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God is that you part 3

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God speaks through circumstances

God speaks through His word
God speaks though people
This week we see how God speaks through circumstances
Jonah 1:4–17 NIV
4 Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 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. 6 The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.” 7 Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?” 9 He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” 10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.) 11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” 12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.” 13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him. 17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Through the first chapter of Jonah we see three divinely ordained circumstances.
The storm (v. 4)
The way that this is written in the Hebrew makes this verse stand out. The way Hebrew sentences are typically structured is verb first before the subject. The way verse 4 is structured is subject first
The reason behind that was because the author wanted to place an emphasis on the Lord’s acts over those of Jonah
Here is what we’ve seen so far...
Word of the Lord comes
Jonah disobeys and runs
The Lord sends a storm
Here is what we can conclude...
The plans of our sovereign God are not so easily spoiled by the stubborn will of a puny prophet
So, if you are still alive God’s not done with you
There’s nothing you could have done to mess that up.
You could have run. You could have disobeyed. You could have hid. But at the end of the day the subject of this story isn’t about Jonah and the cool thing for us is that when we give our lives to Christ the subject of our story isn’t about us it’s about Jesus.
So you can put all kinds of verbs and adjectives you want in your story but the subject is Him
And if God has to send a storm to remind you of that than He will.
The lots (v.7)
Small stone thrown from a container that “come up” in a certain way to identify a yes or no answer.
And so by process of elimination the sailors rightly conclude that Jonah’s relationship with his god was the problem.
We also see in Prov. 16:33 that every decision is from the Lord
Proverbs 16:33 NIV
33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.
Now I don’t know how many of us are going around casting lots to determine if God is really speaking to us or not
But idk about you, but I’ve been guilty of making deals with God.
Like, God if you’ll give me that parking spot by the door then I’ll know you want me to return my cart when I’m done
So, we have to be careful. Because God, not our divination (prediction) techniques, control the events of life.
But, should God choose to do so, He can use anything He wants to reveal His truth, even lots in the hands of pagans.
The fish (V. 17)
Then we see God provide a huge fish to swallow Jonah.
This may be the most unbelievable part of this whole story.
But if God can control a storm and He can control lots than why wouldn’t He be able to control fish.
He is either able to control all events in this world or He is not.
But we see a fish swallow Jonah and we you have to put yourself in Jonah’s shoes. Jonah thought he was a goner and God sends this fish to save Jonah.
And so we see through this story that not only is God sovereign but that He and He alone is omnipresent.
Psalm 139:7–10 NIV
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
We also see the foreshadowing of what is to come.
three days and three nights is a special phrase used in the ancient world which meant “long enough to be definitely dead.”
So when we think about this phrase what comes to mind?
God being the savior to Jonah and to the Ninevites.
And the greatest divinely ordained circumstance of all time. The son of God dying on the cross for the sins of the world being buried in a tomb for 3 days and 3 nights and defeating death so that we can have life.
Matthew 12:38–40 NIV
38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” 39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
So through this story of Jonah we get to see the character of God.
One who speaks
Through His word
Through people
Through circumstances
One who is gracious and kind
He shows grace to the Ninevites
He shows grace to Jonah
One who is all sovereign and powerful
He can control nature
He control predictions
He can control creation
One who saves evil wicked sinners
One who saves the Ninevites
One who saves Jonah
One who saves us
God can and does speak to us through circumstances but there are a few problems and tensions to be managed.
It’s very difficult to discern circumstances in the moment and a lot of the times circumstances in the past
Through the things we’ve talked about, circumstances is the most difficult.
We trust His word 100%. We go to people to help remind us. And we can also look at our circumstances.
Sometimes there’s no real right or wrong answer. We can only go with what we believe God is telling us, where people are helping us, and what circumstances are best.
Not all circumstances are happening to you because God wanted it for you.
Sometimes bad things happen because youre just dumb
Sometimes bad things happen because we live in fallen sinful world.
Circumstances can reveal God’s yes or no, but not always His pleasure or displeasure
When we encounter negative circumstances, we wrongly assume that God is mad at us.
Let us remember Romans 8
Romans 8:28–29 NIV
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
What is God’s goal for you?
To be conformed to the image of His Son.
So by whatever means necessary, when we love Him and are called according to His purpose, He we will make sure that happens

God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart. - Charles Spurgeon

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