God plan and the character of God can still clear be seen. So join me as I read
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.”
Jonah called to go to Nineveh
Jonah had a choice here. He could have gone to Nineveh but he didnt. He did not like the fact that God had told him to go to a Great city of Nineveh
I have a map to kind of show you were Nineveh would be
Nineveh sat on the east bank of the Tigris River about 354 Km or 220 miles north of Baghdad today. IT would have been over 800 Km or 500 miles from the northeast part of Israel were Jonah was.
This city was the capital of the Assyrian Empire which conquered the north kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C. The Assyrian city would have been the worst place for w Hebrew prophet to go. This two group would have hated each other.
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.
Jonah ran the other way
Tarshish was the told opposite direction from Nineveh. Has we just read Tarshish is repeated three time here to underscore the fact that Jonah was say no God I am going this way. Not the way you wanted me to go.
Tarshish is most like at the other in of the Mediterranean sea. Most likely in modern day Spain. We do not know exactly were it was.
But before he could get there. God had different plans
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.
Jonah should no fear
Jonah was trying his best to get away from God. He went to sleep. If i was on a boat in a storm like this I would have not be sleep. Jonah could have cared less about what was happening around him. I was just trying not to lesson to God.
Once Jonah was awaking by the sailor he knew that the storm was for him because of him not lessoning. And the fact that he was running the other way.
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.
Jonah was throw over board
By throwing Jonah over the sea stoped. The sailor would have believe in the power fo the God of Israel. These sailor did not like the fact that they had to throw Jonah over board. But it was the only way to save everyone else on the boat.
God didn’t allow Jonah to die. Instead he sent a fish.
The Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Jonah is swallowed by a big fish
A big fish or large fish was a generally term for a lager aquatic beast. We do not know what type it was. It might not have even been a whale like we all say. It could have been a sperm whale that could very easily swallow a man. It really doesn’t matter what type of fish swallowed him. What matter is that Jonah lived and did not die at sea.
There is another key part to the verse is over looked. I even overlooked it and ever gave much thought it until this week. That is that Jonah sent Three days and three nights in the belly of the fish.
Who does that should like? Jesus. This is a great why that show God plans through out the whole of scripture. Jesus say this in
For as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.
Jonah time in the belly would have been symbolized the realm of death. Which point to Jesus did by concerning death and rising on the third day.
Ultimately, Jonah lesson to God calling after the time he was in the fish. He finally goes to Nineveh but he doesn’t like it. We will look at the rest of Jonah story next week. Before we go I do have one more thing to say. Just like Jonah
God is calling you too
are you going to lesson.