Don't Be Like Jonah
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Date: 27 November, 2019
Text: Jonah 1
Title: Don't Be a Jonah
Often in my evangelism in Scotland, I point out the Christian Heritage of Scotland by saying, "You probably know some people named, "John, David, Mary, Hannah, Lukes."
ill. Atheist in Skirling - Hannah and Luke
exp. Why? Because these are Bible names that have become family names BECAUSE THIS WAS A CHRISTIAN NATION.
Many believers have given their children names that are ones found in the Bible. You may have a name that is a "Bible name."
But, have you noticed that certain names aren't popular Bible names?
ill. There are names like - Carpus, Barnabus, Aristarchus, Secundus, Gaius, Tichicus and Trophimus.
exp. People may make a derivation of those names but the names themselves just don't sound awesome in English.
ill. There are other names that sound better in English, but they aren't used either. Names like Jezebel, Lucifer, (Ananias - doesn't sound as good as) Saphira, Achan.
note: These Bible characters' names have become intimately attached to A POOR ACTION OR ACTIONS WHICH THEY COMMITTED.
exp. As human beings we associate names with actions.
ill. Canoeing down the Kinikinic river in Wisconsin, "Watch out for Jason Rocks." If there was a rock in the river slightly hidden under the water, Jason would hit them.
We use their names as warnings (like a Jason rock) saying, "Don't be a Jezebel, a Lucifer, a Saphira, or an Achan.
(I don't want anyone to feel badly about any name they have been given - the main thing about a name is what you do with it.)
However, the name of our main character this morning - is not a popular name and I wonder if it isn't because of this second reason. Jonah was a man of God. Jonah had a powerful ministry. Jonah did get right with God - but most people who think about Jonah think about the main thing associated with Jonah - that SS story which is the focus of our message this morning - Jonah Chapter 1. THE STORY OF JONAH AND THE WHALE.
My message this morning is, Don't Be a Jonah and the whale (great fish), Jonah. Are you like that Jonah this morning? (It's easier to be like Jonah than you may think.)
text: Jonah 1
I. Don't be a Jonah, Don't refuse God's instruction.
exp. God has no difficulty making His will known to you.
1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
exp. The Bible doesn't say how this was communicated to Jonah.
- Sometimes prophets had visions (Peter on the rooftop)
Acts 10:9 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:
10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
- Sometimes the visions were more like dreams (Man of Macedonia)
Act 16:9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.
- Sometimes God would speak audibly to that individual. (Samuel)
1Sa 3:10 And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.
note: It didn't matter how God spoke. What mattered is that when He spoke, He spoke in a way in which that man would know that God was speaking to Him.
exp. Jonah isn't going to fail in our story because of a misunderstanding between him and God. There was no ambiguity in what God said to Jonah.
A. God told Jonah where to go.
2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city,
exp. This is the capital of Assyria
- the great enemy of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
- they are already swallowing up Northern Israel and were a barbarous people. They would dismember the bodies of their enemies and torture them before killing them.
note: We'll consider Jonah's thoughts about this in a second - but the fact is - Jonah knew WHERE God wanted him to go.
app. There will be times in your life where God is going to have a place where he wants you to go. (The possibilities are endless....)
- God may tell you to go to a local New Testament church.
- God may tell you to go to a Bible college, career, etc.
- It could be to a person or group of people.
- It may be something like going forward during the invitation.
note: When it is God, God can make that clear in your heart. (The Spirit of God isn't going to give you a vision - BUT HE WILL USE THE WORD OF GOD TO TELL YOU TO GO.)
B. God told Jonah what to do.
...and cry against it;
exp. Jonah was to preach. We know his message, because he eventually does give it. The message is, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown." (Jonah 3:4) Jonah was to open his mouth and speak against this city.
app. When God tells us to go it is because God has comething for us to do.
- People get saved, baptized and become part of the membership of a local church.
- People get trained at Bible college, they find their life calling in the career path of God's leading.
- There are individuals and people groups who need to hear the Gospel
- People humble their heart before God at the altar.
app. I am not being at all mystical to suggest today that God has places he wants us to go and that when he does THERE IS SOMETHING HE WANTS US TO DO.
C. God told Jonah why to do it.
...for their wickedness is come up before me.
ill. God was disgusted by the wickedness of the Ninevites and ONE WAY OR ANOTHER He was going to put a stop to it. They will either REPENT or BE DESTROYED.
exp. God doesn't have to say WHY - BUT often when God says to go and what to do, He provides a rational for doing it. Wouldn't the most common reason be similar to Jonah's instruction - God either wants you to do right or others to do right as well.
app. Don't be a Jonah - Jonah knew what God wanted him to do - BUT JONAH REFUSED GOD'S INSTRUCTION. If God has told you where to go and what to do - whether you know why or not - you need to accept God's instruction.
II. Don't be a Jonah, Don't run from God's call.
exp. Now, we get into the heart of the story of Jonah, the Prophet who runs from God.
A. You will have to make a conscious decision to reject God.
3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD,
ill. In my tour of Israel, we visited the very same harbor where Jonah put on his running shoes. Interestingly, it didn't rain at all on my two week trip, with the exception of when we walked up to this harbor.
exp. Our world has terms that aren't Biblical like "Temporary Insanity" to make people unaccountable for foolish decisions. Jonah wasn't suffering from temporary insanity. His was a simple case of rebellion against God.
- He was not a coward but is a bold prophet of the Lord.
- He knew God was merciful.
- He knew these were the enemies of God and wanted them to be destroyed.
app. When you know what God wants you to do and you refuse to do it (YOU HAVE PUT ON YOUR RUNNING SHOES.)
B. You will go in a direction which is the opposite of where you should go.
and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish:
exp. Jonah didn't take a wrong turn on his way to Ninevah. Ninevah was East of Israel. Jonah booked passage to the farthest western point of which men were aware.
(near Gibraltar, Southern Spain)
note: (I believe this statement to be true.) As soon as someone rejects God's command to go, they will quickly find themselves going in the opposite direction of where God intends them to go.
YOU CAN'T REJECT GOD'S COUNCIL WITHOUT TURNING FROM GOD.
ill. When Peter denied Jesus - he had to curse and swear and leave the presence of the Saviour.
app. How can you be walking with God today if you knw there is something which God wants you to go and do and your refuse to go and do it?
C. You will chose companions who are going in that contrary direction.
so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
exp. My point is not that these were wicked men (though they were not God fearing men - yet). My point is that to not go God's way, you have to travel with those who are going the same way. "He went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD."
note: Your comanions speak volumes about which way you are going. Pro 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
app. Don't be a Jonah - Don't run from God's call with those who reject God.
III. Don't be a Jonah, Don't ignore the tempest of God's wrath.
ill. Tempests blow in life. (I listened to a good message on Job 1 this week.) Job faced the wrath of the Devil's tempest. Jonah faced a tempest from the wrath of almighty God.
note: Job knew he was right with God. Jonah knew he wasn't right with God.
A. If you are a Jonah, You should have sense enough to be afraid.
4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.
ill. Have you ever been in a really bad storm? Seeing the horizon disappear and yelling to everyone to get up to the Lodge - getting in the walk in freezer - hail going straight sideways - huge oak tree knocked down.
exp. God took that ship to the very edge of what it could survive.
5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.
exp. Jesus isn't sleeping like Jesus in the boat. Jesus was sleeping in the comfort of the presence of God. Jonah has forsaken God and his heart is so rebellious and hard that he can sleep in the tempest of God's wrath.
ill. He's like a young person getting a smacking who smiles and says, "Is that the best you can do?"
app. If you are a Jonah, you can be so calloused that your ship is about to sink and you are sleeping.
B. If you are a Jonah, You need to wake up and call upon God.
6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.
exp. The captain of the ship didn't know the true God. He may not have been a particularly God fearing man AT ALL, but this storm made him call for ALL HANDS ON DECK TO CRY OUT TO GOD. He bellows at Jonah "wake up sleeper."
app. I suggest to us that the ship of Scotland is sinking. That ungodly men ought to get afraid and cry out to God and it is shameful THAT REBELLIOUS JONAHS ARE RUNNING FROM GOD SLEEPING WHILE THE BOAT IS SINKING! We are living in a day when it seems the world is quicker to pray than the church.
IV. Don't be a Jonah, Don't think unbelievers will never know about your rebellion.
7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.
8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?
exp. The interegation has begun against Jonah. He is on trial for knowing the true God and for departing from him. THEY KNOW JONAH IS GUILTY AND THEY ARE DETERMINED TO FIND OUT WHY.
A. He was in a covenant relationship with God.
9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew;
exp. Our study in SS this morning considered the privilige of the Jewish people. The Abrahamic covenant was their's first. They were nationally the people of God. God fought for Israel. Jonah personally knew God and was His servant.
2Ki 14:25 He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the LORD God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gathhepher.
exp. Oh, the guilt of this prophet, he is being called out by the heathen and having to admit that WITH SHAME BECAUSE HE IS THE PROBLEM - that He is a true child of God.
app. Don't be a Jonah who has a covenant relationship with God and has to shamefully admit it because YOU DIDN'T DO WHAT GOD WANTED YOU TO DO.
B. His God was THEE God.
and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.
exp. They are on a boat that is sinking and he has to confess that He serves the God who made and sustains it all and therefore HIS GOD is the author of the tempest.
ill. Jonah says that he fears God.
exp The fear of God is not what you say but what you do. If you really fear God you submit to God. Psa 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
app. How could Jonah run from the all powerful God and think that He could get away with it? Do you think that your rebellion against almight God is unkown? Num 32:23 But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.
C. The unbelievers knew better than Jonah how to fear God.
10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.
exp. Jonah's heart should smite him at this point in our story and it seems it does. "Why hast thou done this?"
App. God has a way of revealing hypocracy. It may be when a friend, child, acquaintance of ours finds Jesus and then finds out that we are saved. (They may say something like, why didn't you warn me? Why didn't you obey God? Why didn't you live for God?) DON'T BE A JONAH, DON'T THINK UNBELIEVERS WILL NEVER KNOW ABOUT YOUR REBELLION.
V. Don't be a Jonah, Don't jeapardize others by your folly.
note: The reason the captain thought Jonah should pray - THAT WE PERISH NOT. v.6
ill. We could echo the words of the disciples wrongly leveled at Jesus and say to Jonah CAREST THOU NOT THAT WE PERISH?
exp. Jonah didn't care if his rebellion impacted those around him.
11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.
12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.
exp. Jonah had no doubt why the sea was heaving. The sailors are innocent of disobeying God but they are on the same boat as Jonah.
ill. Did Achan care about his family
Joshua 7:24 And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor.
25 And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.
26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.
ill. Did Korah care about his family
Numbers 16:32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.
33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.
ill. Did Pharoah care about his firstborn and the firstborn of every Egyptian family.
Exo 12:30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.
app. Don't be a Jonah, don't rebel because otheres will be jeapardized by your folly!
VI. Don't be a Jonah, Don't let your life be a bad example.
13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.
14 Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee.
exp. The innocent blood of which they are pleading is the blood on their hands by their assumption that Jonah would die after being pitched into the sea.
15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.
16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.
exp. These men feared God because they saw what God would do to a man who ran from His presence. It was a bad example that made them fear God.
ill. Ananias and Saphira
Acts 5:9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.
10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.
11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
app. If your a Jonah, your life may be an example, but it won't be a good example. It will be an example to make men fear God because of God wrath against you. Don't be a Jonah. Don't let your life be a bad example.
VII. Don't be a Jonah, Don't think God doesn't know how to bring you to repentance.
exp. If Jonah thought the storm was bad and death was welcome. He's about to be disappointed.
17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
note: If I was to select from a list of things which could happen to me and I could live through it, if being swallowed alive by a fish was on the list, I think I would select it.
description in chapter 2 as "out of the belly of Hell."
1 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly,
2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.
3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.
4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.
5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.
6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.
7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.
8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.
10 And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
exp. There are times where in God's mercy, he won't take no for an answer. There was a revival God knew would take place in Ninevah sparing many people death and eternity in Hell. The preacher was going to go, "nearly over his dead body."
app. I hope God's mercy is as great for the family, community or country of any like Jonah who would hear this message. I don't want God to take you into the fishes belly - but THE PURPOSE TO WHICH GOD HAS COMMANDED YOU TO OBEY IS GREATER THAN YOUR PERSONAL COMFORT.
note: Don't be a Jonah, don't think God doesn't know how to bring you to repentance. It would be better to just get right with God and go and do what God wants you to do.
conclusion: Jonah may never be a very popular baby name. Most likely becaues Jonah is associated with Jonah and the Whale (great fish), Jonah Chapter 1.
Don't be a Jonah and the Whale Jonah.
1.) Don't refuse God's instruction.
2.) Don't run from God's call.
3.) Don't ignore the tempest of God's wrath.
4.) Don't think unbelievers will never know about your religion.
5.) Don't jeapardize others by your folly.
6.) Don't let your life be a bad example.
7.) Don't think God doesn't know how to bring you to repentance.